Beyond Bullets Share this with a friend

A Photo Journal of Afghanistan

by Rafal Gerszak
with Dawn Hunter

USBBY Outstanding International Books, Honor List Notable Books for a Global Society Book Award Best Bets List, Ontario Library Assoc. Book of the Year Award, Foreword Reviews Eric Hoffer Award YA Top Forty Titles, Pennsylvania School Librarians Assoc. Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Information Book Award, Honour Title, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada South Asia Book Award, Highly Commended Book Nonfiction Honor List, VOYA Norma Fleck Award finalist Red Maple Award nomination Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults nomination, YALSA Garden State Teen Book Awards nomination

Award-winning photographer Rafal Gerszak spent a year embedded with the American military in Afghanistan, where he used his camera to document everyday life in the war-torn country. While there, he developed a deep affection for the land and its people, and he later returned on his own. Despite the dangers around him, he continued taking photos, exposing the plight of that besieged country.

Framed by journal entries that relate his experiences on two levels—as a foreigner looking for a deeper connection to a country that has stirred him, and as a journalist looking for another side to the story—Beyond Bullets addresses the volatile situation in Afghanistan with sensitivity and profound insight. Through Gerszak’s lens, readers can see the shattered aftermath of military attacks and dismal hospitals and refugee camps, but they can also experience the vibrant activity of life in the markets, at home and on the Muslim day of rest.

Featuring more than 40 of Gerszak’s photographs and at once harrowing and heartrending, Beyond Bullets is as illuminating as it is riveting.


“Gerszak’s images and words are haunting.”
—Quill & Quire, 07/11

“Gerszak’s frank and descriptive observations effectively convey the ugliness, monotony and tragedy of war.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 10/11

“A valuable photo journal that is especially successful at showing how people in a country carry on living in the midst of a war-torn land.”
—CM Reviews, 10/11

“His photographs and accompanying text—the sensitive, bemused, horrified, awed and compassionate account of his encounters—offers readers a personal view that demonstrates what most impressed Gerszak: the clear will of the people to survive.”
—, 11/20/11

“The photos tell a story all on their own, but the added narrative draws readers in and gives them a front-row seat.”
—School Library Journal, 12/11

“This is a beautiful book, simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting.”
—, 10/21/11

“Tells a compelling story that is personal and heartfelt.”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 12/08/11

“Educationally informative and culturally sensitive . . . It will engage students to read and beyond that to think, ask questions and seek authentic answers.”
—Resource Links, 02/12

“An artistic coup . . . both riveting and informative.”
—US Review of Books, 05/12

“Reading this book is a moving and eye-opening experience.”
—Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Fall/12