Child of Spring

Farhana Zia. Peachtree, $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-56145-904-9
Basanta, an Indian girl balanced on the edge of childhood and young adulthood, narrates Zia’s second novel (after The Garden of My Imaan) with a vivacious voice. She lives in a hut in a small village with her parents and younger sister, begrudgingly working alongside her mother at the “Big House” as a servant. A keen observer, Basanta views the world as rich with imagery; her employer’s privileged daughter, Little Bibi, can be “fiery as a mango pickle,” while a jamun tree “rained down fat berries that splattered the ground with purple.” After finding a lost ring belonging to Little Bibi, Basanta decides to keep it for herself. Guilt gives her a “worried heart,” and she slowly matures, using her good fortune to help less fortunate friends who often go hungry. While the plot moves a bit too rapidly and feels overstuffed with characters, Zia delicately explores themes of developing a sense of morality, learning the value of hard work, recognizing inequality, and empathizing with others. The author smoothly incorporates Hindi words and phrases into Basanta’s narrative and also includes a glossary. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/22/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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