If I Could Go To School: The Story of a Young Girl in Afghanistan

AuthorKenji Goto
PublisherChoubunsha Publishing
ISBN978 - 4811386119
Estimated length133P
Size212 × 154 mm
In the central Asian country of Afghanistan, the long rule of the Taliban collapsed, and the war that lasted more than three decades came to an end. Throughout the capital city of Kabul, streets were filled with a strange feeling of desperation mingled with hope. In this city, Kenji Goto meets a 10-year-old girl Mariam. She wishes to go to school, what had been prohibited to girls during the Taliban years. Yet her mother wouldn’t agree; having never been to school herself, she is worried about tuition. Kenji explains to the mother that school is free, that UNICEF is preparing for all children to be able to attend school. And on the first day of school, he witnesses a jostling crowd of more than one thousand girls filling up the school yard…


  1. The Road into Afghanistan
  2. Kabul---Scars Left by the War
  3. My Brother Is Not Here Anymore
  4. What We Lost Because of the War
  5. Mariam’s Smile
  6. Never Give Up Learning
    About Afghanistan
    Afterword and Reflections on Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future

About the Author

Born in 1967 in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, Kenji Goto worked as a freelance journalist and photographer until his sudden death at the hands of ISIS in January 2015. His 2005 book on child soldiers in Africa, I Want Peace More than Diamonds (Daiyamondo Yori Heiwa ga Hoshii) – an installment in a series – won the Sankei Children’s Book Award. His three other titles in the series are Passing On Life: The Story of a Sixteen-Year-Old Mother with HIV; Prayers of Rwanda: The Story of a Family Who Lived Through the Civil War; and If I Could Go to School: The Story of a Young Girl in Afghanistan. Kenji also contributed to Japanese television broadcasters NHK and TV Asahi. He worked tirelessly as a journalist to raise awareness of civilian suffering in war zones and continues to inspire many through his previous tweets (@kenjigotoip), which have gone viral. He is survived by his wife and daughter.


PublicationDecember, 2009