Amal Unbound

4 CDs. 437p. Listening Library. May 2018. $38. ISBN 9780525632108. digital download.
Gr 5–8—Amal doesn't think she is brave. She's just a girl in a Pakistani village who loves to read and teach reading. As a 12-year-old girl, she is expected to stop focusing on her education and start learning her role as a woman in her village. Sulking after a trip to the market, she is justifiably rude to a man who almost ran her over. Unbeknownst to Amal, this was Jawad Sahib, son to Khan Sahib, ruler of her village. To repay her "debt," her father allows her to become a servant to the Khans for an undetermined amount of time. As a servant, Amal begins to learn secrets of the Khan family; secrets that could possibly be her chance at freedom. Priya Ayyar is a natural narrator for the voice of Amal. Listeners can feel Amal's struggle with her expected gender role and new life of servitude. The author's note includes a brief shout-out to Malala Yousafzai.
VERDICT An engaging and heartfelt listen. Perfect for book discussions and classrooms.

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