• Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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The House of Djinn



Awards: Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; Society of School Librarians International Book Award Honor Book

Recommendations: Booklist; Bulletin-Center Child Books; Horn Book; Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review; Publishers Weekly, Starred; School Library Journal; VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

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Author Statement

 

Suzanne Fisher Staples
On How She Came to Write
THE HOUSE OF DJINN

 

I didn’t want to write a sequel to Shabanu and Haveli until I had an idea that seemed as important as the other two stories.  The idea for the fictional story of Jameel and Mumtaz in THE HOUSE OF DJINN is based on the real story of a prominent Pakistani family who became my good friends when I lived in Pakistan. 


I met these tribal leaders, who were active in national and provincial politics, through a European diplomat.  My Pakistani friends’ nephew, who lived in England, was visiting his relatives for the summer, when he met and fell in love with the teenaged daughter of an American diplomat in Islamabad. 


The young man’s family intervened.  They had planned a major role for him in politics and the tribal leadership, and they quickly arranged for his marriage to his cousin.  I feel protective of my Pakistani friends’ identity, but the story is one that I thought young American readers would respond to. I wasn't sure for a long time how to deal with the material.  So the idea grew rather slowly and finally took shape as THE HOUSE OF DJINN.


My time as a UPI correspondent in Pakistan helped with the writing. Because I had mostly Pakistani friends when I lived and worked there, I learned to see things from a Pakistani perspective.  I learned a great deal about the aesthetics of the culture, and how traditions have grown there.  I went back to live in Pakistan after I left reporting.  At that time I studied Urdu and the Quran, and traveled extensively in the countryside.  Pakistan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and the people are warm and generous.