Amal Unbound

Amal Unbound
Written by Aisha Saeed

Publisher’s Summary:
In Pakistan, Amal holds onto her dream of being a teacher even after becoming an indentured servant to pay off her family’s debt to the wealthy and corrupt Khan family.

Primary Source Pairing:
Amal Unbound is a story that is at the heart about the importance of education. There are many things in Amal’s life that are unfair but her ability to read and write and think for herself allows her stand her ground. In her author’s note, Aisha Saeed writes about Malala Yousafzai and her role in working to provide educational opportunities to girls all around the world. Saeed includes that women like Malala influenced her fictional character of Amal and she “hope[s] this story shines a light on brave girls everywhere” (pg 231). For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a photograph of girls in a school in Pakistan. Encourage students to make connections to the learning environment in the photograph and Amal’s school described in the book. Welcome discussion about the importance of education for children all over the world. This discussion may shed insight on student perception of education during the pandemic.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • Make a connection to this school and Amal’s school.
  • Compare the similarities and differences between the school in the photograph and your school.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Girls at school – WASH in schools – Pakistan, photograph taken by SuSanA Secretariat on flickr and shared with a Creative Commons license

Related Primary Source Pairing Title:
I Am Malala, Written by Malala Yousafzai
Malala’s Magic Pencil, Written by Malala Yousafzai, Illustrated by Kerascoët

Related Primary Source Material:
The Industrial Revolution in the United States, Library of Congress Primary Source Set: