The Carpet Boy’s Gift


Your child may want to discuss a book that they listened to in school today.  It is called The Carpet Boy’s Gift.  Your child may also ask to look for items around the house that were made in America.  In a 2nd grade way, we talked about how products made in America helps create jobs for American citizens, even though it may cost the consumer a little more money.  The story helped conceptualize that point, as well as child labor laws/ child rights.

The Carpet Boy’s Gift helped inspire many classroom conversations about heroes,  learning to make a difference in your community, consumer awareness, poverty, and human rights.  It has also developed empathy in the students.

I put together this slideshow that helped with the comprehension of the book:


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. Although Nadeem and his cousin Amina take pride in helping their poor families, they yearn to go to school ant 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. This fictional story honors the legacy of Iqbal Masih, a real boy who escaped from a factory and worked to liberate child workers like Nameem by the thousands. 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.

From School Library Journal

carpet boy penGrade 2-5–Inspired by the true story of Iqbal Masih, a boy from Pakistan who fought for the rights of child laborers, this tale follows Nadeem, a youngster who has been forced to work in a carpet factory under inhumane conditions to repay a “loan” made to his parents. His life is changed forever after he meets Iqbal, who informs him of a new law that will enable all children to stop working and attend school. Nadeem eventually gathers the courage to leave the factory along with the other youngsters; tragically, the real Iqbal was shot and killed at age 12 after working to free hundreds of boys and girls like Nadeem. This serious subject matter is handled with intelligence and care, giving young readers enough information to form their own opinions. Lovely, expressive watercolor illustrations, each bordered with a different design typical of woven rugs, perfectly complement the text. Four pages of additional information are appended, including a short biography of Iqbal and numerous references to print and online resources about child labor, the United Nations, and UNICEF.–Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA 
We made connections with Iqbal in this book to other people that stood up for human rights, such as Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King.

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