|Home is in between|
Author: Perkins, Mitali
Immigrating to America, a young girl navigates between her family's Bengali traditions and her new country's culture.
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/21)
School Library Journal (+) (03/01/21)
Booklist (+) (06/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/21)
The Hornbook (00/03/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2021 K-Gr 4—Perkins explores a child's experience of immigration in a sweet and child-friendly story presented in a beautifully illustrated package. Readers meet young Shanti, a girl with brown skin and black pigtails, as she and her parents leave their village in India and relocate to a "town" in the United States. Shanti moves back and forth between cultures, first skipping, then running, then trudging. These changing action words are a metaphor for the labor of navigating between two sides of one's self. Perkins shows cultural examples: the familiarities of the village carried over in food, music, and household habits, along with the new sports, language, and holidays of the town. A refrain repeats: "Remembering the village. Learning the town. Again and again. In between." There are endearing moments. Shanti makes a new friend quickly and enjoys learning with her about town life. But she also struggles with school, misses family, and is the target of microaggressions. The range of emotions shows on her face: excitement, longing, frustration, comfort, and defeat. Naidu's animated style, with bright popping colors, expands on what Perkins leaves untold in her short poetic stanzas and careful words. As the harshness and unfamiliarity of the winter melt away, Shanti feels the warmth of the spring and determines to make her home in a space between cultures. The book ends with a glossary of Bangla words, and an author's note about her own immigrant experience, and her framing of code switching and biculturalism as a gift and a superpower. VERDICT This book can serve as either a validating mirror or an illuminating window. A warm read-aloud, it is a must-purchase for all picture book collections.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge P.L., MA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2021 *Starred Review* Shanti and her parents leave their Bengali village and move to America, where everything seems strange at first: the town, the language, and the people. Shanti constantly shifts back and forth, firmly holding on to the familiar world of her Bengali family and their culture, while grasping to comprehend her new world of unfamiliar American customs and references. Not everyone is patient with her, but she makes two good friends. Becoming a language-and-culture interpreter for her parents, she sometimes feels isolated from both worlds and worn out by her efforts. But in the end, she’s able to bring together the best of both worlds, creating a space for herself and her parents within her new community. The book’s closing pages offer an author’s note and a useful glossary of Bengali terms. Reflecting the experiences of Perkins and many other immigrant children, this heartfelt picture book records the push/pull of remembering the old ways while learning the new ones. Lively and specific in its references, the writing sets up cultural dichotomies that work particularly well in expressive, richly colored artwork by Naidu, an Indian animator and illustrator. By shining a light on one girl’s story, this vibrant picture book illuminates the experience of many immigrant children. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.