A grandma tells her granddaughter her story. Her story of how she mustered the courage to participate in a protest for equal rights for blacks, her desire to eat from a restaurant that served only the white people, but being turned away even though she had the money.
Deeply ingrained in my mind, the 1960s is post Independence in India when we as a country were trying to forge ahead. This book made me take note of something that was happening at the same time in another part of the world. People of a certain race were trying to do the same, to forge ahead. They were fighting for equal opportunities and to be treated like anyone else. An issue that exists to this day across the world, viewed from a child's perspective, is what this book is about.
You will find the blurb here.
Here is why it is important for children to read and talk about this book
Suitable for any one in the 10+ age group, this story narrated by a 10 year old offers plenty in terms of friendships, empathy towards others and above all the joy in being able to make a choice for oneself. The writing style presents the facts and leaves to the reader to contemplate and form opinions. It also shows beautifully how the grass may look greener on the other side, but in reality that may not be the case after all.
Yet another example of how when a common cause brings people together, there is power in unity.
Fighting for what one believes in is often not easy. It is easier to accept and stay away. But what makes some people stand up and raise their voices for what they believe is right? What gives them the strength to hold on no matter what and forge ahead without giving up? Indian history gives us numerous examples of such men and women. Children's books have also showcased children being brave and being a part of the fight for India's freedom. Fine books to read in this category if you haven't already are:
The Chowpatty Cooking Club by Lubaina Bandukwala
Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar
That year at Manikoil by Aditi Krishnakumar
Talking about these books is paramount
Young minds are impressionable. Readers who read these books are likely to have questions, thoughts and perhaps even have strong reactions which need to be talked about. Talking about if and how times have changed, if there has been a change or a status quo somewhere and so on are important discussions that will go a long way in shaping young minds.
Bringing to the forefront, emotions such as courage, fear, the feeling of loss, fear of losing someone in a fight for justice, above all the futility of war and so on, is what these brilliant authors have strived to do in their marvellous work.
The seed is right there waiting to be picked up and sown. Will you dear reader find the right book for your child, read and discuss it with them?
Do drop in notes of your reading experiences. Your experience might just help another parent.
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