Rickshaw Girl

by Mitali Perkins

Other authorsJamie Hogan (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2008





Charlesbridge (2008), Edition: unknown, 96 pages


In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naimi excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy--or disguise herself as one.

User reviews

LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
A very sweet story about Naima, a 10 year old Bangladeshi girl who's struggling to find her place in the world. Naima watches her father going off to work in the hot sun pulling a rickshaw. If she had been a boy, she could have helped her father and let him rest. But she's a girl and girls aren't supposed to work to bring money into the family. One day Naima gets the idea of dressing like a boy and pulling her father's rickshaw while he's resting after lunch. Unfortunately, the rickshaw is too heavy for her to control and she ends up crashing it. Will Naima ever be able to repay her family for the damage she's caused? How can she make it up when she's nothing but a useless girl?

A very sweet and well-written story, Perkins really makes you feel like you're there. It's not the typical girl-dressing-as-boy story either. I enjoyed it a lot!
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LibraryThing member elainevbernal
"Rickshaw Girl," is a story about a young girl named Naima from Bangladesh who more than anything wants to help her impoverished family. Naima's father is a Rickshaw driver who works day in and day out, and her mother takes care of their home and Naima's younger sister. With their financial troubles, Naima's mother exclaims, "if only one of our daughters had been a boy," as sons were traditionally the only ones who can help their fathers in the Rickshaw business.

Naima figures that she could help her struggling father by disguising herself as a boy to drive the rickshaw, yet when she tries out the rickshaw, she crashes it and upsets her parents. Consequently, the family now has to worry about repairing the rickshaw and their existing economic troubles.

Naima then borrows her friend's, Saleem, clothes to travel to another village in hopes of trading her alpana drawing skills at a famous repair shop in exchange for fixing her father's rickshaw. To her surprise, the rickshaw repair shop owner was a woman. Naima learns that through microlending at their woman's bank, the rickshaw owner was able to start her small business. The repairshop owner sees that Naima does great art work on the rickshaws at the repair shop, and decides that Naima can be her apprentice and ultimately get paid for her work.

"Rickshaw Girl," is a great book for ages 9-12 for introducing world cultures, traditions, provides a valuable lesson about what other countries are doing to combat poverty, and can also provide an engaging class discussion on gender roles. Readers can gain insight about about how children in extremely impoverished communities have to give up school and most childhood experiences to help support their family.

Where's that sixth star when I need it? :-)
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LibraryThing member RosieBillings
Summary: Maima if from Bangladesh and wants to help her family. Her father is a rickshaw driver and her mother helps take of the home and family. Despite the fact that her father works all time, the family has financial troubles. Maima tries to help her family by dressing as a boy and helping with the family business. Threw trial and error she finds a new way to help her family.

Personal Reaction: This story introduces students to a whole new world and cultures. It also helps readers understand families in poverty and the different type of gender roles.

Classroom Extension:

1) Have students brain storm other ways Maima could have helped her family

2) Have students discuss their own cultural.
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LibraryThing member karinaw
Personal Response:
This is a fairly typical story of a young girl who violates gender norms in order to provide for her family. Not terribly original but reads easily and clearly. Has a good informational section at the end on microfinancing.

Curric/Program Connections:
Study microfinancing and its effect on developing countries.
Study alpanas (traditional Bangladeshi paintings). Art project to create your own
Gender stereotypes and restrictions
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LibraryThing member aclemen1
In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naima excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy--or disguise herself as one. This book teaches many lesson from just caring for you family, truth, and the importance of working.
LibraryThing member EllieRickett
A fantastic book which explores the cultural heritage, art and traditions of Bangladesh. Tells the story of one Bangladeshi girls' dreams for gender equality as she works to raise money to help support her family, and fix a mistake she made. The book includes a glossary of terms, beautiful yet simple illustrations, and an author's note that helps bring to light the current economic and social plight of the people of Bangladesh (mostly women). A great book for children who are interested in issues of social justice. My 9 and 12 year old girls gave it a big thumbs up - way up!… (more)
LibraryThing member cougargirl1967
An enlightening and heart warming story of love, spirit and change.
LibraryThing member gjchauvin504
This book is great . It takes place in Bangladesh and they show many things that are different from here. I love all of the pictures in this book and all of the words. I would defiantly read this book to my students to teach them about Bangladesh.


Original language


Physical description

96 p.; 5.94 inches


1580893090 / 9781580893091


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