Book Launch – John Heffernan 1st April 2014 4.30pm

Armidale Duamresq Council War Memorial Library
122 Faulkner Street
Armidale NSW 2350

Tuesday 1st April

Book Launch
John Heffernan will launch and talk about his latest book Naveed.

Fourteen year-old Naveed has only even known war. Born into it, living it every day, he’s had to grow up quickly to be man-of-the-house for his widowed mother and little sister. But Naveed dares to dream of a day when Afghans will take charge of their own future and begin re-building their country. In one boy’s dream lie the seeds of a nation’s future.

John says of this book that “years ago I wrote a picture book called MY DOG about the 1990s war in Bosnia. The story is told by young Alija, who searches for his family across a war-ravaged landscape with a small blotchy dog as companion. In researching the book I developed an abiding interest in war as part of the human condition, especially its impact on children. I also spent time travelling through Afghanistan. The journey left an indelible impression on me, and since then I’ve followed the nation’s demise over more than three decades of war. Now, as the West prepares to leave, it is tempting to see only a bleak future for this beautiful country and its proud people. And yet in the many personal stories I read as research for this book I found real seeds of hope. Naveed is my story of one boy’s fight for the future of his country.”

For more about Allen & Unwin’s Through My Eyes Series go to:

if you can’t  see the trailer for Naveed go to:


Here’s what some of the reviews have said about this exciting new novel, by one of Australia’s best loved writers for young adults.

From Neil Grant, author of ‘The Ink Bridge’.
“Naveed brings a human face to a war we have heard so much about. John Heffernan has allowed us an important glimpse into the world of an Afghan child and an insight into the complexity and beauty of the Afghan people. In Naveed, we have a name for the thousands of Afghan children who are suffering through this terrible war. Through his optimism, we are offered hope.”


From Heather Zubeck, Global Issues Educator
It is rare that a story has a reader holding their breath.  That delicious feeling welling up inside you as you read.  At times Naveed grasps us and doesn’t let go.

A young boy, just a teenager, takes on the responsibility of his widowed Mother and crippled sister.  The backdrop being the war in Afghanistan.

The writer John Heffernan, cleverly weaves a path of despair, violence and extremism towards that ‘sprig of spring’, a sense of hope.

Naveed is a different view of a conflict that has raged for centuries.  The writer has the reader step inside Naveed’s world with all its atrocities and complexities but still leaves us with a sense that all is not lost.


From Lyn White: Series creator and editor
From the moment we peer into the tiny cramped room where Naveed lives with his widowed mother and amputee sister, we are transported to the land of dust, fierce pride and continual battles that is Afghanistan. John Heffernan has chosen a huge, contemporary canvas on which to paint his powerful story of one Afghan boy whose courage, devotion and resilience is inspiring. Naveed is the man of the house, his sister’s keeper and his mother’s advocate. Life is a daily challenge, but Naveed refuses to be beaten by the chaos and misery that has enveloped his country and threatens to escalate as the coalition troops begin to withdraw.

Through his kindness, our young protagonist befriends Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, and Jake, the Australian dog-handler working at Bagram Airfield who offers him a chance to build a better life for his family and his country.

We see and feel the hardship, the tragedy, but above all we are moved by Naveed’s positivity and selflessness. John creates a cast of memorable, endearing characters, so well drawn and built, that even troubled Akmed, Naveed’s cousin, calls forth our sympathy. There is no shying away from the big themes – children and war, child rights, trust and friendship, cultural difference, suffering and hope are all handled unapologetically but with great sensitivity and respect.

Beverley Naidoo once commented that we live in a fragile world and it is in everyone’s interests to take time to imagine each other’s lives. John’s meticulous attention to historical and cultural detail and masterful storytelling allows our imagination to take flight.