Boys without Names

316p. 978-0-06185-760-7.
Gr 4-7 Eager to find work after his hungry family arrives in Mumbai, 11-year-old Gopal ends up locked in a one-room "factory" making beaded frames with five other boys so beaten down they don't even talk to one another. Gopal's story is not uncommon: a bumper crop year drove prices down, money was borrowed to pay for medicine, the farm was lost but the debt remained, and the family was forced to flee to the city to find work. Gopal stores up his memories of his rural Indian village, with its pond, fruit trees, and bird songs, contrasting them with the noisy stink of their new home at the end of a sewage-laden lane in an overcrowded shantytown. Readers quickly come to care for this clever, perceptive boy who tries hard to do the right thing. Suspense mounts as it becomes clear that escape from the sweatshop will not be easy: the other boys need to be convinced. Storytelling is the key to winning them over, and Sheth includes bits of tales both familiar and new. The author includes more about child labor at the end of this well-told survival story with a social conscience."Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
Eleven-year-old Gopal and his family hope moving from the country to Mumbai will save them from starvation; unfortunately, their misfortunes only intensify. Gopal is sold into child labor, spending grueling hours making picture frames. But as he befriends other workers and begins telling his kahanis (stories) he builds both his self-worth and plans for freedom. Sheth's unique voice is as compelling as her characters. Websites. Glos.
Vivid details about daily life in India immerse readers in Gopal’s world. Gopal is an incredibly sympathetic main character. It is impossible not to root for him as he attempts to help his family, himself, and the other boys held captive in the sweatshop. It is heartbreaking, but realistic, seeing Gopal realize that he can’t always rely on his parents. The book will expose kids to many human rights issues and provoke discussions about this important topic. As Kashmira Sheth carefully reveals details about each of the boys, the reader, along with Gopal, perceives with increasing hope how the boys might be convinced to work together toward their emancipation.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing