Seema has spent the first twelve years of her life in India, living with her extended family. When she learns that she and her parents and her younger sister will be moving to Iowa City, she experiences countless changes, including leaving her cousins, aunt and uncle, and grandparents in India. What will the students in America think of Seema? Will Iowa and India have anything in common?
This book is a good way to introduce students to the concept of being open-minded, and to look at things from a fresh perspective. In addition to dealing with cultural changes, Seema gains insight about teasing and bullying, recognizing that she was unkind to a girl in India who was different from her other friends, and experiencing teasing from a new girl in her class. This is a simple discussion starter about the huge shifts people make when they move to new places.
This book is suited for advanced younger readers who can handle the vocabulary and concepts. There are no depressing themes, just a realistic depiction of how complete the change is--from weather to food to school expectations, as well as the struggle to communicate the differences to people who have not made the same change.
"The stars smiled like jewels in museums: I could see them and admire them, but could never touch them."
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