The Carpet Boy’s Gift by Pegi Deitz Shea

If you share a compassion for children  in need – you must read this book.  ~  Sheila

Occasionally I will open a book and be startled by what I am reading.  My main character is Nadeem.  He works in a carpet factory in Pakistan.  His parents sold him into child labor three years ago and he now works seven days a week from dawn to sundown seven days a week.

And that is just page one.

At this point I go back and read the inside flap of the book and for the life of me cant recall knowing that this is what this book was about.  And now, I am ashamed I took so long to review it as obviously there is an important message within these beautifully illustrated pages and as I read I try to imagine this book being read to or by those who the book is meant for – grades 3 – 6.   It is making me take in a deep breath… what would an 8 year old think?

As the book goes on page by page I am witness to Nadeem’s life, weaving rugs day in and day out with the occasional glimpse of the outdoors when he helps load the rugs onto the trucks.

While the story is fictional, it honors a real boy, Iqbal Masih who escaped from a child labor factory and through his work he was able to liberate thousands of child workers like Nadeem. Iqbah had been sold into child labor at the age of 4 where he wove carpet for 12 hours a day for six years until his escape.  He learned about the laws against child slavery and began to work to help others. Iqbah’s work won him the Reebok Youth In Action Award and recognition at the International Labor Conference.  Upon Iqbah’s return to Pakistan after these recognitions, he was fatally shot while riding his bicycle.  He was only twelve at the time and he had already made an impact for children all over the world.

The book made me cry to think of all the injustice out there in this world.  While my own children have been given choices all there lives, there are so many areas where this is not the case.  I will treasure this book for years to come and every time I look at it on the shelf I will remember a boy I met within its pages called Iqbah.

The last three pages of this book has many resources of information you can link to on line about childrens rights, other child advocates like Iqbah, things you can do with your children and more.  I highly recommend this book.

Child Labor In Depth

International Labor Organization If you are curious to know more of the facts about child labor, this kid-friendly site will help you learn more about how much child laborers earn, what work they do, and how much time they spend at their jobs. There are also links to many other useful sites on child labor, and some ideas of actions you can do to make a difference.

Time Magazine Discover the facts by reading articles on the issue of child labor online. See what other children’s news organizations write about child labor today.

Scholastic News Zone This news site has lots of information including a map of children in the labor force, country close-ups, voices from the field and ways to help.

Other books on this topic:

Listen to Us: The World’s Working Children by Jane Springer

Stolen Dreams: Portraits of Working Children by David L. Parke

Free the Children: A Young Man’s Personal Crusade Against Child Labor by Craig Kielburger

The Kids Guide to Social Action: How to Solve the Social Problems You Choose And Turn Creative Thinking Into Positive Action by Barbara Lewis, Pamela Espeland, and Caryn Pernu

I won my copy of this book from a fellow blogger

9 thoughts on “The Carpet Boy’s Gift by Pegi Deitz Shea

    1. Julie it really was and I think it could really serve a purpose in schools for teachers to talk to kids about getting behind some of the things going on in our world and making a difference.

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