Yasmin's Hammer

By Booklist

Swinging a hammer all day as she and her little sister break bricks in the city heat of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Yasmin dreams of going to school. In a moving voice true to her viewpoint, Yasmin speaks in smooth free verse about her longing: “If I could read.” Young people will be moved as they recognize what they take for granted: education is a right that can set you free. The messages are in the details: when her little sister hurts her thumb with the hammer, Yasmin works harder, saves money to buy a book, and finally persuades her parents (who also cannot read) that however hard the struggle, the girls must go to school. And in the story’s heartbreaking conclusion, the girls do begin to study. Stirring oil paintings bring the setting to a close with images of the sisters in the brickyard and their father pedaling a rickshaw through the crowded streets. The back matter includes a clear map, a glossary, and a bibliography with online sites about how to help children like Yasmin.