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Yasmin's Hammer

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In the noisy streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, another busy morning is beginning as Yasmin rides to work in her father’s rattling rickshaw. Yasmin longs to go to school so she can learn to read, but her family needs the money she and her sister earn at the brickyard to help keep the rice bag full and the roof repaired.

As she hammers away at bricks day after day, Yasmin dreams
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Lee & Low Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  98 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
"Yasmin's Hammer" is an intriguing tale of a young girl, Yasmin, whose family moved from the country (after their farm was flooded out) to Dhaka, the capital of Bangledesh. Every member of the family has to work very hard in order to make ends meet. Each morning that Yasmin and her sister Mita go to work crushing bricks with hammers, Yasmin dreams of being able to go to school. With great determination, the family figures out a way that allows Yasmin and Mita to go to school. The colorful pictur ...more
Jul 15, 2013 marked it as to-read
Audience: Primary

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Quote: "That was before the cyclone crashed in from the sea. Before the wind cried so loud, we had to cover our ears. Before the rain fell so hard. Abba had to hold on to Mita so she wouldn't be swept away like Abba's tender new rice, our bamboo house, and the mango tree. That was before water covered our whole world." Page 8.

Rationale: The figurative language in this quote, brought it to life. We've all heard something that is so loud we have to cover ou
Sean Harding
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: malaspina-ann
We take our education for granted, the fact that we can just go to a school and it is paid by our Government, but it is not the same everywhere.
The fact that our kids don't have to work so the family can survive.
This one about the desire for a girl to go to school, but having to work to help the family is moving.
The information at the end about the direction to end child labour and get education for children in Bangladesh was heartening.
Another book in the inspiring Asian Pacific American Litera
#WWA #children's_rights
Great book for the G4 unit on Rights and responsibilities. Story of two young Bangladeshi children with a desire to learn but a need to work to help their family. Provides a sensitive context for child labour.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated, timely, wonderful exploration of a Bangladeshi girl's fervent desire for education and her and her family's quest for it. ...more
Cassadra Watson
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jayme Prisbell-Hultman
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Natural disaster can strike a family at any given moment. Often families are left struggling with poverty, despair, and the feeling of abandonment. The 2010-2011 (APALA) Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Picture Book Winner, Yasmin’s Hammer, written by Ann Malaspina, transports readers to the busy streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh; where Yasmin and her family are trying to adjust to city life. Yasmin spent the majority of her young childhood in a small village. When a cyclone hit her comm ...more
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, Yasmin rides to work in the morning in her father’s rickshaw. Though Yasmin longs to go to school, she has to help earn money so that her family can eat and her father can someday purchase the rickshaw. Yasmin thinks about the quiet days in her village before the cyclone forced them to move to the noise and bustle of the city. Now she must work breaking bricks for use in building roads and buildings. Even Yasmin’s little sister must work in the brickyard so the family can s ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Audience: 2nd – 5th grade, Bangladesh, humanitarian aid for children

Appeal: This story is based on actual events that the author has witnessed while traveling in South Asia. It follows the plight of a family uprooted by floods and forced to move to the city to earn income. This includes the two young girls in the family who must also work to help the family play for food and repair on their roof. The ultimate goal of the main character and her family is that both girls will eventually be able to
Samantha Kimsey
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: primary-books
Text to World
Yasmin’s Hammer
Genre Realistic Fiction
Award Asian Pacific American Award for Literature
This book is told by a young girl about her family and her. She starts telling about her village and then losing everything in a cyclone and having to move to the city. In the city her and her sister are not allowed to go to school they need to work to help with buying food for the family. It is her dream to be able to read and have a better life. She works extra hard at breaking bricks and is abl
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: diverse-texts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scarlett Sims
I received my copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Yasmin is a young girl in Bangladesh who wishes to attend school. However, her family needs her to work to help support them. In the end, Yasmin uses the titular tool to earn enough money to attend school. The book necessarily evokes Mitali Perkins' Rickshaw Girl, and is tied up just as neatly at the end. The high point of Yasmin's Hammer is the list of sources at the end. In addition to information on aid organizations, ther
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: primary-books
"Yasmin's Hammer" by Ann Malaspina is a primary book in the realistic fiction genre. It won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature as the Picture Book award winner in 2010-2011. The text-to-self connection that I made when reading this book was the responsibility for my own education. The main character in the book, Yasmin, was always telling her parents that she wanted to go to school, but her parents were telling her that she needed to work to support the family. However, Yasmin persi ...more
Sarah Routt
Audience: I would read this book with 4th or 5th grade but it could work for lower grades too.
Appeal: THis book brings to light the hardships that many children around the world face. It may help kids who don't see value in reading or education.
Application: I would read this story with my class as part of a world geography lesson. WHen we talk about India and Bangladesh area we would read this to put a human connection to the are that we are learning about. In the back of the book there are maps
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
How can one not love a book that emphasizes the importance of being able to read? Honestly, it's one skill that can make or break you. This book explores the lives of those whose quest to obtain this basic skill is much harder than most. Focusing on Yasmin and her family, we watch as they struggle to find some way to maintain an adequate living enviroment with the goal of one day sending their girls to school so they can drink of the knowledge they have for so long desired.

A good story at face v
Ashley Steffen
Audience: Third through fifth graders because the topics might be a little more advanced for younger grades.
Appeal: This story line would intrigue students because they could empathize with Yasmin and her family. Our American lifestyles are so different from the way she is living in Bangladesh, so the children could be pulled in by reading about such vast differences.
Application: We could make venn diagrams about what is different and similar to Yasmin's and our lives. We could then talk about
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Cultural Fiction
Quote: Once we lived far away in a quiet house by a lazy river. I helped Abba plant rice in the paddy field. Amma wove baskets to sell at the market, and Mita played under the mango tree. Sometimes I rode our mohish in the warm river currents.
Rationale: I would consider this a true picture book in that the pictures are essential to the text. I often found myself studying the pictures in order to better understand the text. The passage above with its cultur
528_Mary F.
Yasmin’s Hammer is a book by Ann Malaspina. Yasmin and her sister chip at bricks all day to get money for the family, even though they really want to go to school. Yasmin comes up with a secret plan to get closer to her dream. The best part is probably how excited they are about books. Definitely something to share with our alliterate students.

A page in the back of the book has a glossary and pronunciation guide as well as information on advocacy. Other books are suggested as well.

See the CIA W
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Quote: "Then we walked for many days all the way to Dhaka carrying Amma's baskets, our dreams, and nothing else." (quote is on fifth page with text) A cyclone destroyed their crops, house, tree, and everything they knew. Despite all of the loss, they still had hopes and dreams, which they did not give up on especially Yasmin. She wanted more than to work in the brickyard. She wanted to read and go to school. I think this quote shows both an image of loss
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A poor Bangladeshi family has been made homeless by a cyclone, so they move to the city to start a new life. The story centers around the oldest daughter, Yasmin, who wants to go to school and learn how to read. However, she and her sister must work instead. What we take for granted in this country means so much to people in other lands. Such a small (to us) amount of money would get this family on their feet. This is a great story to read to children who complain about going to school! Highly r ...more
Julie Esanu
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
While she works diligently chipping at bricks, Yasmin has a dream that sustains her--one day she wants to go to school. She realizes at a young age that getting an education will allow her to break her family's cycle of poverty. Ann Malaspina's story is set in Bangladesh and serves as a gentle introduction to the country and the issues surrounding the education of girls. Doug Chayka's colorful and catching illustrations provide a glimpse of the countryside and bustling city of Dhaka and are remi ...more
Audience: Primary
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Quote: "Mita and I crouch on the ground. We swing our hammers- chipping, cracking, crushing, smashing. Bricks fly into bits. Red dust fills the air and sticks in my throat."

"Yasmin's Hammer"is a story about a girl that longs to go to school and learn to real. Yasmin and her sister do child labor instead of attending school. They work at as brick chippers to make money for their family. I love the picture of breaking up the brick that Ann Malaspina paints
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, children
I received this book for free through Goodreads first reads. I enjoyed this children's book, but the true test was when I read it to my kids and no sooner did I finish the story they asked that I read it to them again. It is a good story that covers another culture. My children not only enjoyed the story and pictures, but they learned a little bit about another country that is very different from our own. Thank you to Lee & Low who listed this book for giveaway. ...more
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy books set in other countries and this one brings home the different life children in Bangladesh lead compared to here in the U.S. Two sisters work all day breaking up bricks to earn money for their family while longing to attend school. This would be a good picture book accompaniment to the prior MCBA nominee Rickshaw Girl. This book tells an interesting story and give kids a peek into another culture. Nicely illustrated in rich, warm tones.
Mandy Peterson

Audience: boys and girls grades 3 and 4 would best appreciate this story
Appeal: colorful and detailed pictures add to the text, message about education being the key to success
List: APALA 2010-2011

I personally did not care for this book. I think there are better ways to teach about poverty, Bangladesh, and the value of education.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Audience: Grade 1-up, Social Studies teacher, anyone working towards a dream
Appeal: love of family, shows perseverance, hopeful, very specific, easy to picture living in Dhaka, vividly shows the hard life in Dhaka, includes map for greater understanding

(2010-2011 APALA Award) Asian Pacific American Literature Award
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
List: Asian Pacific American Award for Literature

Audience: 1st-4th grade, people from Bangladesh, historians, young students, teachers

Appeal: Lots of bright artwork, learn about the culture there, interesting story, quick read about Yasmin who daydreams of being in school while she's stuck working with her hammer.

Award: Asian Pacific American Award for Literature
Ashley Gregory
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
An inspiring picture book that tells the story of a young girl who yearns for books and a better life for herself and her family. This book tells a great story to young people ages 8-up. I felt that it was a little wordy however for younger children/students.
I Contain
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a beautiful and inspired story set in the busy city of Dhaka. The message of the story is clear: Education can end the cycle of poverty and the people of this nation are in need of our help.
Mar 24, 2010 marked it as to-read
Cant wait to read it!!
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