When I first read Rickshaw Girl years ago, I loved it for the message it sent: that there is something intrinsically valuable in being a girl and that it is possible for girls to achieve their dreams even in situations where it may not seem possible.
It is set in Bangladesh, at a time when girls are only afforded limited education and have nearly no options when it comes to earning money and helping their families financially. Naima and her sister are always aware of their families delicate monetary situation and sadly, Naima overhears her mother wish that one of her daughters had been born a son. Frustrated at her inability to contribute, Naima is determined to find a way to help. She knows that in some places women can do more, achieve more and she wants this for herself. She is not successful until she draws on her own talents and is able to be herself. Surprisingly enough, she learns that there are women close to home who have ability, ambition and the desire to help other girls find a way to succeed.
Clearly I’m not the only one who sees the value in this slim volume, because it’s currently slated to be made into a movie! I can only hope that it’s done well because I imagine it will be greatly enjoyed by audiences.
Age Recommendation: This is one of those elusive beginning chapter books, perfect for readers who are transitioning to something a little longer. Unlike many other shorter texts, it’s packed with positivity, depth and characters that will broaden readers understanding of the world. I think it could be enjoyed by anyone old enough to read it and although it is short, it would make an excellent choice for even upper elementary readers.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.