Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Ghost Boys
Publish October 17, 2017
Living in Guj, India, and the first son of parents who already have three daughters, fourteen year-old Munna is cursed by the order of his birth. When his father leaves them, it’s Munna’s fault. When his older sister Didi’s marriage is cancelled because her dowry isn’t large enough, Munna is also to blame. Because of this terrible curse that hangs over Munna’s head, he is convinced every misfortune that happens to his family is on him. But when true tragedy befalls his family after Didi’s failed marriage, Munna sets his mind to preventing his family’s ruin through giving up his schooling and finding a job.
Taking her reader on a fantastic journey to the East, Shenaaz Nanji, author of the Governor General’s nominated book Child of Dandelions, highlights one young man’s struggle to overcome the chains of his birth while developing his sense of social justice.
In Munna’s eagerness to make money to ensure his other sisters have proper dowries, he urges his mother to let him leave India in the pursuit of a lucrative job offer working in a Sheikh’s palace. Munna is then shocked to find himself in the middle of a desert, working for a cranky, disfigured man, and training boys as young as two years old to race camels in pursuit of the Golden Sword.
Combining adventure with a reflective central character like Munna makes for a captivating read. The focus of the story shifts from Munna’s personal issues to an examination of child trafficking, informing readers about the issues child jockeys face and how this practice can be stopped. While some of Munna’s own storylines seem to receive a hasty resolution; overall, Ghost Boys is an enlightening tale for early teen readers.