Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Title: Iqbal
Author: Francesco D'Adamo
Grades: 4 and up

Summary: Through the eyes of Iqbal's fictional coworker (Fatima), D'Adamo retells the true story of Iqbal Masih. Iqbal, a 13-year-old boy from Pakistan, is originally sold into servitude. This story takes place in a carpet factory where children work all day in hopes of paying off family debt. When Iqbal arrives, he quickly points out to the others that no matter how much they work, their debt will never be paid off. Iqbal is determined to raise the spirit of the children by teaching them to believe eventually they will be free. One day Iqbal escapes and makes contact with the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. With the help of the BLLF and together with his coworkers, Iqbal exposes the corruption within the country and works to free other children sold into servitude.

Reflections: After reading this book, all three of us were brought to tears. This story of a young boy inspiring other children and people around the world to fight against the injustices and harm being brought upon the working children of Pakistan is quite powerful. Though told from the perspective of a fictional character, Iqbal was a real boy which makes his story all the more inspirational. We felt truly affected and changed by learning about Iqbal's story. We feel that illuminating others to issues around child labor as well as reading a story with Middle Eastern characters (which are not often found in classroom literature) would be a valuable as well as effective piece of classroom literature.

How to use this book in the curriculum:
- works well as a Read Aloud
- could be used as a novel for a unit on child labor, children's/human rights, capitalism, and/or fair trade
- looking at modern day heroes and/or children who are heroes
- historical fiction unit
- great book for a classroom library
- literature circles
- writing letters, persuasive/informative essays, etc.

Domains of Social Justice:
Self-love and Acceptance: Children begin this story being treated like dirt. By the end, these same children learn that they are valuable and begin using their voices to express that to all enslaved children.
Respect for Others: This story glimpses into the lives of enslaved children from Pakistan. By reading "Iqbal" students will have a better understanding of what an enslaved child laborer must go through on an everyday basis.
Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Classism and ageism are definitely confronted in "Iqbal." Poor children are forced into a life of enslavement, treated like animals, and manipulated for their illiteracy. They are oppressed for the benefit of their oppressor. This is one boy's story of how he stood up for himself and all of the other children.
Social Movements and Social Change: Iqbal is based on a true story. Iqbal was a child who wanted to change his situation and make it better for everyone. He aligned himself with an organization that uncovered hidden child labor camps. He was very brave.

to purchase "Iqbal": http://www.amazon.com/Iqbal-Novel-Francesco-DAdamo/dp/0689854455

website made by middle school class about Iqbal:

Blogged by:
Cassandra Lyhus, Alissa Levy, Celeste Mason

1 comment:

hate child labor said...

i don't think the kid shouldn't work in the hot sun