It’s monsoon season in Bangladesh, which means Iqbal’s mother has to cook inside the house using firewood.
The smoke it produces causes her and baby Rupa to fall sick. Unfortunately, Iqbal and his family are not well-to-do and cannot afford a gas stove to replace the fire. Iqbal, however, is a bright young boy; he is determined to win the first prize at the district science fair, which in turn will buy his mother a gas stove. Armed with an ingenious idea and helped by his sister Sadia, Iqbal designs and builds a solar-powered stove for his entry. Suneby’s easily accessible narrative at once introduces many Western readers to a different way of life and inspires them to think outside the box. Green’s illustrations are earthy and colorful and perfectly capture the soul of the story. Information about clean cookstoves, an activity to build a solar-powered stove out of a pizza box, and a glossary follow the story and might inspire discussions about different cultures and DIY science experiments in a classroom setting.
Deftly promotes a positive message about embracing and harnessing one’s curiosity and intelligence to make a difference. (Picture book. 5-10)