Kashmira Sheth, Author . Hyperion $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1855-6

In this delicate, introspective debut novel, narrator Seema describes her assimilation to America, capturing the distinct flavors of two different cultures while celebrating the unifying force of friendship. The sixth-grader experiences a typical mixture of excitement and anxiety when she learns that her family will be moving from India to Iowa. She is sad to be leaving her extended family and knows she will miss her classmates, especially Mukta, an impoverished student whom Seema befriends shortly before her departure. As she struggles to fit in with the American girls at her new school, Seema comes to understand how Mukta must have felt as an outsider. The girl suffers through the taunts of a classmate who insults Seema for bringing Indian food in her sack lunch and wearing dandelions in her hair. Still, she remains open and curious, absorbing new wonders, such as the hyacinth flower (she calls blue jasmine) that reminds her of home. Sheth deftly traces the stages of her heroine's emotional development and her expanding perspective of the world. By the end of the novel, when Seema returns to India for a visit, she realizes that no matter how many changes she goes through over the years, she will always keep a piece of her past in her heart. Ages 9-12. (July)

Reviewed on: 08/23/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-6661-4
Paperback - 186 pages - 978-0-7868-5565-0
Paperback - 162 pages - 978-0-7867-5471-7
Ebook - 90 pages - 978-0-7867-5472-4
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