Over the course of the year I have made a conscious effort to introduce my children to more diverse reads. Encouraging them to read books from different genres, authors and countries has definitely had a strong impact on their thinking. If you’d like to see what middle grade reads we’ve devoured this year, check out the books about differing abilities and rebel women that we’ve read.
More recently I came across Amal Unbound authored by Aisha Saeed. First of all, can we just take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous cover designed by Shehzil Malik! It has henna adorned hands with rose stems held together in prayer for hope. It’s absolutely beautiful!
This book has been just released this summer! I would highly recommend getting your children to read it! If your children are young, this makes for a great read aloud book. And truth be told, I read it after I saw my daughter was hooked on it, and it’s a middle grade book you would like to read too!
Amal is a 12-year-old Pakistani girl who has a passion for reading and learning. She lives in a small village and has dreams of becoming a teacher. Her dreams are dashed when she has a run in with the powerful landlord, Jawad Sahib who is owed money by everyone in the village. In a turn of events, she is forced to work as an indentured servant in his household to pay off her family’s debt.
Once there, she realizes she will have to be resilient and strong to bring about change, and to realize her dreams.
This contemporary story about social issues is definitely a page turner! It is inspiring and filled with hope, resistance and justice. This book also tackles the culture of women and girls in these small villages and the unjust power dynamics that still exists.
While Amal is at Jawad Sahib’s house the story creates enough tension for readers, but is appropriate for children and pre-teens. The narrative explains how people working at Jawad Sahib’s house have been trapped in years and years of debt. Amal’s relationship with other servants is explored as well as Amal’s own journey of struggle and resilience.
Aisha Saeed vividly describes the village, the family traditions and small weddings that take place in the Pakistani village. The relationship between these villagers is lovely to read – almost like you know them all. Her character of Amal is well-developed and beautifully drawn out.
Amal Unbound is a great addition to middle grade literature that tackles the issue of indentured servitude that exists in feudal Pakistan while navigating optimism and courage throughout the story.
Will you be getting this book ?