Monday, January 27, 2014

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah for Middle Grade Monday

Middle Grade Monday rolls around every week, funny how that works, and this time I have a lovely find.  The new reality of families that represent many different cultures, as well as different religions is certainly prevalent in my community.  I also think it is growing throughout many communities as our world becomes smaller and our hearts become bigger.

It was a treat to find a book that looked at not only the merging of a Caucasian and Indian couple but also at the merging of a Jewish and a Hindi family.  As children and adults become exposed to more cultures within their own traditions, they must learn to appreciate and respect what everyone brings to the table and figure out how to make it all work.  This book is a delightful place to watch one girl wrestle with these many teachings that make her who she is.

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Title:       My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Author:   Paula Freedman

Target:    Grade 5-8

Series:     No

What this book is about: 
Tara’s mother is Indian and her father is a New York Jew.  This is the year of her Bat Mitzvah and Tara is questioning what it means to be Jewish.  Is she really Jewish if her mother is Indian?  How can she honor her Jewish heritage without taking anything away from the Indian customs she knows and loves?  And do you absolutely have to be sure you believe in God if you go through with your Bat Mitzvah?  Oh, and let’s not forget her friends, and did I mention boys?

Why I love this book: 
I was absolutely intrigued by this book.  I have quite a few friends whose families are multicultural as well as friends where one parent is Jewish.  I thought this book was a lovely portrayal of the questions and challenges kids face, as well as the benefits and joys of sharing so many traditions.  I loved Tara’s uncertainties because I think they will reflect some of the real feelings kids have.  Even if your child is not facing these issues, some of their own uncertainties about friends who are in this situation will be addressed.

But fear not, this book is not just about bigger life questions.  Tara also has friend troubles and boys to contend with.  The author does not forget that Tara is in seventh grade and that your BFF is sometimes the most important issue in your world.

Who this book is for:
Great book for girls who like realistic fiction.  The story moves along nicely and all girls will see something of themselves in the book

Final thoughts:
I definitely needed the Hindi-Hebrew-Yiddish-English Vocabulary Guide in the back of the book.  Thankful there won’t be a quiz later.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.

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