Review: Through My Eyes: Hasina

The Through My Eyes series
is an extraordinary up-close and personal collection of novels that depict harrowing, gripping stories about children from various nations around the globe - from their unique view point. This one, Hasina's story is about one girl's experiences of persecution during the political upheaval of Myanmar in the late 80s.

Hasina enjoys a humble yet rich childhood in her ancestral home in the lands of Rakhin, a province on the western side of the Arakan Mountains. Together with her baby brother, Araf, she and her village friends attend their aunty's makeshift home school because the village one is no longer in operation thanks to the conflicts between the police, Army and local governments. In fact many of the freedoms of the past have been sacrificed as growing religious intolerance spreads across the conflicted former lands of Burma.

It is occasionally difficult to bend one's understanding around so much unrest. This sadly common abhorrent affliction of humanity continues to rear its ugly head in communities where differing religious factions cause irreparable cultural rifts and result in cruel warfare. Ironically, the opposing groups themselves often want nothing more than to coexist in peace. It is the misguided will of a chosen few who impose their beliefs on many that often leads to dissension and destruction.

After an explosive night of violence renders Hasina's once peaceful village into a smoldering wasteland, she, her brother and their cousin, Ghadiya are forced into hiding. They seek refuge in the woods surrounding their rice-paddies, waiting for the return of their parents.

It is Hasina's concrete resolution to survive in the face of horror, her common sense and incredible sense of self that keeps her small band of refugees, the remnants of her family, safe and alive.

Aside from the superb threads of tension woven throughout this novel, it's the tightly furled collection of characters that propel this story along; Hasina's ancient wise and wily grandmother; her bold and faithful friend, Isak; her damaged cousin and her ever effervescent brother, Araf, all add emotional depth and humor to a story that astounds and illuminates.

There are many real-life Hasinas out there; struggling to make sense of the conflict that surrounds them, searching for families wrest from them in the dark of night, still suffering prosecution at the hands of feuding sides. Stories like these expose their plights in engaging, gripping ways that enlighten and educate.

For those who enjoy plenty of action, a good dose of drama and gently administered history in their middle grade fiction, this is a series not to be missed.

Title: Through My Eyes: Hasina
Author: Michelle Aung Thin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760637286
For ages: 10 - 15
Type: Middle Grade Fiction

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books, Booktopia



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