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Boys Without Names

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,435 ratings  ·  234 reviews
For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. So they must flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at t ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by Balzer + Bray (first published December 31st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Reader
My sole difficulty with this book was the fact that it may have caused me to grind me teeth into tiny nubs. Gopal has moved with his family from rural India to an unsanitary and rather packed area of Mumbai with a relative. Having lost his father along the way, Gopal is determined to set out and earn money for the family himself. Unfortunately his intrepid nature sets him up to be a perfect kidnapping object. Next thing he knows he's in a small attic with five other boys, forced to put beads on ...more
Amu
The subject matter of this novel had great potential. It tells the story of Gopal's family who are forced to flee their village and try to find work in Mumbai, to avoid usurious moneylenders. Whilst the protagonist is likeable, plot action is slow: the first eighty pages, for example, comprises only their trip to the city. Soon after their arrival Gopal is tricked into working in a sweatshop, which highlights the horrendous conditions experienced by children in this situation. At the end, a numb ...more
Tiffany
My 11yo son & I read this book as part of his 6th grade reading challenge list. We both liked it very much. Dealing with the very real issue of child labor in countries like India, but in a way that is age appropriate, this book is well-written and enjoyable as middle grade literature. Slight spoiler on the ending: it ends in a "happy ending" as much as the subject matter can, and while as an adult it's not quite satisfying and seems a bit canned, for 6th graders it seems age appropriate, li ...more
Mathis
A simple fast read with a whole lot of heart. The premise is about a poor 13 year old Indian boy who gets kidnapped and sold into child labor making picture frames in India. The story is grim and heavy, but reads very quickly. The writing is vivid and tugs on the heart strings. I finished this novel in two sittings... very engaging. You can't help but to root for the protagonist to get out his dire situation. I would recommend this book if you enjoyed books such as Room by Emma Donoghue. I'll gi ...more
Sandra Stiles
Living in the United States we often forget about the atrocities that go on around the world, such as child labor. Gopal and his family must sneak off in the middle of the night from their tiny village and go to Mumbai. The family has borrowed money and the interest is keeping them in debt. Gopal’s uncle has left them traveling money. On the way the family realizes they don’t have enough money. The father leaves them on the street alone while he tries to reach his brother’s house. He gets lost. ...more
Tami
Author Jacqueline Woodson described this book as “not a heartbreaking story, even if there are moments that break the heart.” This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I would consider this as a read-aloud selection in 3rd or 4th grade.

It tells the story of an 11yr old boy in India whose family has lost their farm and travels to Mumbai looking for jobs that will help sustain them as well as provide education for their children.

Gopal, thinking he has found a job to earn money for his family
...more
Sunshinecoast
At first the story was something where I wasn't sure how all of a sudden he was going to end up as a slave in a factory, when he was with his family for a majority of the book. But it took a turn about half way in and I believe that it was one of the best books that I have ever read.
Luke
Unfortunately for eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, his life in their poor Indian village is over. Gobal's family includes his Aai, Baba, and his twin brother and sister Naren and Sitta. They flee to the great city of Mumbai because of their poverty and great debt. They will stay with Gopal's uncle Jama. But on the way, they are faced with many problems. These include losing their beloved Baba and not enough money to travel all the way to Mumbai. Gopal, eager to find work to help Jama pay fo ...more
Debbie McNeil
This haunting and relevant tale sheds light on children of poverty in the third world. The characters come so alive that when their story is resolved (albeit a a bit too quickly), I find myself still thinking about the boys and wondering about their future.
Maria
***********************SPOILER ALERT***********************************
Have you ever thought what tomorrow could be like? Gopal didn't think his life would change completely in just one day. The genre of this book is Realistic Fiction because the events that happens in the book might actually be happening around the world. I thought the novel Boys Without Names was a great book it tells you information about what might be happening to someone around the world, while its making the reader actual
...more
Julie
Sometimes I buy books specifically to fit a curricular need. There's a local assignment that requires 5th or 6th grade students to read about contemporary children growing up in a foreign culture. When this ARC arrived in the mail, I pegged it as one to recommend for that assignment.

Fortunately, the book also happens to make compelling reading. I had to know what happened to Gopal, an optimistic, storyteller of a boy whose family is forced by a debt collector from their Indian farming village in
...more
SilverRaindrops
Something I like about Kashmira Sheth is that she can convey a different culture and a complex topic in a way that is understandable for children and enjoyable for older readers.

She uses the words that children in her country, India, use - 'Aai' for 'mother', 'Baba' for 'father', 'kahani' for 'story' -, and even though there is a list at the end of the book, you don't really need it, because the narrating child, Gopal, manages to tell us the meaning of words without lecturing.
Gopal also shows u
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Gopal and his family move from his village to the city of Mumbai to avoid the neverending cycle of debt his father has been drawn into. However, once in Mumbai, his father disappears while trying to find the way to his brother's house, leaving the rest of the family alone with very little money. After waiting a few days, they make it to Uncle Jama's house, but their father isn't there. Worried about money, Gopal decides to look for a job. What he finds is a world of child labor in an unhealthy, ...more
Sarah
I have found value in reading books that deal with the customs and culture of otber countries. As Americans, I think we generally fal to realize how luxurious our lives are compared to most other countries. This book is a great introduction for a late elementary reader of the harsh realities of child labor in India. There are some serious subjects for discussion, including extreme poverty, kidnapping, and physical abuse, but I believe this could be a good introductory book for 9+ year olds to le ...more
Alan Kussainov
I have just finished reading this book and I truly loved it. I liked the plot because it had many twists to it, and made everything seem easy while it really wasn't, characters were a little bit shady, which was great because that made me wonder and think a lot about those people really were, whether Gopal should trust them or avoid them, where they came from, how did they possibly ended up working on the factory with Gopal and etc. The ending was simply awesome, when the police arrived and save ...more
Will
About boys kidnapped and forced into child labour. Intense and puts you deep into thought. Recommend it
Heather
The story of a young boy who goes to Mumbai with his family to seek a better life but gets kidnapped into slavery instead. Through his story he is able to make a connection with the other boys, but how can they ever get free?

I found this book to be so powerful and beautiful. You explore the new sights and sounds as Gopal is introduced to Mumbai and you feel his excitement at being able to help his family. When he realizes he has been kidnapped your heart breaks with him and you continue to feel
...more
Kunal
It was a good book with a good concept. The story was brilliant and it was very emotional and heart gripping at times. The writing style was also very good. The only thing I disliked about it was the lack of time presence (as the author kept hopping back from the present to the past/future). I didn't expect the ending and it was something that I found was really interesting of how a small thing was used for such an important cause (the flashlight)
Donalyn
When Gopal's family is forced to leave their rural village and move to Mumbai for work, he is tricked, kidnapped, and forced to work in a sweatshop making picture frames. Locked into a dark room at night with the other nameless boys, he tells stories. At first, these are the fictional tales he told to entertain his brother and sister, but eventually, Gopal and the other boys share the stories of their lives and how they wound up in the sweatshop.
Ismael Lopez
Do you think you can work in a sweatshop with five random kids? The book “Boys without Names” is a realistic fiction that will keep you in suspense. I liked this book because it gave me an idea of what happens in a sweatshop and how terrible it is.

The setting of “Boys without Names” takes place in Mumbai, which is a city in India. The story is about a boy named Gopal and his family who owed debt on their village home. Since they owed debt and can’t repay, they decided to move to the city of Mu
...more
Linda
Gopal and his family live in a village in India. Life is hard for this family and they decide to move to Mumbai to seek a better life. Gopal is an 11/12 year old boy who is bright. Since he will be unable to start school right away, he wants to earn money to help support his family. When he meets a boy who claims to have an uncle who owns a factory and can give him a job, Gopal willingly goes along. He ends up in an attic with 5 other boys who have been sold into the human trafficking network.

O
...more
Sewen Thy
This is a really really great book. The author really make the story flow very smoothly and you never get tired of reading it. The theme and the action is so interesting that I think I would join Blue Dragon GC!
Elisabeth W.  Rauch
This was a super depressing book about Indian boys enslaved as child laborers. They tell each other stories to keep their spirits up and there's a lot of neat information about India, but it was hard to keep reading.
Rebecca
It was very difficult, and still is, to stomach the idea of a kid, an 11 or 12 year old boy, selling another kid into slavery. The author details a subject that many of us are not aware of or willingly turn a blind eye to. We buy our clothes without thinking of who made them. There is a possibility that what we wear could be the result of child slavery. Talk about a hard concept to stomach.

What I love most about this book is Gopal, the main character. He is a lover of stories; he loves reading a
...more
AlisonSPomp
The book 'Boys Without Names' was extremely informative and interesting. The main character, Gopal, was a kid who just moved to Dubai, and was very poor. While looking for money, he got taken into a sweatshop, where he was forced into child slavery to make beaded picture frames with six other boys. These boys were not only forbidden to talk almost at all, they were not allowed to tell their real names. This is how the title came to be. Overall, this is a fantastic book. Even as a very impatient ...more
Megan Kaeb
I love finding books that share what life is like in places outside of our country; this was a special one. It tells the tale of a boy in India who gets kidnapped and forced to work making beaded frames. Through the power of story he connects with his fellow laborers and eventually makes it home to his family. It is a hard story, but the author Kashmira Sheth tells it with just the right amount of hopefulness and hard. Books like this are important especially in a country and town where child sl ...more
Astrid Weisend
I'm pretty sure I'm the only person that thought this, but this book was kind of boring. I feel like this book would be appropriate for elementary schoolers, which may be my problem with it. Or, maybe I just have no soul.
The main character was naive and kind of an idiot. All the characters were two-dimensional without any surprisingly heart wrenching stories. With better writing, sure! Maybe I could have liked the characters, but they all acted about 5. I know this is a heavy topic, and I most
...more
Rebecca
Boys Without Names gives readers a glimpse into the ugly world of child labor. Young Gopal tries to help his family survive in the big city, but he is kidnapped and forced to work in captivity. He relied on his storytelling and school skills to reclaim his identity and draw out the stories of the other boys trapped with him.

The pace of the writing is leisurely, so some patience is required from the reader. This book feels very much like two stories (the family's journey and Gopal's captivity) an
...more
Sandy Brehl
This contemporary story set in India reveals insights and details of the ways in which child labor/slavery/abduction can occur and be perpetuated despite laws against it. Author Kashmira Sheth writes with sensitivity, credibility, and authentic details. Her characters reveal the universality of human nature and yet are each so fully developed that they are unforgettable individuals and not just faceless statistics.
The setting and conversations in this story feel permanently ingrained in my memo
...more
Gerry
Good multi-cultural choice, although some in the middle-grade audience may find the kidnapping and violence unsettling.
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Did you like this book? 3 12 Jan 19, 2015 09:19PM  
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Kashmira Sheth grew up in Bhavangar, Gujarat, for eight years, when she was three she joined Montessori school. She lived with her grandparents, because her parents lived in Mumbai three hundred miles away from Bhavangar.
At eight years Sheth, left Bhavangar, for Mumbai.
She did her studying there until she was seventeen. She left Mumbai, to go to college, in Ames Iowa to do her BS at Iowa State Un
...more
More about Kashmira Sheth...
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