In this compelling companion to New York Times bestseller Amal Unbound, Omar contends with being treated like a second-class citizen when he gets a scholarship to an elite boarding school.
When Omar gets a scholarship to the prestigious Ghalib Academy, it’s a game changer. It will give him, the son of a servant, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a better future—and his whole village is cheering him on. Omar can’t wait to dive into his classes, play soccer, and sign up for astronomy club—but those hopes are dashed when he learns first-year scholarship students can’t join clubs or teams; instead, they must earn their keep by doing chores. Even worse, it turns out the school deliberately “weeds out” scholarship kids by requiring them to get grades that are nearly impossible. Omar is devastated to find such odds stacked against him, but the injustice of it all motivates him to try to do something else that seems impossible: change a rigged system.
Aisha Saeed (aishasaeed.com) is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of books for children. Her middle grade novel Amal Unbound received multiple starred reviews and was a Global Read Aloud for 2018. Her picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal, received an APALA honor. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family.
Praise for Omar Rising:
★ "Saeed thoughtfully portrays the power dynamics and income inequality present at Ghalib while also highlighting the strong bonds Omar creates with his fellow scholarship winners. The cooperation and organization the boys demonstrate while figuring out how to advocate for themselves also serve as inspiring models for readers. A powerful tale about a preteen pushing back against systemic injustice." —Kirkus Reviews
, starred review
★ "Saeed has successfully created multi-layered characters who are rich in their culture, their drive to succeed, and their family values. A richly woven tale with characters all will root for; readers will be outraged at life’s unfairness, and cheer for Omar’s success. A stellar novel which may open eyes to the inequities many young people face in their lives." —School Library Journal
, starred review
"An uplifting story about an underdog whose work ethic and 'stubbornly optimistic' outlook drive him to make real change for himself and others while gaining the confidence that no matter what other challenges life brings, he 'will be okay.'” —Horn Book
"Will he be kept down, or will he fight the system? Fight, of course! Saeed has woven an illuminating and inspiring companion to the popular Amal Unbound
(2018), giving readers a wonderfully detailed look at life in Pakistan. Readers will root for Omar and his friends, deflate when they are detoured, and rise with their successes. An excellent story of perseverance that resonates long after the last page." —Booklist
“Irresistibly appealing and genuinely inspiring—a story that helps us to see the world more clearly, and to see ourselves as powerful enough to change it.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award Winner When You Reach Me