Ann Malaspina, Author
Doug Ghayka, Illustrator
Lee & Low Books, Inc., Fiction, 2010
Suitable for ages: 5-11
Themes: Child Labor, Educating Girls, Bangladesh, Family Life, Hope
Opening: “Before the sun climbs into the sky I jump into Abba’s rented rickshaw, my hammer in one hand and my sister, Mita, by my side.”
Synopsis: Yasmin and her family move from their rural village by the sea after a cyclone destroys their home and their Abba’s rice fields. They settle in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a crowded and noisy city, where her family begins a new life. Yasmin and her sister, Mita, must work daily as brick chippers to help support the family. Her father peddles a rickshaw and her mother works as a maid in a rich man’s house. Yasmin dreams of going to school and receiving an education. This determined girl, works harder and faster than the others and earns extra taka coins. Yasmin has a plan to improve the life of her family and follow her dreams.
Why I like this book: Ann Malaspina lets Yasmin narrate this inspiring story. It is an important look at how crucial education is to a child living in a third world country. Yasmin is a very strong and passionate character with dreams to inspire her. Doug Ghayka’s colorful oil paintings give the reader a feeling of the sites, sounds and smells of the busy streets of Dhaka and capture the family’s struggle to survive. This is an excellent book for school libraries. You may visit Ann Malaspina at her website. She wrote this story after visiting South Asia and learning about the 218 million children in Bangladesh who must work.
Resources: Make sure you check out the backmatter at the end of the book as it gives important information about Bangladesh, cyclones, the economy, child labor and special links to important websites. There is also a glossary. Talking about child labor and education are engaging subjects for young minds. There is so much they take for granted.
Today is the UN International Day of the Girl Child. It is a day “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. Check out the highlighted UN page to find ways to participate and make a difference in locally or globally. You may also want to look at websites focusing on the education of girls: Girl Rising, The Girl Effect and the Girl’s Education Collaborative
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.