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Author: Saeed, Aisha
In Pakistan, Amal holds on to her dream of being a teacher even after becoming an indentured servant to pay off her family's debt to the wealthy and corrupt Khan family.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 194712
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 73375
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/18)
The Hornbook (00/11/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2018 Pakistani Amal loves going to school and looks forward to becoming a teacher in the future. She only becomes aware of nuances in gender roles and the lack of opportunities afforded to girls after her father tells her that she must take care of the household while her mother recovers from childbirth. Amal hopes to continue her schooling once her mother is well, but that goal drifts further away when an accidental encounter lands her in a humongous heap of trouble. In order to spare her family from incurring further wrath and unfair consequences, Amal becomes an indentured servant to the odious Khan family. Readers will find that a little perseverance and a heart filled with hope can eventually surmount a harsh reality. Saeed fills her prose with lush descriptions of Pakistani life, while still managing to connect with readers whose surroundings and experiences will be starkly different. Hand to any reader who struggles with definitive gender roles, norms, and expectations held in place by societal structures. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2018 Gr 5–8—Amal is an inquisitive young girl living with her family in a Punjabi village in rural Pakistan. Inspired by her favorite teacher, Amal dreams of becoming an educator. However, the tween has to stay home to run the household while her mother recovers from postpartum depression. Her ambitions fade away completely, though, after an accident involving the car of the wealthy Jawad Sahib, and she becomes a servant in Sahib's house to pay off her family's debts. Amal discovers the strength to overcome her harrowing circumstances, while making new friends and finding comfort in books and learning. What follows is Amal's social awakening. She finds the courage to fight for justice on behalf of herself and her community. Saeed's middle grade debut shares an empowering message about the importance of family, literacy, and cultural ties. The rich storytelling, nuanced characterization of an all-Pakistani cast, complex and layered look at the socioeconomics of the region, and richly described setting make this ultimately hopeful contemporary tale a good alternative to Gloria Whelan's Homeless Bird and Patricia McCormick's Sold. VERDICT A strong choice for all middle grade shelves, especially where readers are seeking stories about young girls in non-Western countries overcoming adversity.—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.