Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea

Hardcover Jacket
978-1-77138-720-0 | May 1, 2018 List Price:
USD $18.99, CAD $19.99

4-color • 9 x 12 • 32 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12

It’s monsoon season in Bangladesh, which means Iqbal’s mother must cook the family’s meals indoors, over an open fire. The smoke from the fire makes breathing difficult for his mother and baby sister, and it’s even making them sick. Hearing them coughing at night worries Iqbal. So when he learns that his school’s upcoming science fair has the theme of sustainability, Iqbal comes up with the perfect idea for his entry: he'll design a stove that doesn’t produce smoke! With help from his teacher, Iqbal learns all about solar energy cooking, which uses heat from the sun to cook — ingenious! Has Iqbal found a way to win first prize in the science fair while providing cleaner air and better health for his family at the same time?

Award-winning author Elizabeth Suneby’s thoroughly researched and inspiring story introduces young children to the problems associated with open-flame cooking in the developing world, as well as background information on sustainable technology. Part of the CitizenKid collection, this book uses the common experience of a science fair project to help children recognize that they, too, can help make the world a better place through innovative thinking and creative problem solving. The artwork by Rebecca Green, filled with details of everyday life in a Bangladesh village, beautifully evokes a sense of place and culture. Iqbal offers a perfect example for the character education subject of initiative. End matter includes information about clean cookstoves, a DIY solar cooker activity and a glossary.


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Educational Resources


Cultures, Local & Global Community


Guided Reading
Guided Reading Grade Level
Lexile Level



pollution   environment   health   sustainability   diversity   invention   family   sibling relationship   Bangladesh   technology   science fair


Teaching Guide

Reviews & Awards


“… informative …”
Booklist, March 2018

“Deftly promotes a positive message about embracing and harnessing one’s curiosity and intelligence to make a difference.”
Kirkus Reviews, February 2018

“An excellent example of how children can apply science to problem solving.”
School Library Journal, March 2018

“… another successful entry in this series of encouraging stories about children empowered by education and engaged in problem-solving in their communities.”
Publishers Weekly, March 2018

“Iqbal’s story is great fun and comes with pearls of both cultural and environmental insights. Bravo to Iqbal for his ingenious idea. And kudos to Suneby and Green for raising awareness about solar cookers. I have seen first hand what a tremendous difference they make.”
— Khaled Hosseini, internationally acclaimed author, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and former refugee, May 2018

“… a heart warming story about a child’s resourcefulness supported by family love and school support.”
Resource Links, October 2018

“… enjoyable …”
CM Magazine, November 2018

“Iqbal’s story is steeped in the customs and language of Bangladesh while celebrating universal human qualities such as curiosity and ingenuity.”
Science Magazine, December 2018


2019 Children’s Science Picture Book Award, AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize, Winner
2019 Green Earth Book Award, The Nature Generation, Short-listed
2019 Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Listed
2019 South Asia Book Award, The South Asia National Outreach Consortium, Honor Book
2019 Skipping Stones Honor List, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner