Yasmin’s Hammer

Yasmin’s Hammer
by Ann Malaspina
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 2010
For ages: 6-12


Every morning, Yasmin and Mita ride their father’s rickshaw to work in Dhaka. Yasmin’s dream of school seems elusive until she finds a way to buy a book. “A bleak situation becomes a powerful tale of hope through Yasmin’s passion and determination…” – School Library Journal. Yasmin’s Hammer is a rare picture book about Bangladesh and includes a map and afterword. This optimistic story touches on poverty, child labor, and education. Vocabulary word grid, interviews with author and illustrator are available on the publisher’s website.


“Swinging a hammer all day as she and her little sister break bricks in the city heat of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Yasmin dreams of going to school. In a moving voice true to her viewpoint, Yasmin speaks in smooth free verse about her longing: “If I could read.” Young people will be moved as they recognize what they take for granted: education is a right that can set you free. The messages are in the details: when her little sister hurts her thumb with the hammer, Yasmin works harder, saves money to buy a book, and finally persuades her parents (who also cannot read) that however hard the struggle, the girls must go to school. And in the story’s heartbreaking conclusion, the girls do begin to study. Stirring oil paintings bring the setting to a close with images of the sisters in the brickyard and their father pedaling a rickshaw through the crowded streets. The back matter includes a clear map, a glossary, and a bibliography with online sites about how to help children like Yasmin.”  – Booklist

Reading Guide/Activities

Publisher’s website has an educator’s guide, word lists, and activities.

About the Author

Ann Malaspina, a former newspaper reporter, writes multicultural picture books inspired by true events. She is the author of Finding Lincoln (Albert Whitman), Yasmin’s Hammer (Lee & Low Books), and Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of George Washington and Phillis Wheatley (Albert Whitman), and Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper (Albert Whitman). Her next book, Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President, will be out in time for the 2012 elections.

Author’s website

School Visit Information

Ann is available for school visits. See her website for information on workshops and programs.