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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
by Barbara Cohen
Publisher: HarperTrophy
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Reading Level: Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
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Editorial Reviews:

Book Description

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different.Buran cannot -- Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city's crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy; edition (Oct 19, 2023)
  • ISBN: 0688135633
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 Based on 34 reviews.
  • Sales Rank: 279550

Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

5Middle East Historical Fiction, Aug 21, 2023
Buran and her six sisters were born to a poor merchant who never makes enough money to take his family out of poverty. His brother, however, is a very rich merchant. He has six sons and he often comes to his brother's house or shop with one of his sons just for the purpose of gloating. Buran has been far more educated than any other girl because her father wanted someone to play chess with him and talk and write with him and because she is the one who wants to learn, he teaches her many things.
After one of her uncle's visits, which made her father particularly unhappy, Buran puts forward an idea which she has been thinking for a while. She asks her father to make an investment with the tiny amount of money he has saved up. She asks him to invest in her. She wants to dress as a boy and go to the coast to make much money as a merchant. Her mother thinks this is a bad idea because girls are not supposed to make money, but her father gives her free rein.
On her way to the coast in a caravan, she wants to save money, so she travels as a servant. Her master is cruel to her during the days, but at night, he teaches her the way of a merchant. When she finally gets to the city, she pays off the merchant who taught her everything she knows extremely quickly, and then proceeds to make enough money to live extremely richly, and send enough money back to her family so they can live very richly. While there she makes a new friend, but fears that if she reveals her true identity to him, he would hate her. When he comes close to figuring it out on his own, she runs away. During her journey home, she doubles her riches, as well as playing a clever trick on her cousins. If I include any more, I'll give away the entire plot, and you won't have to read the book.
The book was very, very good. There was nothing wrong with it. It goes with the classic plot of society thinks girls are stupid, main character proves them wrong in a big way, good stuff happens to main character. Another example of this plot is Mulan.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

5Another strong female character!, May 9, 2023
This book was recommended by a teenage friend and I found myself inhaling it!

Taken from a traditional Iraqui folktale, we meet Buran, the fourth daughter out of seven of a poor merchant. Her braggart uncle has seven sons: which he lords over Buran's family constantly.

Buran, a favorite of her father, hatches an idea to dress like a man and open a store in a larger city, Tyre. After a near-tragedy in the family, he agrees. Off she goes and along the way learns lessons about perseverence, determination, and good business from an unlikely source. Buran is tenacious in seeking out her goal: to provide for her family. Her strong nature and unselfish manner makes her an interesting character for girls -- for those interested in a little romance and wonder how Muslim girls go about getting their prince...the story conveniently switches to his story in the second section of the book.

Mahmud is a merchant prince who longs for a friend. Though he has two close friends, they both want from him and Mahmud wants a friend who asks for nothing. He finds it in a young clever merchant named Narsi. Mahmud and Narsi enjoy walks and backgammon -- in one another they find common ground. However, their unusual friendship attracts jealousy from Mahmud's previous friends and Mahmud is tricked in testing Narsi for being a boy or a girl. Narsi disappears before the third test which would be impossible for her to hide her sex...and it distresses Mahmud who realizes too late he was set up and that his heart desire -- his life desire -- has just slipped away.

In the third section of the book, Buran regretfully leaves Mahmud to return home only to discover an opportunity to humble her seven male cousins -- all of whom have turned out to not be the successful businessmen her bragged about but wasteful young men. In turn, she tricks them into putting a tattoo'd "B" on their chest. She triumphantly returns to her family, though her heart longs for Mahmud...who she believes will hate her if discovering her secret. Will true love prevail?

The story is full of color and introduces a little-understood culture. Cohen subtly introduces the Iraqui culture, their method of trading, and the manners of family. Written in 1983 before the current conflict, the book would be excellent to those curious of the people and places we see on the news and could possibly be used a centerpiece on middle-eastern culture.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5Excellent read, Jan 26, 2023
I just finished this book as a prelude to using it in a 5th and 6th grade literature group. I am anxious to read this book with the kids who will relate, not only to the geographic areas, since we just finished a unit on Mesopotamia, but also to the age old story of making personal decisions that have an impact on the lives of many. In this world of male versus female struggles, we see that even in Ancient Persia, Buran, a female, makes a success of herself (although disguised as a man) and yet never divulges her true feelings for the Prince of Tyre. She is a woman that females and males can look up to and admire for her wisdom and dedication to family. A wonderful read for everyone.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5Seven Stars and Seven thumbs, Oct 31, 2022
I really enjoyed the book, Seven Daughters and Seven Sons. It was romantic and touching and cleverly written. It got rid of the sterotypes that guys are better than girls. If you enjoyed the Disney classic "Mulan" you might enjoy this book. It was a good folktale novel that took place in te Arab nation. It is highly recommended by our readers in our school.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

5Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, Sep 10, 2023
This is my favorite book. It has such good writing, and it makes me feel like I'm part of the book, watching all the events as they happen. It is about the beautiful daughter of a merchant named Buran living in Baghdad. Her father has seven daughters, and is considered to be cursed, and can barely make enough money to support his family. Her extraordinarily rich uncle has seven sons, and is considered to be extremely blessed. Her uncle is very greedy and never shares with his brother. Instead he comes everyday to boast about his success and laughs at the idea that one of his sons might marry Buran or one of her six sisters. Her family begins to get desparate. So desparate, in fact, that Buran's father finally argees to her greatest dream. Buran will dress as a boy and travel to Tyre, where she will make her fortune as a merchant. She does not give up hope even when luck is not on her side. And she succeeds more than she could have possibly imagined. After her newforund success, Buran hers the prince of Tyre, Mahmud al-amir. The two become good friends. But to Buran, he is not only her greatest friend, but her truest love. But she knows Mahmud will hate having been deceived when he discovers her deepest secret. For indeed, he does have a suspision of it. So he tests her, trying to see if she is a man or a woman. When Buran realizes she is being tested, she fleas with a heavy heart back to Baghdad. What she does not know was that even after Mahmud discovers her secret, he does not hate her. In fact, he learns to admit what his heart knew all along....


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