Book review: Amal Unbound, by Aisha Saeed

Saeed, Aisha. Amal Unbound. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018. 226 pgs. $17.9 ISBN: 978-0-399-54468-2. Gr. 6+. P8 Q9

Twelve year old Amal lives with her family in a small village in Pakistan. Amal dreams of becoming a teacher and studies hard to achieve this dream. Being the oldest in a family of girls comes with responsibilities. Her mother gives birth to a baby girl but does not rebound from the delivery. Amal must stay home taking on most of the household chores. A mishap in the streets with a local rich man puts her and her family in jeopardy. Amal’s dreams are dashed when she becomes a servant in the rich man’s home. She will be in service till he decides her debt is paid.  It is through Amal and those in service to the rich lord that the corruption is stopped and the War Lord is arrested.

Verdict: I loved this book which offers a window into the lives of the Pakistani people.

June 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, by Melanie Crowder

Crowder, Melanie. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky. Philomel Books, 2017. 289 pgs. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-399-16900-7. Gr. 9+. P8 Q8

In Bolivia, in 1999, Francisco is a young man in high school at this time. His father owns a car and runs a taxi service, his mother works and his younger sister attends elementary school. The day his father is arrested for a minor traffic violation is the day that all their lives change. Francisco’s father’s taxi is confiscated and he is thrown into prison. Days later the children wake up and their mother has abandoned them which leads to them going to the prison and living with their father. Every day they leave by the gates and go to school and at night they must return before the gates are locked. It is only at the end of the story that Francisco and his little sister are safe as they go into the mountains to live with their grandparents.

Verdict: A very realistic look into the corruption of the Bolivian government in 1999 and the impact it had on families.

June 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.