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The Carpet Boy's Gift Hardcover – September 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884482480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884482482
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,849,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5--Inspired by the true story of Iqbal Masih, a boy from Pakistan who fought for the rights of child laborers, this tale follows Nadeem, a youngster who has been forced to work in a carpet factory under inhumane conditions to repay a "loan" made to his parents. His life is changed forever after he meets Iqbal, who informs him of a new law that will enable all children to stop working and attend school. Nadeem eventually gathers the courage to leave the factory along with the other youngsters; tragically, the real Iqbal was shot and killed at age 12 after working to free hundreds of boys and girls like Nadeem. This serious subject matter is handled with intelligence and care, giving young readers enough information to form their own opinions. Lovely, expressive watercolor illustrations, each bordered with a different design typical of woven rugs, perfectly complement the text. Four pages of additional information are appended, including a short biography of Iqbal and numerous references to print and online resources about child labor, the United Nations, and UNICEF.--Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-5. It's not surprising that 12-year-old Iqbal Masih, the Pakistani carpet boy turned child-labor activist who was murdered in 1995, inspired works for older readers; a picture book on the same topic, though, raises the knotty question of age-appropriateness. As in Francesco D'Adama's novel for middle-graders Iqbal [BKL N 15 03], Shea alludes to the real tragedy through a fictional character, Nadeem, an indentured slave whose chance encounter with Iqbal, and later the news of Iqbal's death, galvanizes him to defy his master and lead the children in his workshop to freedom. Shea doesn't shy away from ugly realities ("coughing blood" and "cuts healed over with boiling oil"), and four dense pages of back matter, including sobering United Nations estimates of children in the global workforce, contrast tellingly with the unguarded optimism of the story's ending. Perhaps most useful for introducing the topic to groups older than the usual picture-book audience, this problematic yet thought-provoking picture book, with earth-tone watercolors brightened by decorative borders, will leave children asking questions that have no easy answers. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Hi! Thanks for your interest in my work. I LOVE to meet readers at school visits and teacher conferences, and share my writing processes. Please visit for details.

Right now, I'm celebrating the release of my new YA novel, STITCH IN TIME, a sequel to TANGLED THREADS about the Hmong refugee, Mai, first introduced in my picture book, THE WHISPERING CLOTH. Mai reunites with her crush from camp, Yia, but he wants her to become a mother to his sons rather than pursue art school. STITCH IN TIME is available on Kindle as well as in paperback on Amazon.

I'm working on several projects as usual, revising two novels: SNAKE BOY, SISTER SPY, a YA novel based on the teen exploits of my aunt and uncle in the French Resistance during WWII; and THE JERSEY DEVIL, a novel set in the NJ Pine Barrens in 1979 when gambling returned to Atlantic City. "Angie" is a budding folk singer/songwriter. I'm still working with UCONN marine biologists on a series called AQUANAUTS: TEEN HEROES OF THE SEAS.

I teach writing at the University of Connecticut, the Mark Twain House and Highlights Foundation. I love sharing my knowledge, energy, and passion for writing. I also love sports, travel and reading, of course.

Learn more about me at my website, or email me at

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trixie Kyritsis on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
A wonderfully written book about social justice for children, The Carpet Boy's Gift is truly a favourite among teachers and students.
A must read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very moving story of a boy working in a carpet factory who helps other children realize that they have options for improving the conditions under which they work. Children's version of a true story that ends in the murder of the boy. For children, the story ends before that and conveys the importance of people helping others to take risks to better their conditions in life. I bought it for my first grade granddaughter who is very concerned about others. We were also able to discuss geography of Pakistan and the surrounds.
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Format: Paperback
Occasionally I will open a book and be startled by what I am reading. My main character is Nadeem. He works in a carpet factory in Pakistan. His parents sold him into child labor three years ago and he now works seven days a week from dawn to sundown seven days a week.

And that is just page one.

At this point I go back and read the inside flap of the book and for the life of me cant recall knowing that this is what this book was about. And now, I am ashamed I took so long to review it as obviously there is an important message within these beautifully illustrated pages and as I read I try to imagine this book being read to or by those who the book is meant for - grades 3 - 6. It is making me take in a deep breath... what would an 8 year old think?

As the book goes on page by page I am witness to Nadeem's life, weaving rugs day in and day out with the occasional glimpse of the outdoors when he helps load the rugs onto the trucks.

While the story is fictional, it honors a real boy, Iqbal Masih who escaped from a child labor factory and through his work he was able to liberate thousands of child workers like Nadeem. Iqbah had been sold into child labor at the age of 4 where he wove carpet for 12 hours a day for six years until his escape. He learned about the laws against child slavery and began to work to help others. Iqbah's work won him the Reebok Youth In Action Award and recognition at the International Labor Conference. Upon Iqbah's return to Pakistan after these recognitions, he was fatally shot while riding his bicycle. He was only twelve at the time and he had already made an impact for children all over the world.

The book made me cry to think of all the injustice out there in this world.
Read more ›
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Benoit on December 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this is a beautifully written and illustrated narrative of an important issue (child slavery and forced labor) it is completely inappropriate for young children. I want to bring that to buyers' attention, because they may perceive it as being a picture book and therefor for young children-it is not. As well, with so few books about Pakistan for young children, it is unfortunate that negative aspects of the culture are brought to market before books that would foster positive self-identity in Paki-American children and teach multiculturalism. Imagine this is the only book presented to a class of children, what sort of message are they getting about Pakistan??? Pakistanis are child exploiters AND murders, period.
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