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Rickshaw Girl [Paperback]

Mitali Perkins
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2008
Naima is a talented painter of traditional alpana patterns, which Bangladeshi women and girls paint on their houses for special celebrations. But Naima is not satisfied just painting alpana. She wants to help earn money for her family, like her best friend, Saleem, does for his family. When Naima's rash effort to help puts her family deeper in debt, she draws on her resourceful nature and her talents to bravely save the day. Includes a glossary of Bangla words and an author's note about a changing Bangladesh and microfinance.

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Frequently Bought Together

Rickshaw Girl + Seasons of Splendour: Tales, Myths and Legends of India + Stories from India
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing,U.S. (1 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580893090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580893091
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 16.1 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mitali Perkins (www.mitaliperkins.com) was born in India and immigrated first to London, and then to the States with her parents and two sisters when she was seven. Bengali-style, their names rhyme: Sonali means "gold," Rupali means "silver," and "Mitali" means "friendly." Mitali had to live up to her name because her family moved so much -- she's lived in India, Ghana, Cameroon, England, New York, Mexico, California, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Massachusetts. Now she's settled in Newton, Massachusetts, a town just outside of Boston, where she writes full-time. She's the author of Secret Keeper and Monsoon Summer (both from Random House), The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (Little Brown), the First Daughter books (Dutton), and Bamboo People and Rickshaw Girl, both from Charlesbridge. She twitters (twitter.com/mitaliperkins), facebooks (facebook.com/authormitaliperkins) and blogs at Mitali's Fire Escape (mitaliblog.com), where she strives to provide a safe place to think, chat, and read about life between cultures.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 2 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked it but I got two instead of one copy but I think that's my assistants fault. The book is well illustrated a good read if you're bored Maima's story of how girls can't work is a ggod one. I recommend this book to anyone. It shows the struggle of a poor Bangali family. Even though they're just fiction there are people who live like Naima's family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story 25 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a class teacher and used this book as an introduction to stories from other cultures. The children really engaged with story and it was easy for them to follow and relate to.
The story is well written and really gets across how the author feels about the subject matter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 7 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just right for my year 4 class they really enjoyed it and it really contributed well to our India topic.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acting and the whole "stop and think" theory 17 Feb 2007
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Consider the reading levels a child goes through. You start them out on baby board books. Slooowly you start reading them picture books. Once they've a grasp on that then they start reading on their own with easy readers. A couple years in and it's time to move on to early chapter books. Finally, and with great relief all around, they're reading thick 500-page fantasy novels and everyone is happy. Now which one of those reading levels is, to your mind, the most difficult to find? Which is to say, which reading level seriously lacks in the quality-writing-department when all is said and done? My answer would have to be the early chapter books. Picture and baby board books are a dime a dozen and if you doubt the sheer quantity of easy readers out there, come on down to my library sometime. No, it's early chapter books I worry about. Around this time you want to start luring the kids with writing that's a little more sophisticated. Sure, you could hand them #43 in the Droon series and be done with it, but wouldn't you like to hand them a fun book that talks about other cultures and features sympathetic characters and realistic concerns? Basically what I'm saying is, strong literature written in an early chapter book format is a rare beastie. "Rickshaw Girl", by Mitali Perkins therefore manages to be all he stronger when you consider how rare a title it really is. Funny, smart, and chock full of the sights, sounds, and smells of Bangladesh, Perkins offers up a delightful book that distinguishes itself from the pack.

Ask Naima the one thing she's good at doing and she'll tell you right off the bat that it's alpanas. A complicated but balanced series of designs painted on her family's path and threshold, Naima tends to win her Bangladeshi village's prize for best alpana every International Mother Language Day. This year, however, is different. This year Naima's father isn't bringing in enough money to pay for the newly redesigned rickshaw he runs. Frustrated that as a girl she can't do anything to help the family earn more money, Naima makes a crucial mistake. One that might destroy her family's dreams for good. If she's to make it right, she must summon up her courage and, with the help of her friend Saleem, use her creativity to find a solution to her problems.

Sometimes it's nice to hear the story of a screw-up. No one's perfect, sure. We know that. But how often do you read a book in which the main character does something so cringeworthy that it has the readers, regardless of age, suffering the shame of a well-deserved embarrassment right along with the heroine? What Naima does (and I'm not going to give it away) is wrong. Yet she's a character you want to believe in. Her family situation is actually pretty dire, all things considered, and what with having a heroine who is less than perfect, you really feel you can root for Naima. Perkins has the enviable talent of knowing how to connect a reader to a character. There's a spark there. An understand that takes place. Alongside the believable and consistently interesting storyline, the book comes across as a keeper.

Now anyone can write a work of fiction off the top of their heads. And a couple people might even be able to make that work of fiction halfway decent reading. Imagine then the difficulties involved when one must write not only something interesting and well-put together, and not only an early chapter title, but also a Glossary of unfamiliar terms paired with illustrated images, and an Author's Note giving additional background on Bangladesh and the author's connection to it. All these things are greatly appreciated and easy to understand. And while a Bibliography or website or two wouldn't have been out of place, what we do have here is doggone swell.

Illustrator Jamie Hogan remains a bit of a mystery to me. A relative newcomer to the children's literary scene, Hogan's work makes me want to thump Charlesbridge Publishers soundly on the back in thanks. What a fruitful pairing. Hogan's style tends to be pastels on Canson paper, though they appear black and white in the book. It's almost an affected style. You can see the texture of the paper beneath the images she draws. Yet her characters are pitch perfect 100% of the time. In an interesting twist, Hogan chooses never to show the faces of Naima's mother and father. You see her sister, her pal Saleem, and even a random boy on the street, but the only glimpse you get of the parents is their hands. Only one adult appears in this story, and she's definitely not related to Naima in any way. So in a sense, Hogan has chosen to throw in her lot with the children. Her heroine is a strong girl with natural energy. When she sticks out her tongue in one scene, it is exactly the way a kid WOULD stick out their tongue. Hogan knows how to capture kids at their most natural. It shows in the story.

If there's a moral to this book it may be, "Stop and think before you act." Sound advice, by and large. In an age of high fantasy and the aforementioned 500 plus page texts, slim realistic novels like, "Rickshaw Girl", have to be especially good to get any of the attention they so richly deserve. I think Perkins and Hogan together accomplish that requirement with a seeming effortlessness. Consider this a necessary purchase to any library system, irregardless of collection size. A keeper through and through.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Early Chapter Book 8 Jun 2007
By Kris Bordessa - Published on Amazon.com
There is a dearth of books for kids who are just taking off with their reading skills, which makes this story all the more welcome. Readers will meet Naima, a young Bangladeshi who is struggling with her family's financial troubles and her place in the family as a girl. Traditionally, girls are not allowed to work or earn money, but her father sure could use the help. Naima cleverly devises a way to help her family and empowers herself along the way.

Set in Bangladesh, readers will get a glimpse of life in a foreign land and a culture quite different from the American standard. With Bangla words interspersed in the text, readers are introduced to a new language, as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rickshaw Girl Rocks! 18 July 2013
By Surplus Sunshine - Published on Amazon.com
Mitali Perkins is a gifted story teller, Rickshaw girl is an important tome to dig deeper into Asian culture. As a grade six geography and language arts teacher it is a wonderful tool to dig deeper into the curriculum. Boys and girls, both enjoyed this story and made great connections and inferences. It is a story to be read again and again. It is without hesitation that I recommend this book for any classroom library. Mitali Perkins also will make school visits and lead the children in a wonderful writer's workshop! She is as brilliant as her books!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book!! 27 Nov 2012
By Gina Marie Bertaina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought that "Rickshaw Girl" was a good book for girls around ten years old. I am a ten year old girl and while reading this book I found it rather interesting. I barely could put it down. I finished it in about an hour, since it was such a good book. I think the main character in the book (Naima) showed lots of expression as the oldest child. She did a lot of work for her family as well as she also wanted to help her family. She knew her family had struggles and I think she wanted to find a solution for her poor family. This book is full of character, expression and interest. I reccomend this for young girls ages ten to four-teen. It was really good book. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the beginning, and the end. I don't have the kindle version but I do have the real paper-back version and I am very pleased. The book was a very well-written book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children 16 Aug 2008
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Stifled by Bangladeshi social norms that restricted her ability to engage in the community and work for pay, Naima felt frustrated that she could not earn money to help her family. Without enough money to pay for school fees, her parents had already withdrawn Naima from school, and now her younger sister faced the same fate. Her father had to work from dawn until midnight everyday as a rickshaw driver to generate enough earnings to also cover the loan payments on his new rickshaw.

These pressures, combined with her creativity, audacity, and cleverness, led Naima to decide that she would disguise herself as a boy and earn money by driving the rickshaw. Her first attempt to operate the vehicle would have marked an adventurous first step in this bold plan were it not for the long hill, sharp curve, and thick thorn bushes. Naima escaped unharmed, but Father's brand new rickshaw was badly damaged. Naima is devastated, and quite some time passes before she comes up with a new plan that better utilizes her talents.

Rickshaw Girl gets top ratings for delivering an entertaining story that is chock full of valuable economics lessons. The reader experiences a poignant account of the challenges associated with living in poverty in a country where traditional customs still limit women's economic and social opportunities. Also woven in are lessons about entrepreneurship, the need for financial capital to start a business, and the importance of microfinance for individuals - such as the woman who owned the rickshaw repair shop - who otherwise may not have been able to secure a loan. Weighty issues perhaps, but most children will be enthralled by the plight of a spunky girl who damages her father's most valuable possession and needs to make amends.
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