Amal Unbound

by Aisha Saeed

Twelve-year-old Amal lives in a Pakistani village where a powerful family, the Khans,... read more

Twelve-year-old Amal lives in a Pakistani village where a powerful family, the Khans, incites fear because of their ruthlessness when seeking repayment for loans they’ve given. When Amal insults Jawad, the oldest Khan son, by refusing to sell him the last pomegranate, which she just purchased at the market, the price of the insult is high: Jawad calls for immediate repayment of Amal’s father’s debt. Since Amal’s father has no money, Jawad forces Amal to work at the Khan home as an indentured servant until the debt can be repaid. Amal becomes the personal servant of Jawad’s mother, Nasreen Baji. Unlike her son, the older woman is unusually kind. Still, Amal is desperate to leave the Khans and return to her family, and to school, which she loves. With room and board deducted from her wages, however, repayment of the loan is next to impossible, and Amal feels trapped. One tenacious girl’s search for justice is the center of a novel that affirms the value of girls and the importance of education. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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