Twelve-year-old Amal loves learning and dreams of becoming a teacher.
Then something unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, she is forced to work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.
At the opulent and corrupt Khan estate, Amal realises she will have to find a way to work with others in order to bring about change, and to achieve her dreams.
Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, Amal Unbound is a heartwarming story for brave girls everywhere.
‘Raw, honest, funny, charming and hopeful. A reminder of how people with privilege should never underestimate the courage and strength of young people fighting for their rights. Girls and boys everywhere can learn so much from a young girl like Amal.’
‘A wonderfully uplifting tale of courage and the fight for justice. Saeed has created a compelling story that shines a light on a part of our world that has been ignored for far too long.’
‘A beautiful and moving story about indentured servitude, economic class, family, resistance and ultimately—freedom. Amal’s story and the many people we meet in it are so thoughtfully and deeply rendered, I remain haunted by their struggles and changed by their journeys.’
‘This heroic story about a girl’s struggle to become educated against overwhelming odds will open readers’ eyes and hearts. A gorgeous and compelling read.’
‘Saeed infuses this true-to-life story of unjust power dynamics in a poor Pakistani village with a palpable sense of dread regarding the fate of the inquisitive, industrious, poetry-loving titular character…Amal’s experience navigating an unfamiliar social hierarchy in the landlord’s lavish estate exposes her to pervasive gender inequities and unfair labour practices…Saeed’s eloquent, suspenseful, eye-opening tale offers a window into the contemporary practice of indentured servitude and makes a compelling case for the power of girls’ education to transform systemic injustice.’
‘A Pakistani girl’s dreams of an education dissolve when she is forced into indentured servitude…Amal narrates, her passion for learning, love for her family, and despair at her circumstance evoked with sympathy and clarity, as is the setting. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai and countless unknown girls like her, Saeed’s timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice.’
‘Readers will find that a little perseverance and a heart filled with hope can eventually surmount a harsh reality. Saeed fills her prose with lush descriptions of Pakistani life, while still managing to connect with readers whose surroundings and experience will be starkly different. Hand to any reader who struggles with definitive gender roles, norms, and expectations held in place by societal structures.’
‘Saeed’s eloquent, suspenseful, eye-opening tale offers a window into the contemporary practice of indentured servitude and makes a compelling case for the power of girls’ education to transform systemic injustice.’
‘A beautifully written and extraordinary narrative of one young girl and her determination to invoke change. Essential reading.’
‘Full of character and interest and written with a lovely balanced clarity, it celebrates the power of the gutsy individual.’
‘Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, who advocates for women’s rights in Pakistan, this is a compelling tale of one girl’s determination to make the world a fairer place.’
‘Saeed’s rich, complex middle grade debut takes a nuanced look at the socioeconomics of modern Pakistan while sharing an empowering message about family, literacy, and culture.’