By: John Heffernan
Published by: Allen & Unwin
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 9781743312483


The explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping. Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. 'Push them away. They'll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can't hurt you.'

Naveed is sick of war - of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He's had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend's betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?

From the winter of war comes the spring of hope.


This is a moving story set in modern day Afghanistan and follows the life of young Naveed who lives in poverty near the Bagram air force base.

His father died in a blast. His younger sister Noosh also lost her legs, but with a positive outlook Naveed finds work each day to provide food for his mother and Noosh.

But life takes a turn for the better when Naveed is befriended firstly by a local, fairly wild dog named Nasera and then by Jake, an Aussie soldier. Jake sees in Nasera a dog with extraordinary loyalty and ability to train to smell explosives. This is the work Jake and his dog Stingray perform daily in detecting land mines.

Through many twists and turns and a rebellious uprising by the locals against the air force base, we gain a fabulous insight into what life could be in war torn Afghanistan. John Heffernan writes a truly believable story that provides hope that one day the Afghani people may unite and together build a country where their people can live in peace.

Suitable for all children 11 and up, and a great topic opener for younger secondary students.

This book was included in our March 2014 Secondary Standing Order selection.

Reviewed by Rob