Take a Shelfie: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amal is a young girl growing up in the Punjabi province of Pakistan, in a town so small it doesn't even earn a dot on the map.  She is the oldest of four sisters, and her school, her neighbors, her village, and the sugar cane fields and orange groves are all she knows.  Until one day, she talks back to a man who hit her with his car.

She later learns that he is the son of the man whose family rules her village.  Insisting that Amal pay back her debt, the man takes her as a house servant to his estate.  Here, she learns a new set of rules as she is elevated to a maidservant, much to another servant's dismay.  But while navigating this new home and new rules, she overhears something that makes her realize how desperately this family clings to their power.  No one speaks out against them, because of the consequences.

And now, Amal has to decide whether to do anything about what she's overheard.

This book would make a great read-aloud (it is one of the Global Read Aloud choices for 2018) for students in grades 4 and up, and would be a good book for independent reading in grades 5 - 8.  It is filled with information about Pakistani culture and life in small villages, information that many children don't have,  It would also generate a lot of good discussions as students put themselves in Amal's shoes, trying to decide the choices she has to navigate.

I have created a novel study for this book, which you can purchase here if you're interested.  The novel study, aligned with  Reading and Writing Common Core standards, asks deep-thinking questions meant for discussion, while students work through a number of reading strategies.


What books are you reading with your students this week?
If you like, you can purchase the book through the link below.  You don't pay any extra for it but I earn a few pennies as an amazon affiliate.


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