Author: Schroder, Monika
Leaving his village in rural India to find a better education, mathematically gifted Akash ends up in New Delhi and faces life on the street, temptations of easy money, and learns whom he can trust.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 141052
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 52254
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/10)
School Library Journal (12/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (12/10)
The Hornbook (01/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2010 Set in contemporary India, this novel follows the fate of Akash, a poor village boy who has a tremendous gift for numbers and mathematics. Sent to labor to pay his family’s debt after his father’s death, he realizes the fruitlessness of his work and flees to Delhi. There he falls in with a group of street boys at the train station who do odd jobs to make a few rupees, all the while hoping eventually to attend a private school where he can study mathematics. Soon, though, his moneymaking efforts lead him down darker and more criminal paths, calling into question both his morals and his future. While the novel’s intention, to tell a hopeful story of a boy overcoming all odds, is sincere, the plot details are bogged down by contrivances that strip Akash’s tale of believability. The narrative development is somewhat shallow, and, aside from Akash, most of the characters serve simply to advance the lessons of the story rather than functioning as fully realized components of the tale. There is, however, a lot of appeal in watching how a boy who has lost everything redefines himself, and the novel’s strongest element is the contrast between Akash’s troubling pursuit of external means to reach his goal and his eventual realization of his need to be the person he wishes to be. Abundant cultural details will appeal to fans of international settings; a glossary of Hindu terms is included. HM - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 12/01/2010 In Rajasthan, India, 12-year-old Akash loves math, and he dreams of earning a scholarship to further his studies. After his father’s abrupt death, though, his grandmother sends him to work in a quarry to pay off the family’s deep debt. Quickly realizing that loan-shark interest rates will never allow his family to reduce what they owe, Akash escapes by sneaking onto a New Delhi-bound train. In the bewildering big city, he joins a group of street kids who feed themselves from garbage scraps and earn coins by collecting plastic bottles. Schröder, a German-born educator who now lives in India, frankly exposes the harsh realities of the street children’s world: many sniff corrective fluid for a cheap, brain-melting high, and even Akash tries selling drugs to make the quick money he needs to continue his education. Eventually, though, Akash begins to find real opportunities and support. With skillfully integrated cultural details (further explained in an appended glossary and author’s note) and a fully realized child’s story, Schröder presents a view, sobering and inspiring, of remarkably resilient young people surviving poverty without losing themselves. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2010 Gr 5–7—With his talent for math, 12-year-old Akash dreams of escaping his dreary existence by winning a school scholarship. He and his widowed father, Bapu, eke out a precarious existence with their extended family in rural Rajasthan, a drought-plagued region of India. After Bapu's death, Akash is sent to a quarry to work off his family's insurmountable debt. He runs away and ends up living in the New Delhi train station. He forages through trash heaps to find food, joins a group of homeless children, and moves from one perilous situation to the next. In one of the most harrowing episodes, he and a friend sell drugs for a dangerous drug lord. Akash's story is involving, yet the fast-paced plot outpaces character development, and the hopeful ending arrives abruptly. In an author's note, Schröder briefly describes the plight of street children in India; she also adds interest with references to Vedic math and Hindu gods. Despite its good intentions, Akash's story remains too thinly sketched to be memorable.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.