Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet
Publish April 6, 2018
Elizabeth Suneby’s latest addition to the CitizenKid series tells the fictional story of a Bangladeshi boy determined to win his school’s science fair, so he can use the prize money to buy a propane stove for his family. Iqbal’s mother and baby sister, along with many other women and children in his country, experience health problems caused by the smoke from indoor cooking fires, and Iqbal sees his science project as an opportunity to help. With assistance from his teacher and another younger sister, Iqbal constructs a smokeless solar cooker from an old umbrella and some tinfoil, introducing one possible solution to easing air pollution in his community.
Like other titles in the CitizenKid series, Suneby book focuses on one child’s story to introduce readers to a larger issue, in this case, the health and safety problems caused by indoor cooking fires. Rebecca Green’s rich coloured-pencil illustrations complement Sunbey’s text and provide a brief glimpse into a boy’s life in Bangladesh. The decision to highlight Sadia’s role as Iqbal’s assistant reminds readers that although Iqbal’s teacher and classmates are all male, girls can be just as determined and inventive. The book concludes with a glossary, a note about the importance of clean cookstoves, and instructions for making a solar cooker from a pizza box, all of which could be useful for inviting further discussion and experimentation. Another solid title from Suneby, Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea joins the growing list of books for young readers that encourage creative and innovative approaches to real-world problems.
Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Public Library Service, and is PEI's 2017 award-winning 'Champion of Reading'. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, PEI with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.
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