Child labor and animal cruelty don't make for easy reading, but this book will grab onto a reader's heart and compel her to keep reading.
This story of a young boy forced by family circumstances to travel far from home for work will expose most readers to a foreign world. Not just the fact that it's set in India, but that child labor is so unheard of to most middle schoolers.
Share this with fans of The One and Only Ivan, as they will root for Nandita the circus elephant. Appropriate for grades 6 and up. There's a brief explanation of child labor and animal cruelty laws in India, with an acknowledgement that laws there, and in any country, are sometimes ignored.