Omar Rising, by Aisha Saeed, tells the story of a servant’s son in Pakistan. Omar is excited that he has earned a scholarship to an elite boarding school. But when he gets there, he makes a disappointing discovery: His scholarship has some major strings attached.
To stay at the school, Omar has to do chores. He has to get better grades than the wealthy kids. And he’s not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. When his future at the school seems dim, he and his friends work hard to fight a corrupt system and create justice for all.
For Saeed, optimism is an important theme in the book. “You should be stubbornly optimistic,” she told TFK Kid Reporter Gabri Blankson. “Even if it seems like you have every reason to give up, don’t give up!”