Rickshaw Girl

( 3 )

Overview

Naima excels at painting the traditional alpana patterns with which Bangladeshi women and girls decorate their homes for holiday celebrations. But she wishes she could help her father earn money like her best friend helps his family by driving his father's rickshaw. When Naima's rash efforts to help put the family in deeper debt, she draws on her resourceful nature to use her talents and follow the changing model of women's roles in Bangladesh.
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Rickshaw Girl

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Overview

Naima excels at painting the traditional alpana patterns with which Bangladeshi women and girls decorate their homes for holiday celebrations. But she wishes she could help her father earn money like her best friend helps his family by driving his father's rickshaw. When Naima's rash efforts to help put the family in deeper debt, she draws on her resourceful nature to use her talents and follow the changing model of women's roles in Bangladesh.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
In Naima's Bangladeshi village, girls paint alpanas, patterned decorations adorning the pathways on special occasions, and boys drive rickshaws. Naima fiercely resents the fact that she is unable to do any work that would help her impoverished family survive: "All that a girl could do was cook, clean, wash clothes, and decorate. . . Painting alpanas wouldn't help Father get rest. Or add to their earnings. It was a waste of time." When Naima tries to drive her father's beautiful new rickshaw, disaster ensues, and the family's only source of livelihood is ruined—all Naima's fault for her heedless attempt at helping. While this twist of the story is almost unbearably heartbreaking, Perkins, who was born in India and lived for a while in Bangladesh, manages to make everything come right, as Naima's artistic skills prove unexpectedly valuable, after all. Readers will share in Naima's hopes and disappointments, and will appreciate the love and loyalty of her family, while vicariously experiencing what it is like to live in contemporary Bangladesh in a time of transitioning gender roles. Hogan's accompanying illustrations complement the story effectively and provide accurate renderings of the alpanas Naima loves to paint.
Kirkus Reviews
Money is tight, and Naima wants to do something to help her family. If only she were a boy like her friend Saleem, she'd be able to drive her father's rickshaw and add to the family's income. Naima does have a special talent; she can paint beautiful alpacas-traditional patterns used by women to decorate Bangladeshi homes during special occasions-but how can this help her make money? When Naima decides to disguise herself as a boy and drive the rickshaw, she accidentally crashes it, and the family's debt soars even higher. Now Naima is more determined then ever to help her family-and prove that being a girl can be a good thing. Straightforward black-and-white pastel illustrations incorporate alpaca patterns and depict various elements of Naima's daily life, and a helpful Bangla glossary and informative notes are included. A child-eye's view of Bangladesh that makes a strong and accessible statement about heritage, tradition and the changing role of women, Naima's story will be relished by students and teachers alike. (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893091
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 209,023
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Rick

    Makes dinner for the baby dragon and walks out

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Gender Roles.

    *Nice, well-detailed charcoal illustrations. *Storyline assists readers to understand the gender roles in Asia and how they are changing to make economic strides. The novel has a glossary for readers to learn vocabulary like: alpanas, salwar kameez, saree, roshogollah, taka, kurta, and the definition of other words that may be new to the reader. *This is a wonderful tale to enlighten us about other cultural and ethnic groups, it is a delightful family story.

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    Everyone knows that Naima draws the most beautiful alpana patterns in her Bangladeshi village. But she wonders what good can come from her talent if she can't help her father drive a rickshaw because she's a girl. Money is tight for the family, and Naima worries that her mother's heirloom bracelets will need to be pawned to pay for rickshaw repairs. She's determined to help, even if she has to take a risk to do it.

    Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins is the touching story of a girl who longs to put her talents to use. Naima's father is careful to let her and her sister know that he is happy to have daughters, but Naima realizes her society values girls only for cooking, cleaning and carrying water. Education for girls is limited, especially since parents are expected to pay for it. When Naima discovers a woman who has broken the mold to support herself, she can finally see a path to help her own family out of its poverty.

    Rickshaw Girl is very accessible for younger readers, and it gives them a glimpse of constraints that can be placed on girls in some societies even today. The charcoal illustrations by Jamie Hogan beautifully capture Naima and her village life. A glossary in the back is a good introduction to terms used in Bangladesh, and the author's note is about micro financing and how it is helping women and girls around the world raise themselves out of the cycle of poverty. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 7 to 10.

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