65 pages 2 hours read

Francesco D'Adamo


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2001

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Teacher Introduction


  • Genre: Fiction; young adult
  • Originally Published: 2001
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 730L; grades 5-12
  • Structure/Length: 15 chapters, introduction, and epilogue; approximately 122 pages; approximately 2 hours, 52 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: This novel is based on the true story of the life and death of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani boy born in 1983 who helped liberate child laborers. Fatima, the young narrator of the novel, works in a carpet factory, working long hours in the heat with little food. When she meets Iqbal, he gives her hope that she and the other children can have a life free from exploitation.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Child exploitation; child labor; murder of a child            

Francesco D’Adamo, Author

  • Bio: Lives in Milan, Italy; writes Italian noir fiction for adults and fiction for young adults
  • Other Works: My Brother Johnny (2008); Oh, Freedom! (2017)
  • Awards: Christopher Award, Ages 10-12 (2004); Great Stone Face Book Award nominee (2005); Iowa Teen Award nominee (2007)        

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • Coming Together to Escape Oppression
  • The Power of Corruption
  • The Economic Impact of Forced Child Labor

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Guide, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the economic and social contexts regarding the use of child labor in Pakistan’s carpet industry, which incites Iqbal’s campaign against enslaving institutions.