Boys Without Names


Gopal (11) lives in a rural Indian village with his dad, mom, and younger twin siblings. His family depends on their crops to survive, but that is no longer enough. Now his family is extremely poor and in debt. Left with no choices, Gopal's father leaves the village and the family goes to live with famiily Mumbai where they may be new opportunities.

As the oldest child, Gopal also seek a job to earn money for his struggling family. When a stranger offers Gopal a job, he does not hesitate to accept. Except there is no money. Gopal has been tricked into working for a man where he earns nothing and he cannot go home. Gopal soon finds out that he is not the only one; there are six other boys already working for the man. Life is very hard. The boys silently worked in horrible conditions with minimum food and rest, and are not allowed to talk to one another. This changes when Gopal decides to do what he loves to do best: tell stories. As the other boys start to open up and share stories too, they are able to bond and grow closer. Gopal, who gave up on escaping, started to become hopeful again with the growing friendship between the boys

BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
Boys Without Names is entertaining to read. It gave me a more insightful view on how children are tricked into child labor, how they are treated, and what their lives are like. There were many parts that broke my heart for these kids.

It is a liittle slow in the beginning, which I didn't like, but I absolutely enjoyed this book. The best audience is middle school and early high school. While the vocabulary is at an appropriate level for middle school. High school students will draw more insight into the themes of child labor.  Although this book is fictional, the author thoroughly researched child labor and incorporated many truthful events into this novel.

Borrow this from the library. The plot is pretty daid and not appropriate as a gift. However, it is a perfect book to check out at the library to read and learn.

Parent Perspective:
Once you start, you can't put down this book. The story is gripping and enlightening. The author drops the reader into every corner of Gopal's world - from the emotions to the smells and physical conditions. Boys Without Names is a phenomenal story that every teen - and their parents - should read.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Boys Without Names draws readers into a world far from their own and awakens all of their senses.

Content Awareness Factors:

The story is realistic and offers a stark representation of the use of child labor. This may disturb some readers.

Parent Reaction
Type of Book:
This realistic novel is a high interest / low readability book for teens, young adults, and adults, too.
Educational Themes:

There are so many elements to this story that are gateways to discussion and/or additional learning - Indian culture and life, child labor, family. This is a phenomenal selection for any book club.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. If you are building a bookshelf that represents children of diverse cultures, this is a must have.

Title Boys Without Names
Author Kashmira Sheth
Publisher Balzer + Bray © 2010
ISBN 9780061857607
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.99
Genres Coming of Age, Realism | Realistic Fiction
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