Book review of "The Roses in My Carpets"

Published from Toronto Star, Sept. 20, 1998

Dear Book Lady: How can I help kids who wear $100 running shoes understand the reality faced by many of our world's children?

Toronto author Rukhsana Khan's book, The Roses in My Carpets, is filled with horror and honesty, humanity and heart. In it, your brand name footwear wearers will meet a young boy whose rough sandal shod feet have escaped over ground treacherous and pitted with bomb craters'.

Before you begin to read, hand out pieces of paper, with one of these titles, to each child: Family, Home, Belongings, Daily Activities, Feelings. As them to listen and watch the pictures so that they can record a list of observations under their topics as you read.

Khan has written about this fatherless boy with heartbreaking realism. She knows the young boy's story personally. She has met him and his family He is her sponsored child.

Her simple yet painfully detailed text will let your listeners know this boy's life through the bucket handle that cuts into his hand, the rough mats that rub his ankles raw and his nightmares of enemy jets screaming overhead.

The author will guide them through his day,--a day where he must struggle to help his mother and sister survive while keeping a vision in his heart of a better future.

After school, he goes to practice his skill as a carpet weaver. He feels: "When I am weaving, I can escape the jets, the nightmares, everything. As if with my fingers, I create a world where the war cannot touch."

His goal is to become a master craftsman so "I will have a skill no one can take away."

This inspiring young boy's spirit shines through in stark contrast to the grimness of his life. As this powerful tale ends, this hopeful young boy dreams "we find a space, the size of a carpet, where the bombs cannot touch us."

Ask your listeners to read aloud their lists about this boy's life. Ask them what they think he would do with $100.

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