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Amal Unbound

Rating: 9/10

Age recommendation: ages 8-12 (it is mostly sad-so depending on a child’s maturity to depressing topics)

Islamic screening: no religious concerns, though I would say that this isn’t necessarily Islamic.

Also- many practices by “Muslims” reflect issues that are anti-Islamic, like the want to have boys instead of girls. This happens, but is specifically prohibited in the Quran. Another one is not wanting girls to get an education. This is not Islamic; early Muslim women like Aisha (RA) were religious scholars! Still another is indentured servitude and debt-increasing through “interest”. Both are completely prohibited in Islam.

Synopsis: Amal is a 12 year old that dreams of being a teacher, but her mom just had a baby and suffers from PostPartum Depression. Amal has to stop school to take care of her four younger sisters. One day, while taking a rare stroll alone in the market, she encounters a powerful member of the Khan family. The cruel man asks for her snack and she refuses/talks back. In retaliation, he forces her to become one of the Khan family servants. She goes through many trials there but manages to overhear something that gets the Landlords overthrown...and she is able to go back home, more confident in herself, and looking forward to the future.

One of the themes in the book was the importance of literacy, especially for young girls, and a reference to Malala at the end was inspiring to show how brave young girls can accomplish positive changes in the world around them.

The book was well-written, but I did struggle with it because I felt like it could be taken to confirm stereotypes about Muslims for those that don’t know better. I also felt like some issues were almost forced in there for “culture” diversity. My concern is that this might propagate those same stereotypes about Muslim men and “Islamic” cultures being backwards, and instead of showing positive Muslim representation, it might make people think that Islam itself is backwards.

But at the same time, realistically, it does bring awareness to unfortunate issues that are practiced/done in so-called “Muslim” countries.

Price: 12 usd


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