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by Ann Malaspina

illustrated by Doug Chayka


School Library Journal:

Gr 1–4— Yasmin and her sister are brick chippers in the noisy, crowded city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Each day as Yasmin breaks up bricks to be made into concrete, and as her father pedals his rickshaw and her mother irons and sweeps in a rich man’s house, she dreams of going to school. She resolves to swing her hammer extra hard and saves her meager coins to purchase a precious book , which no one in her family can read. Her determination inspires her parents; her father finds a second route, and her mother begins making baskets to sell for extra money. And at long last, Yasmin’s dream comes true—one day her father pedals her and her sister to school. A bleak situation becomes a powerful tale of hope through Yasmin’s passion and determination. Malaspina tells the tale in graceful, straightforward language, describing the overwhelming sounds of the city with the precision of a child’s eye. Chayka’s glowing oil paintings capture the bright colors of Dhaka and the cruelty of the brickyard where Yasmin and her sister work in the blinding sun as the boss lounges under an umbrella. Neither text nor illustrations gloss over the hardships the girls experience, but also do not dwell on them; instead, the focus remains firmly on Yasmin’s dreams and her resolve to achieve them.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD –Kathleen Kelly MacMillan (Reviewed July 1, 2010) (School Library Journal, vol 56, issue 7, p66)


  • Asian Pacific American Award for Literature: Picture Book


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, Ages 0-8, Education, Family