Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

How I Heard About It:  Nancy Paulsen was gracious enough to send me an advanced copy of Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed.  I'm always excited to get books from Nancy because she publishes the best of the best.  This title will now be included in that list.  

What It Is About:  Amal is the oldest daughter living in a small Pakistan village.  She dreams of getting an education and becoming a teacher.  After her mother delivers the fifth daughter in the family, Amal must stop going to school and help the family at home.  She isn't happy about this, but hopes to get back to school as soon as possible.  During a visit to the local market, Amal insults/stands up to one of the most powerful men in the area.  She knows she has made a terrible mistake and hopes the consequences aren't too severe.  Much to her and the families' dismay, Amal is sent to be a servant at the mansion of the powerful man and his family.  Her father tells her it will be a short stay, but Amal has a sinking feeling it will turn into something more.  She becomes the man's mother's aide and must take care of her every need.  Amal tries to fit in with the other servants, but they don't make it easy for her and often pull tricks on her which in the end makes life even more difficult for Amal.  When Amal learns a major secret of this powerful family, she must decide what to do and how this will effect her entire life.  

What I Thought Of It:  I began the novel this morning and finished in the afternoon.  I could not put it down.  The story was fascinating.  Before reading the story, I knew very little of what like is like in the country of Pakistan.  Even though the story is fiction, I gained a great knowledge of what life, family, and education is like for young females.  The characters were engaging.  The plot moved along at a perfect pace, and there were lots of cliff hangers.  I also appreciated that the chapters were short because I think this is a selling factor for young readers.  One of my new favorite middle-grade novels.  So pleased I had the opportunity to read it early.  

Who Should Read It:   I see this novel begin used in a fourth, fifth, or sixth grade classroom.  The story would be perfect for a class read aloud because it would lead to such deep and wonderful discussion.  The book could also be read by middle-school children as they will gain so much from 
Amal's story.  Adult readers will also find it a powerful and meaningful reading experience.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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