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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons (1982)

de Barbara Cohen, Barbara Cohen, Bahija Lovejoy

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5731031,430 (4.29)9
A retelling of a traditional Arabic tale in which a young woman disguises herself as a man and opens up a shop in a distant city in order to help her impoverished family.
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I liked it. 13yo son did not. He thought it was too much like Mulan which we already read this year. ( )
  JennyNau10 | Dec 7, 2019 |
The fourth of seven daughters, Buran grew into young womanhood keenly conscious of the fact that her gentle father, known throughout Baghdad as Abu al-Banat, or "the father of daughters," was considered unlucky to have had so many female children, but no son. Taught to read and write, and to play chess - unusual pursuits for a girl in the medieval Arab world - she had a sharp mind, and when her father grew ill, she convinced him to send her out into the world to make her fortune, just like her wealthy, male cousins. Eventually making her way to the coastal city of Tyre, Buran - now disguised as a young man named Nasir - succeeds in her goal, becoming a wealthy merchant, and the friend of Mahmud, the son of the Wali of Tyre. But is friendship enough for "Nasir" and Mahmud? And how will Buran fare when she meets her arrogant cousins again - the seven sons of her father's brother, who showed such contempt for her and her sisters, when they were still poor...?

Apparently based upon a well-known Iraqi folktale, first recorded in the eleventh century, Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is a story I have enjoyed reading many times, since first picking it up more than a decade ago. Although I did not first encounter it in youth, I suspect that if I had, I would have considered it a favorite. Told from alternating perspectives - first Buran's, then Mahmud's, then Buran's again - the story is immediately and lastingly engrossing, and although there are few surprises, it is ultimately quite satisfying to watch Buran succeed at her goal, and get her heart's desire as well. American author Barbara Cohen has produced many children's books, but her co-author, expatriate Iraqi Bahija Lovejoy, only ever produced this book, and a few others, which look to be non-fiction. I rather wish that this team had produced more - perhaps another tale based on Iraqi lore? However that may be, I'm grateful they did write Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, which I reread from time to time, when in need of a comfort read. Recommended to anyone looking for fiction based on folklore, or to those seeking children's fiction set in the Middle East and/or featuring strong girl characters. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Aug 9, 2019 |
Based on an 11th Century Iraqi oral folk tale, this is a story of a young woman from a family of six other sisters, a family who is shunned on account of not having any sons. This young woman disguises herself and ventures out into a man's world to seek her fortune as a trader, and to bring honor to her father. This is akin to Queen Scheherazade's 'ploy' in '1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights', in that a woman's intuitiveness and intelligence should never be underestimated. I have a particular fondness for fairy tales and folklore, and so enjoyed this simple story very much. ( )
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
I had never heard this story before so I can't say how well it was done compared to the original folktale, but I enjoyed this. It felt like something I would have read when I was younger, like Aesop's Fables or such, but I enjoyed the Arab setting which is a change of pace for me. ( )
  emmytuck | Sep 27, 2013 |
This is the story of Buran, a young girl who longs to make a future for herself. In her time, women stay at home and mind their own business. Buran's family is poor and finally gives in to her pleas to let her go out and make a living disguised as a man. She goes to the city of Tyre and starts trading in medicinal herbs. Her business is successful and she becomes friends with Prince Mahmud. Prince Mahmud eventually suspects that she is a girl and makes a series of tests to prove it. Buran flees, with the prince madly in love with her. It takes him 9 months to find her and they eventually get married and become the rulers of the kingdom.
I loved this book. It was amazing. It showed what a determined girl can do in the face of opposition. The book also showed how dedicated Buran was to her family and how she wasn't afraid to do something about it. One thing I didn't like was the way Prince Mahmud was presented. Overall though, it was really good. I would recommend to about anyone. It is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I look forward to reading more like it ( )
  Elizabeth.Wong98 | Mar 29, 2012 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Barbara Cohenautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Cohen, Barbaraautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Lovejoy, Bahijaautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hyman, Trina SchartArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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These are the words written long ago by Buran, daughter of Malik, a poor shopkeeper of Baghdad.
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How could such a thing be kept secret?
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A retelling of a traditional Arabic tale in which a young woman disguises herself as a man and opens up a shop in a distant city in order to help her impoverished family.

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