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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Bubble Kids is an historical fiction novella written by N. Chowdhry. Omar's and Adam’s lives were inevitably changed when the attack on the Twin Towers stunned the world. They had been ready to enjoy an afternoon session of cartoons at Omar’s house when their attention was riveted by the special news broadcast. They felt both excited and terrified at the surreal spectacle of planes actually hitting the buildings, and the spectral sight of hundreds of people turned gray by the dust filtering through the air and fleeing through the city streets in panic. Omar’s little sister, Sara, wondered aloud who would do such a thing, and Adam shared that it was thought they were “Arabs or Muslims or something.” As the days went by, Omar and Adam would hear adults arguing about the attack, some condemning it, others justifying some sort of response to the ill-treatment of Muslims. Omar’s dad, who was the provincial police chief, said he had no idea what the real reason was, but he knew there would be no easy answer. Life for the people of Pakistan had just gotten vastly more complicated.
N. Chowdhry’s historical fiction novel, The Bubble Kids, is a well-written and perceptive look at the impact of the Trade Center bombings on kids growing up in the Middle East. Chowdhry’s treatment of two boys, one privileged and the other poor, is illuminating and powerful. I was fascinated as I learned about the cultural pressures between civilian life and the religious leaders, and saddened to see how easily needy families could be manipulated into entrusting their children to terrorists. This cultural study of the impact of 911 on kids in the Middle East is an eye-opener that I found hard to put down. The Bubble Kids is most highly recommended.