Tuesday, March 16, 2021

American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar - ADVISABLE

American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
, 311 pages. Simon and Schuster 2020 $18.00 

Language: G. Mature Content: G. Violence: PG. 



11yo Lekha is American, she's one of the strongest swimmers on her relay team, but she hates the bindi size freckle on her forehead, she doesn't like the way her classmates make fun of the food she brings for lunch, and she's never had a "sleepover friend." Noah lives next door, and they are best friends, but Lekha hopes that a girl moves into the neighborhood. Then, right across the street, Avantica moves in, not only a girl, but an Indian girl! Finally, a friend who understands her. But, it seems Avantica is everything Lekha is not: Avantica stands up to the bullies who tease her, she's proud of her Indian heritage, and she's brave. But when Lekha is confronted by a racist message directed at her family, she needs to decide if she is strong enough to speak up for what is right.

I loved all the cultural aspects of this story, Lekha's family dynamics are great, her parents, both immigrants from India, have differing perspectives on being American. Lekha both learns from Avantica about accepting her own culture around her school friends, while she teaches Avantica how to fit in at school. Political issues bring the town into the story as an election outcome changes attitudes about immigrants. Much of the drama with her girlfriends was so typical for middle school, trying to fit in with the popular crowd while still staying true to herself. The descriptions of racial violence were difficult to read, not because they were graphic but because they happened.

Lisa Librarian  

No comments: