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Rickshaw Girl

by Mitali Perkins
Illustrated by Jamie Hogan

Published by Charlesbridge, 2007
91 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58089-308-4

Ages 8-10

Ten-year-old Naima lives in Bangladesh, where her father earns a meager living as a rickshaw driver, despite the many hours he works. With the best of intentions, Naima tries pedaling her father’s new rickshaw, determined to prove she can handle the job and help out. Instead, she accidentally crashes the vehicle. Burdened with guilt despite her family’s reassurances, Naima decides to turn to something she knows she can do—painting and design—-to help pay for the rickshaw repairs. Since it goes against her cultural traditions for a woman or girl to work for money, she takes the plan she had for pedaling the rickshaw--posing as a boy—-and puts it to a different use. Determined to convince the owner of the new rickshaw repair shop in the neighboring village to hire her to decorate rickshaws, Naima discovers—-to her astonishment-—that the owner is a woman. She opened her business with the support of a loan from the Woman’s Bank, and she offers Naima the opportunity to work—-as a girl-—and develop her talents. Mitali Perkins introduces Bangla culture and customs in the context of an appealing, child-centered story that also highlights changing attitudes and times. An author’s note provides additional information on microfinance—the system that has enabled small businesses throughout Bangladesh to start up and thrive, including many run by women. (MS) ©2007 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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