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Boys without Names

( 21 )

Overview

Trapped.

For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. They flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

?But there is no factory, just a stuffy sweatshop where he and five other boys are forced to work for no money and ...

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Boys Without Names

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Overview

Trapped.

For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. They flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

?But there is no factory, just a stuffy sweatshop where he and five other boys are forced to work for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. Locked away in a rundown building, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.

But late one night, when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys' key to survival. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.

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Editorial Reviews

Jacqueline Woodson
Boys Without Names is not a heartbreaking story, even if there are moments that break the heart. Instead, it is a story about growing up, about learning and relearning the meaning of family. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Patricia McCormick
“Kashmira Sheth gives a name to the pernicious practice of child bondage in her unforgettable portrait of Gopal, a boy enslaved in a grueling factory job in India. And she shows the power of story telling to inspire acts of kindness and courage in even the darkest of situations.”
BookPage
With echoes of the Lost Boys in Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion and even Slumdog Millionaire, this a tightly woven tale of a boy’s will to survive, the power of story and the bond of friends tied together in the hope of a better day.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061857621
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 95,090
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Kashmira Sheth spoke to many child workers in Mumbai as part of her research for Boys Without Names. Kashmira herself was born in Gujarat, India, and moved to the United States when she was seventeen to attend university. She is the author of Blue Jasmine, an IRA Children's Book Award Winner; Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet; and Keeping Corner, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. The mother of two daughters, Kashmira lives with her husband in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing!

    What can I say about Boys Without Names? It is such an amazing book, that I'm not sure describing it, or just using words like 'moving,' 'poignant,' and 'beautifully painful' really do it justice. It's a simple yet profound story that everyone in America should read, not just teens. It's important that we as a culture understand that many of the nice things that we want at a cheap price often come at an incredibly high price for someone else. Including becoming a slave.

    Read it! Expand your worldview. Change your perspective on what it truly, tangibly means to have your clothes made in sweatshops in poorer countries around the world. Our rampant materialism is an oppressor to people in other nations, and we should have to account for it.

    Other than the message Sheth so profoundly communicates, the world she creates is beautiful. I can feel the heat, smell all the amazing smells, and learn a great deal about Indian culture. I feel as if I am also one of those boys without names, working in the sweatshop, and through their experience of creating family and bonds, and reminded fondly of my own childhood. All the more reason that I want to step into the story and save these children from injustice, and punish those who are responsible for it.

    It was everything I was hoping for and more, and I recommend that everyone read it.

    -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    X

    This book was really good. It was really disturbing vut a great story in all. Very suspensful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    In BOYS WITHOUT NAMES, author Kashmira Sheth takes readers into the world of child labor and exposes the unbearable conditions and incredible horrors suffered by millions of children around the world.

    Economic conditions drive Gopal and his family from their tiny village into life in the city of Mumbai. Their trip from village to city is complicated by lack of money and difficulty with the language. Gopal, his mother, and his twin brother and sister are forced to live for several days on the street when Gopal's father goes in search of the uncle who was supposed to meet them at the train station. Not able to read directions and street signs, Gopal's father is lost, leaving the remaining family to struggle on without him.

    When they finally find him, Uncle Jama is able to provide food and shelter for them while he begins the search for Gopal's missing father. Gopal attempts to look for ways to earn money and help out. One day he meets a boy who promises work if Gopal will follow him immediately. Gopal is drugged and taken to a sweatshop, where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded picture frames by a cruel boss Gopal names Scar.

    The boys work long hours, are given very little food, and are able to bathe only once a week. Their days and nights are spent breathing toxic glue fumes in a poorly lit, stuffy attic. At first they work quietly, each dreaming of returning to families they miss, but as the weeks and months pass, Gopal begins to tell the group stories to pass the time and soon the others add stories of their own. All the while, Gopal plots his escape. The idea of leaving becomes more complicated as the six boys become like a family. How can all of them manage to gain their freedom from under Scar's watchful eyes and locked doors?

    BOYS WITHOUT NAMES is a story of survival and the determination not to give up even when facing insurmountable odds. Readers will be inspired by the courage and stamina of the six young boys as they endure terrible living conditions as well as physical and emotional abuse. Little more than slaves, they still remain hopeful that they will someday be reunited with family and friends.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    Courtesy of Flamingnet.com Teen Book Reviews-Flamingnet.com Top Choice Book-powerful message

    Running away from the law seemed difficult for Gopal and
    his family. Money in their meager Indian village was
    tight, and when his family couldn't pay off their debt,
    they had to escape to Mumbai. After Gopal's father
    disappears, Gopal is offered a job in a factory, and he
    takes the chance to earn some spare change. However, he
    ends up being drugged and whisked away with four other
    boys. All of them are forced to make beaded frames for no
    pay and little food. The only way they can survive and
    keep themselves sane is to tell stories. Their boss
    becomes more violent each day, and their need to escape is
    dire. Can Gopal save himself and his newfound friends
    before time runs out?

    Boys Without Names is a superb
    book. The characters are so real, and the material is raw.
    The realistic fiction novel Boys without Names details the
    situations some homeless children in India are forced to
    endure: harsh conditions, slavery, and working with toxic
    chemicals. The message is so powerful it teaches readers
    to never look at the world the same way again. I recommend
    this book to anyone ages 12 and up. Once I read the first
    fifteen pages I was hooked, and couldn't put it down. It
    seemed like I was one of the boys as their emotions poured
    out onto the page

    Note: this book contains some harsh and graphic
    situations

    Reviewed by a young adult student reviewer
    Flamingnet Book Reviews
    Teen books reviewed by teen reviewers

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    World Lit for children and teens

    Gopal's family lives in rural India where they are tied to the land. One bad crop, one illness, just one accident will secure those ties and deepen their debt. The ties are so tight, that Gopal's father decides to move the family to Mumbai where they can be helped by relatives and Baba (dad) can find work. The family faces several tenuous situations in their travel to find Gopal's Uncle Jama and in most of these situations, we're able to see the goodness of people in India. Given the terror that is about to strike Gopal, it's important that the author remind us that there are people who choose to do good or to do bad in India as there are everywhere.

    Gopal is a very smart young but in his cleverness, he gets snatched up and taken to be a child laborer, spending his days gluing beads to photo frames all day long. Gopal soon realizes that he's had something most of the boys he's working with have not: he's known his family and he is confident in who he is. In his upbringing, many lessons were taught through strorytelling and this helps him develop many critical thinking skills that keep him mentally one step ahead in most situations.

    Boys without names is a story with a very authenticl feel to it and it gives us insights into the very real work of child slavery. It is not a painful read, but suspense builds as Sheth skillfully uses Gopal's voice to explore possibilities and plan for the future, something the boys had previously refused to do. Sheth conveys how adults can manipulate and control children and successfully describes the horrendous conditions the children live in. Nonetheless, the story remains hopeful as through Gopal's eyes, we begin to see how things work, how relationships form and how things might change.

    The author wrote this book after being approached by HarperCollins and she based many of the characters and situations on experiences she had while traveling in India. This book is quite a change from her previous book, Blue Jasmine but both books are full of the language, rhythms, values, foods and relationships of Indian culture.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    D

    OK

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    BORING

    BORING

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    terrible

    terrible

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    Travel to India as a Native Son

    Kashmira Seth writes a great novel for young people (and older people, too). Immerse yourself in Indian culture as you travel with Gopal's family from their small town to the big city of Mumbai. Ms. Seth writes with intimate knowledge about the trip from a boy's point of view, intertwining Indian culture with the twists of consequences from decisions made by Gopal. I was engrossed in the story of this believable character and finished it in one weekend before I passed it on to my son. The story lends itself to great discussions about some very real topics: child labor, migration from town to city, family, character, risk taking just to name a few. This book would be a nice study for middle to high school students or book club.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    Great!

    This is a awesome book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!

    I have the hard cover copy of this book and love it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Boys without names

    Its an ok book that has a great plot.I does happen to have a slow start though so u might not lile reading this book. :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 4, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2011

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    Posted February 22, 2012

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    Posted December 19, 2011

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted November 17, 2009

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    Posted November 8, 2012

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    Posted November 20, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews

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