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Young Adult Fiction Middle East

The Shepherd's Granddaughter

by (author) Anne Laurel Carter

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Aug 2008
Middle East, Girls & Women, Violence
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0
  • Grade: p to 12
  • Reading age: 0


Winner of the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children, the Society of School Librarians International Best Book Award and a Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor Book

Ever since she was a little girl, Amani has wanted to be a shepherd, just like her beloved grandfather, Sido. For generations her family has grazed sheep above the olive groves of the family homestead near Hebron, and she has been steeped in Sido’s stories, especially one about a secret meadow called the Firdoos, where the grass is lush and the sheep grow fat, and about the wolf that once showed him the path there.

But now Amani’s family home is being threatened by encroaching Jewish settlements. As she struggles to find increasingly rare grazing land for her starving sheep, her uncle and brother are tempted to take a more militant stance against the settlers. Then she accidentally meets Jonathan, an American boy visiting his settler father.

Away from the pressures of their families, the two young people discover Sido’s secret meadow, the domain of a lone wolf. And Amani learns that she must share the meadow, and even her sheep, with the wolf, if she is going to continue to use it.

About the author

Anne Laurel Carter was born in Don Mills, Ontario. She has suffered from a bad case of wanderlust all of her life, which has taken her all over the world. In between travelling, Anne completed Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education. Anne loves working with children, and became an ESL and French teacher. She is also the mother of four children, but still finds time to read and write. Anne currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she works full-time as a teacher-librarian.
Anne is a multi award-winning author of several books for children. Her picturebook Under a Prairie Sky (Orca, 2004) won the Mr. Christie's Book Award in 2003.


Anne Laurel Carter's profile page


  • Commended, Amelia Bloomer Project
  • Long-listed, OLA Red Maple Award
  • Winner, SSLI Best Book
  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2009
  • Commended, Jane Addams Children's Book Award (Honor Book)
  • Winner, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
  • Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Books

Editorial Reviews

Carter strikes a splendid balance in character development, portraying both parties' flaws while demonstrating Palestinian sympathies. Background and cultural information are seamlessly woven into the narrative, which is written simply and clearly in a skillful depiction of a sensitive situation.

school Library Journal

...sensitively portray[s] many viewpoints and issues in this thoughtful and simply written story...†...the beauty lies in the questioning that remains long after the story ends.†

School Library Journal Blog

The sympathies of the novel are consistently apparent, yet its strong polemical element never overwhelms its more general human interest elements. The story balances an economical style with a well paced presentation of Amani's growth in body and in perspective, her discovery of her gender and its implications for her aspirations, and her discovery of her skills, both as a shepherd and as a student.

Canadian Literature

...One of the very few YA novels attempting to tackle the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jewish Book World

Information-packed but never didactic...The integration of Arabic and Hebrew words adds flavor to the text...Fluid writing and straightforward storytelling make this a pleasure to read, despite the sensitive subject matter. Thoughtful and engaging.

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

...a hard - hitting, thought-provoking, troublesome book. The Shepherd's Granddaughter centres upon the issue of Israeli-Palestinian relations and the on-going conflict over land...Carter's work provides an opportunity for middle and high school readers to gain further information about their world...

CM Magazine

Librarian Reviews

The Shepherd’s Granddaughter

Amani comes from a long line of shepherds and has always dreamt of becoming a shepherd like her grandfather. For generations, the family has grazed sheep above the olive groves of their homestead near Hebron, but now the land is being threatened by Jewish settlements and the construction of a new highway.

Then Amani meets Jonathan, an American boy visiting his father who is one of the settlers, and away from the biases and pressures of their families, they discover that despite their differences, they have one important thing in common – a desire for peace.

This new novel from author Anne Laurel Carter offers a different perspective on the land disputes in Palestine, told through the eyes of 15-year-old Amani. Strong-willed, intelligent, and completely devoted to her sheep, Amani is a wonderful character that readers will empathize with and enjoy.

The story is well-developed, realistic and believable, without ever becoming heavyhanded or showing bias. The characters are completely human and not exaggerated, and by allowing Amani and Jonathan to meet alone in the yetundisturbed secret meadow, Carter lets readers see two teenagers who could be friends, and not enemies from opposite sides sworn to hate each other.

Overall, this novel is a swift and thought-provoking read, and one which will hopefully transform the readers’ view of this very difficult topic and open up discussion with middle grade students.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2008. Vol.31 No.4.

The Shepherd’s Granddaughter

Amani’s family home in Palestine is being threatened by encroaching Jewish settlements. As she struggles to find increasingly rare grazing land for her starving sheep, her uncle and brother are tempted to take a more militant stance against the settlers.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

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