Yasmin’s Hammer – International Day of the Girl

Yasmin's Hammer9781600603594_p0_v1_s260x420Yasmin’s Hammer

Ann Malaspina, Author

Doug Ghayka, Illustrator

Lee & Low Books, Inc., Fiction, 2010

Suitable for ages: 5-11

Themes:  Child Labor, Educating Girls, Bangladesh, Family Life, Hope

Opening:  “Before the sun climbs into the sky I jump into Abba’s rented rickshaw, my hammer in one hand and my sister, Mita, by my side.”

Synopsis:  Yasmin and her family move from their rural village by the sea after a cyclone destroys their home and their Abba’s rice fields.  They settle in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a crowded and noisy city,  where her family begins a new life.  Yasmin and her sister, Mita, must work daily as brick chippers to help support the family.  Her father peddles a rickshaw and her mother works as a maid in a rich man’s house.  Yasmin dreams of going to school and receiving an education.  This determined girl, works harder and faster than the others and earns extra taka coins.  Yasmin has a plan to improve the life of her family and follow her dreams.

Why I like this book:  Ann Malaspina lets Yasmin narrate this inspiring story.  It is an important look at how crucial education is to a child living in a third world country.  Yasmin is a very strong and passionate character with dreams to inspire her. Doug Ghayka’s colorful oil paintings give the reader a feeling of the sites, sounds and smells of the busy streets of Dhaka and capture the family’s struggle to survive.  This is an excellent book for school libraries.  You may visit Ann Malaspina at her website.  She wrote this story after visiting South Asia and learning about the 218 million children in Bangladesh who must work.

Resources:  Make sure you check out the backmatter at the end of the book as it gives important information about Bangladesh, cyclones, the economy, child labor and special links to important websites.  There is also a glossary.  Talking about child labor and education are engaging subjects for young minds.  There is so much they take for granted.

Today is the UN International Day of the Girl Child.  It is a day “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique  challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will  focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.  Check out the highlighted UN page to find ways to participate and make a difference in locally or globally.   You may also want to look at websites focusing on the education of girls:  Girl Rising, The Girl Effect and the Girl’s Education Collaborative

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

42 thoughts on “Yasmin’s Hammer – International Day of the Girl

  1. Thanks for sharing such a unique book premise. Yes, American kids need to know how valued education is in other parts of the world.


    • American kids really need to know how education is valued in other parts of the world. Hopefully, Malala will bring this home in and even greater with her determination and efforts to make her voice heard. So wanted her to win the Nobel Peace award today.


  2. Great selection for today, Pat. Also it is super to see a book set in a country many children know little about. I have spent days among the brick chippers in Madagascar.


  3. What a great book to share! I love stories – true or nearly true – that illustrate life in other parts of the world. They expand our horizons and make us appreciate the things we take for granted: being able to go to school instead of work; food on the table – even having a table to put food on… Thanks!


  4. Pingback: International Day of the Girl: Picture Book Review | Picture Books Help Kids Soar

    • Yes, I agree. We have so much to learn from each other. Social media is certainly breaking down barriers and making us realize our differences. As human beings were not all so different with our wants for our children and families.


    • Yes, I was delighted to find this book Diane. Knew you’d appreciate it. Yes, there is so much to learn and do. Have you sponsored any more parties for Big Brother Mouse? I know you long to go back there.


  5. This sounds a lot to me like what the Breaker Boys had to do in the coal mines here in Pennsylvania. I always feel sad when I read about Child Labor. This is an important story for all kids to learn – especially that it still happens right now!
    On a different subject (Bangladesh) – I reviewed a cute PB called Anisha’s Adventures in Bangladesh a while ago. It taught me about the country and culture. It’s a good one for young kids just to learn about the country. 🙂


    • Glad you could relate to it Erik. I didn’t know about the “breaker boys” and we have coal mines in southern Ohio. Yes, I feel sad about child labor too. That’s why I admire young people like Malala who is standing up for girl’s rights and the Canadian boy who took up the cause to fight child labor in the middle east after heard about the Pakistani boy who tried to free kids from the carpet mills. There are a lot of conscious kids out there — just like what you’re doing for Renn. It’s work that comes from the heart. Anisha’s Adventures in Bangladesh sounds like a good book.


      • Thank you for the nice words. It feels right to be doing something! I guess because of the area I grew up in, we learned a lot about child labor in the coal mines. There is a good historical fiction book called “The Breaker Boys” by Pat Hughes that talks about it (it is set in and around Hazelton PA) – I recommend it if you are interested. 🙂


  6. Wow, this sounds like such an excellent and needed book, Pat. And it reminded me of what Malala has said about education (what a force for good she is in our world). Thank you for making us aware of this book.


  7. Oh, I have to find this book! We had very good friends live in Dhaka for a few years as missionaries. We studied a good deal about the country that first year in homeschool. My kids will enjoy this one.


    • Yes, the book does address cyclones in the first few pages as the reason for the move and shows illustrations of before and after — briefly. But the focus is on child labor and little girl who wants to go to school. Rocco’s book is about the blackout in NYC and could be used for a disaster. There is a huge cyclone hitting India right now.


  8. This sounds like an excellent choice, and so appropriate for the UN theme. I agree. Visiting a “third world country” opened my eyes to a new way of looking at life. I’m looking forward to all the back-matter you mentioned. Thanks.


    • I tried to find books that related to the theme of educating girls in third world countries. I also review MG/YA novels on Mondays, and you might check A Girl Called Problem and Sylvia and Aki. I added additional links to information.


  9. Heart-wrenching story, Pat…perfect choice for International Day of the Girl…or any day! Thanks for sharing it…we need more books like this one to raise awareness of these issues. Exposing our children to stories like this one will help them gain a better understanding of the world and a greater appreciation of all that they have. 🙂 Great review!


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