A Girl Named Disaster

by Nancy Farmer

A young girl's spell-binding, treacherous journey from her village in Mozambique... read more

A young girl's spell-binding, treacherous journey from her village in Mozambique to the country of Zimbabwe is the subject of this riveting narrative from Nancy Farmer. Nhamo, a Shona girl of almost 12, flees her village to escape a forced marriage. Her mother died when she was three, but her father and his family are in Zimbabwe and it is there, her maternal grandmother tells Nhamo, that she must go. Her travels are perilous yet transforming. Swept off course into the waters of the great Lake Cabora Bassa, weak and hungry, Nhamo gains strength and skills for survival from the spirits of her Shona ancestors. Later, help comes from a group of people who open Nhamo's eyes to the possibilities that life can hold for her, while members of her father's family answer the questions in her heart. The author, who has lived in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique, has provided readers with a glossary, brief essays on the history of the peoples of Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the belief system of the Shona, and an extensive bibliography to help ground the experience of this tale set in 1981 that shows the juxtaposition and blending of traditional ways and modern life. (Age 11-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

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