Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing this book to me before it released this summer! I loved this #ownvoices story, and all of the messages shared throughout. I hope you enjoy my review and grab a copy at your local Indie or shop below!
An Indian-American girl who struggles to navigate her two very different lives: the one at home, where she can be herself, and the one at school, where she is teased for her culture. When a racist incident rocks her small town, she must decide to continue to remain silent or find her voice.
Supriya Kelkar has a way with her words, as it was so easy to connect with Lekha from the first few pages. Lehka is an Indian-American girl who feels like she can’t blend her two different lives together. She was born in the US, but her home life is 100% Desi. When she goes to school she doesn’t blend in, instead she is teased. A rude white boy named Liam calls her “Dot” because of her bindi birthmark. He also makes unruly remarks about her smell, and she just can’t seem to get away from him. Not only does she have problems at school with her culture, but she also does in her community. An anti-immigrant white lady is running for Congress and is known for her phrase “Don’t like it? LEAVE”. Lehka is always running into issues with finding her voice and her identity. What I love about this story is how Lehka slowly, but surely overcomes her identity struggles and finds the power of her voice. The beauty from seeing her from the beginning to the end is special. Kelkar has many cultural references that I know readers who can relate to Lehka will enjoy, and will even intrigue readers who may not know what bhel or paneer food is, or even Bollywood movies. I had to do some research throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it! This will be a great read for kids in 5th grade and up.
About the Author
Supriya grew up in the Midwest, where she learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. Winner of the New Visions Award for her middle grade novel AHIMSA, (Tu Books, 2017), Supriya is a screenwriter who has worked on the writing teams for several Hindi films, including Lage Raho Munnabhai and Eklavya: The Royal
Guard, India’s entry into the 2007 Academy Awards. She was an associate producer on the Hollywood feature, Broken Horses. Supriya’s books include AHIMSA, THE MANY COLORS OF HARPREET SINGH (Sterling, 2019), AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2020) STRONG AS FIRE, FIERCE AS FLAME (Tu Books, 2020), BINDU’S BINDIS (Sterling, 2021), and THAT THING ABOUT BOLLYWOOD (Simon and Schuster BFYR, 2021). Supriya is represented by Kathleen Rushall at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and Kim Yau at Echo Lake Entertainment for film/TV rights. Learn more at https://supriyakelkar.com/
What is one of your favorite #ownvoices middle grade novels? Share with me below!