The Carpet Boy's Gift
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
List Price: $16.95*
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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 Nadem 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 Reebok Youth 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.