Written by: Mitali Perkins
Illustrated by: Jamie Hogan
For ages: YA Book, easy read.
Language: English, some Bangla. Glossary included in back.
Topics Covered: Feminism, Bangladeshi Culture & Traditions, POC-Centric Narratives, Own Voices, Women in Business.
Summary: This is a quick read about a girl named Naima, who paints the best alpanas in the village. But, she dreams of more. Naima yearns for the freedom that boys and men have to work and earn money, to pursue education, and not have to stay around the house doing chores. Naima’s father is a rickshaw driver, and one afternoon when he is taking a rest she tries to drive it so she can disguise herself as a boy and help him earn money. Unfortunately, she crashes into a thicket and damages the rickshaw. Her father continues to drive it damaged, until he can’t get anymore business because it starts to rust. He has heard that a rickshaw repair shop he used to frequent until it shut down has reopened, and Naima’s mother gives him one of her gold bangle bracelets to pay for the repairs. Meeting her friend Saleem (they must meet in secret, because he is a boy) in the woods, they hatch a plan that Naima will borrow Saleem’s mosque clothes and offer her painting services to the repair shop in exchange for the repairs her father needs so he doesn’t have to use the bangle. Naima walks to the shop, marveling at the freedom boys and men have to walk around in the streets, and even drink tea at cafes while watching television! When she gets to the shop, she asks a woman to direct her to the repairman so she may offer her services. Much to Naima’s shock, she is gruffly told that the woman is the shop owner and rickshaw repair person! In a rush, Naima takes off her disguise and tells the woman the whole story, and her frustrations that she can’t earn money for her family. The shop owner softens, and gives her a chance to demonstrate her painting abilities. After several hours of hard work, Naima’s father arrives in a flurry of worry about Naima’s whereabouts. He is shocked to find that the repair shop owner is a woman (she took it over when her father passed away, which is why it was closed) and that Naima has been helping her paint all afternoon and evening! The shop owner offers to exchange the rickshaw repairs for Naima’s labor, and offers to pay her after the repairs are made. Naima has finally found a way to funnel her artistic talents into a viable source of income for her family!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Mitali Perkins has written twelve books for young readers, including Between Us and Abuela, Forward Me Back To You,You Bring the Distant Near, and Rickshaw Girl, all of which explore crossing different kinds of borders. She was honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by independent booksellers across the country and has addressed a diversity of audiences in schools and libraries, as well as at festivals and conferences. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the United States. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied Political Science at Stanford and Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jamie Hogan is an award-winning illustrator, educator, and biker living three miles out to sea. She grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and earned a BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design.
Her illustrations have appeared in books and magazines as well as winning merit from the Maine Advertising Club, the 3 x 3 Illustration Annual, American Illustration, PRINT Magazine, Graphis, and the Society of Illustrators.
She is the author and illustrator of The Seven Days of Daisy, and the illustrator of a dozen children’s books, as well as several adult titles. She illustrated Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins, winner of the Jane Addams Peace Association Award and named on the New York Public Library’s list of 100 Best Books.
Jamie was an adjunct professor at Maine College of Art in Portland from 2003 to 2018, teaching courses in the BFA Illustration program and Continuing Studies. She is currently a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.
Since 1992, Jamie has lived on Peaks Island with her husband, Marty Braun, and daughter, Daisy. An avid motorcyclist and sketchbook keeper, she draws inspiration from moonlight, reflections, pink clouds, wishing on the first star, and the raw beauty that is Maine.