The Carpet Boy's Gift by Pegi Deitz Shea

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Leadership comes easily for Nadeem, the biggest and oldest boy in a rug factory in Pakistan. But how can he lead the other child laborers to freedom after he’s been shamed and beaten for his first attempt?

Nadeem and his fellow workers are bonded laborers, children who work day and night to pay off loans their families have accepted from a factory owner. While Nadeem and his cousin Amina take pride in helping their poor families, they feel trapped. They yearn to go to school and to have time to play.

One day a former carpet boy named Iqbal Masih leads a parade in the village. New laws have abolished bonded labor! Iqbal urges Nadeem to fight for freedom and to lead the children to a new school in town. Can Nadeem summon the courage to try again?

This fictional story honors the legacy of Iqbal Masih, a real boy who had escaped from a factory. Protected and educated, he worked to liberate child workers like Nadeem by the thousands. His work won him the ReebokYouth in Action award and special recognition at the International Labor Conference. When he returned to Pakistan after his trip, he was fatally shot while riding his bicycle. He was only twelve, but he had already made a difference in children’s lives all over the world.

Resources at the end of the story lead to more information about child labor issues and encourage children to support companies that work to make the world a better place for all.


About Pegi Deitz Shea

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Pegi Deitz Shea, a recipient of the Connecticut Book Award, has written many children's books. She lives in Rockville, Connecticut. Her web site is Morin is a self-taught illustrator.
Published September 1, 2003 by Tilbury House Publishers. 40 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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This fictionalized tale featuring a real-life hero addresses the contemporary nightmare of child slavery in the second treatment based on the same subject this year (Iqbal, p.

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Publishers Weekly

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22), the author knowledgeably introduces Nadeem's quandary, outlining the obstacles he faces and the horrible conditions in the factories (e.g., cuts healed with boiling oil, workers coughing up blood and "children, hunched over like barley sacks" at their looms).

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