The 2018 Global Read Aloud selections were announced and Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed was the upper elementary/middle grade selection! The Global Read Aloud aims to connect teachers and students across the globe by reading aloud the same book during a set 6-week period every fall.
Amal Unbound is story of a girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude. Set in a small village in Pakistan, book-loving Amal wants nothing more than to become a teacher. After an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she grows more aware of their nefarious dealings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. She realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
Inspired by Malala Yousafzai’s story, Amal Unbound has garnered starred reviews, praise from acclaimed authors, and has struck a chord with educators and librarians alike!
“Amal’s story and the main people we meet in it are so thoughtfully and deeply rendered, I remain haunted by their struggles and changed by their journeys.”—Jacqueline Woodson, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of Newbery Honor-winner, Brown Girl Dreaming
“This heroic story about a girl’s struggle to become educated against overwhelming odds will open readers’ eyes and hearts. A gorgeous and compelling read.”—Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the National Book Award Finalist, Chains
★”Saeed’s eloquent, suspenseful, eye-opening tale offers a window into the contemporary practice of indentured servitude and makes a compelling case for the power of girls’ education to transform systemic injustice.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★”Inspired by Malala Yousafzai and countless unknown girls like her, Saeed’s timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
In addition to the Global Read Aloud, ProjectLIT (Libraries in the) Community also announced that Amal Unbound was one of their 2018 selections. Project LIT is an organization with a mission to decrease book deserts and increase the enthusiasm for reading. There is a Project LIT Summit this summer and Project Lit Communities will be reading Amal Unbound throughout the 2018-2019 school year.