Synopses & Reviews
When twelve-year-old Seema Trivedi learns that she and her family must move from their small Indian town to Iowa City, she realizes she'll have to say good-bye to the purple-jeweled mango trees and sweet-smelling jasmine, to the monsoon rains and the bustling market. More important, she must leave behind her best friend and cousin, Raju. Everything is different in Iowa City, where Seema feels like an outsider to the language and traditions. As she begins to plant roots in the foreign soil, however, her confidence starts to bloom, and she learns she can build a bridge between two homes. With lyrical language and poignant scenes, Kashmira Sheth unearths the meaning of "home" and "family" in this tender debut novel. Kashmira Sheth's own experiences as a teenager who moved by herself from India to America inspired her to write this novel. She is a microbiologist and lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.
"In this delicate, introspective debut novel, narrator Seema describes her assimilation to America, capturing the distinct flavors of two different cultures while celebrating the unifying force of friendship. The sixth-grader experiences a typical mixture of excitement and anxiety when she learns that her family will be moving from India to Iowa. She is sad to be leaving her extended family and knows she will miss her classmates, especially Mukta, an impoverished student whom Seema befriends shortly before her departure. As she struggles to fit in with the American girls at her new school, Seema comes to understand how Mukta must have felt as an outsider. The girl suffers through the taunts of a classmate who insults Seema for bringing Indian food in her sack lunch and wearing dandelions in her hair. Still, she remains open and curious, absorbing new wonders, such as the hyacinth flower (she calls blue jasmine) that reminds her of home. Sheth deftly traces the stages of her heroine's emotional development and her expanding perspective of the world. By the end of the novel, when Seema returns to India for a visit, she realizes that no matter how many changes she goes through over the years, she will always keep a piece of her past in her heart. Ages 9-12. (July) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
With lyrical language and poignant scenes, Sheth unearths the meaning of "home" and "family" in this tender debut novel based on her own experiences as a teenager who moved by herself from India to America.