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Girl on a Mission

Aisha Saeed (left) writes about hope and the power of youth in Amal Unbound. FROM LEFT: COURTESY DANIELS DEN PHOTOGRAPHY; DREW WILLIS FOR TIME FOR KIDS

At the start of Amal Unbound, a new novel by Aisha Saeed, 12-year-old Amal is content with her life in Pakistan. She loves learning and dreams of being a teacher when she grows up. But Amal’s dreams are crushed when she insults a member of Pakistan’s powerful Khan family. Her punishment is to become one of the Khans’ servants.

Amal finds her new life extremely difficult. But while working for the Khans, she learns about their many dark secrets. This discovery sends Amal on a mission. She aims to expose the family’s wrongdoings. With the help of other servants, she fights for justice—and her freedom.

“The name Amal means “hope” in Arabic,” Saeed told TFK. With Amal Unbound, the author hopes to inspire young readers to see their own strength and power. “They can know that even in extremely dark moments,” she said, “there is a possibility of light in the future.”