|American as paneer pie|
Author: Kelkar, Supriya
When a racist incident rocks her small Michigan town, eleven-year-old Lekha must decide whether to speak up or stay silent, even as she struggles to navigate her life at home, where she can be herself, and at school, where she is teased about her culture.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 508739
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/20)
School Library Journal (00/04/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Kelkar depicts the life of Lehka, an 11-year-old Indian American girl navigating two worlds with heart and compassion. As "Home Lehka," she lives with her parents in a suburb of Detroit, where her family is the only Indian American family in the neighborhood. Her best friend and neighbor, Noah, is appreciative of Lehka's culture and the flavorful food her family enjoys. But as "School Lehka," her voice is absent. She allows teachers and students to mispronounce her name and to make disrespectful comments about her heritage. When a new Indian American family—with a daughter Lehka's age—moves to her neighborhood, she is thrilled, assuming that her new friend Avantika will also prefer to keep her two identities separate. But Avantika confidently talks about her family and traditions, even at school, and Lehka is simultaneously inspired and confused. As she begins taking tentative steps toward speaking up about what matters to her, a classroom assignment to write an opinion piece becomes the catalyst for embracing her identity. Secondary plots and minor characters enrich the story of a girl striving to find her voice, especially in scenes involving Lehka's swim team and a touching moment in which Lehka speaks out about what it means to be American. VERDICT Filled with references to Lehka's rich culture, this title is a tender depiction of a young girl navigating prejudice and finding ways to be her whole self in the process.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2020 Eleven-year-old Lekha doesn't think she has a lot going for her, especially not when being Indian in her part of Detroit feels unsafe and when there's a bindi birthmark on her forehead begging to be used as a marker for ignorant remarks. When Avantika, another Indian girl Lekha's age, moves into the neighborhood with her family, Lekha feels burdened with having to befriend her. Although she is a new immigrant, Avantika proves to be nothing like Lekha expects. Kelkar (Ahimsa, 2017; The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, 2019) has written a story that desi outcasts throughout the country can empathize with. Lekha easily succumbs to peer pressure, supporting the ongoing theme that silence is the same as complacency in the face of racism and microaggression. While depictions of food and Hindu celebration are informative, excessive description and some confusing stitching of the story to Lekha's narration bog down the book. Nonetheless, Avantika brings out the best in Lekha, and Lekha's evolution, though slow, is as sweet as burfi. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 04/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.