Books set in Asia, D'Adamo-Francesco, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Social Commentary

#633 Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo

 Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo

A little girl named Fatima works all day in a carpet factory. She is fed little. She sleeps beside her loom. Above her loom is a slate. On that slate is a name and many marks denoting how much debt she has to work off. Her family put her in an indentured servitude because they owed a debt. The man who runs the carpet factory took her on. Fatima does the same thing, day in and day out. She cannot tell if the marks on her slate are getting any less.

One day a new face comes into the dirty group of children. His name is Iqbal and he has been traded from another carpet factory. He is very skilled, but does not want to be working at such a young age. He plans an escape, which doesn’t work well the first time, but he gets the help of a local group protesting child labor and soon comes back to help free all the children in the carpet factory. Many of them go home to their families. Fatima and Iqbal stay on at the organization for a while helping other children.

Iqbal goes on to infiltrate other factories employing children. He is able to help free many children, but there are people who are not happy about it. Iqbal is murdered for what he did and nobody knows who did it.

What I liked

Iqbal was real. All the events of this story may not necessarily be real, but Iqbal Masih was real. He helped many children and was murdered for what he did. He was only twelve years old.

I had never heard about Iqbal before, but I’m glad I have now. I knew that children often worked in Persian carpet factories, but didn’t about Iqbal and that this practice is now illegal. It’s a sad thing that the world loses people like Iqbal who have courage and compassion so great at such a young age.

What I didn’t like

This is so sad. Who murders a child? The whole system in this book is flawed, outmoded, and cruel. Undoubtedly, it still goes on, but perhaps not to the degree that it did.


The world needs more kids like Iqbal.

Weigh In

Can you imagine living the type of life that Iqbal and Fatima lived?

Do you think your kids could stand up to the wrongness of this whole thing on their own?


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