Chapter Books Set in Pakistan
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo, translated by Ann Leonori
Based on a true story of children who are slaves in a rug factory, chained to their looms, Fatima has been working for Hussain Khan for three years before a boy named Iqbal arrives. Iqbal opens her eyes and the eyes of the other children to the truth that they would never be free unless they escape. Iqbal helps the children find hope for a better life.
Chapter Books Set in Afghanistan
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
Miriam gets left behind when her family flees Afghanistan. Her brother Fadi feels responsible and hopes to find Miriam using his photography by winning a photography competition that will take him to India. The author gives readers a strong sense of Afghani culture in this timely book.
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
Reedy’s well-written narrative shows Zulaikha’s life in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. A
Chapter Books Set in India
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
This is the story of sisters and brothers and resiliency and courage. Set in India, Viji writes this story as letters to her little sister Rukku who has intellectual disabilities. She recalls how the two of them ran away from an abusive father and sick mother to the big city where they meet two friendly brothers and live with them under a bridge, scrabbling to survive by collecting trash. After moving to a mosquito-filled cemetery filled, Rukku gets a terrible cough and fever. So does one of the brothers. What happens next almost destroys Viji. She wonders how prayers and faith can coexist with misery and pain. She wonders how life can move on. Ultimately, it is the kindness of her new family that helps her see more in the future than misery. It’s an honest, eye-opening story that reveals the plight of many homeless children in India and yet, finds a way to be hopeful, too.
Tiger Boy by Mitlali Perkins
Neel and his sister hope to find the reserve’s escaped tiger cub before Mr. Gupta who wants to kill the cub.
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
13-year-old Koly isn’t getting the arranged marriage she thought, she’s been sold. But she’s a survivor and with the help of strangers, she will find a way.
Bamboo People by Mitlali Perkins
This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Myanmar (formerly called Burma.) Narrated by two fifteen-year-old boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice.
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Mai visits Vietnam with her grandmother where she feels out of place in a country where she doesn’t know the country or the customs or her relatives. There she learns to appreciate the beauty of the culture and her heritage.
Water Buffalo Days by Huynh Quang Nhuong, illustrated by Jean Tseng and Mou-sien Tseng
You’ll experience life in the highlands of Vietnam people farm the land. Tank is Nhuong’s family’s new water buffalo. He becomes Nhuong’s best friend–defends him from bullies, crushes a threatening wild tiger, as well as plays a central role in the family’s farming success.
Rickshaw Girl by Mitlali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Naima’s a skilled artist in the traditional patterns (alpacas) but that won’t help her family with money. She decides to try dressing as a boy and driving her father’s rickshaw — but she wrecks it! Now the family really needs money so Naima finds a solution. She’ll work painting rickshaw decorations.
Children’s Chapter Books Set in South and Southeast Asia