Aruna's Journeys

Jyotsna Sreenivasan, Author, Merryl Winstein, Illustrator
Jyotsna Sreenivasan, Author, Merryl Winstein, Illustrator Smooth Stone Press $8.95 (136p) ISBN 978-0-9619401-7-1
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It has been almost seven years since Aruna's family left their native India for Ohio, and Aruna, now in sixth grade, is desperate to be a ""normal"" American. She wishes she looked more like her classmates and she envies her best friend's all-American home, complete with patchwork quilt on the wall, friendly pup under the table and apron-wearing Mom serving up homemade apple pie for an after-school snack. This lack of subtlety characterizes the book as a whole. Using Aruna's trip to visit relatives in India to interject descriptions of contemporary Indian ways and traditions, the author presents an awkward jumble of fact and fiction. The writing is further marred by jarring transitions and wooden dialogue. What Aruna learns in India-pride in her heritage; self-acceptance-is passed along to the reader without benefit of art: this book never escapes its didactic agenda. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)
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