Ah, another episode of We Recommend, in which we attempt to match kids up with their absolutely perfect book. Got a kid in your life who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good options are in the comments, so be sure to look there!
We're catching up! We're catching up! We're…well, we're not totally caught up, but we are trying, so that's something. And don't let that put you off writing in: we love getting the requests. We're just a little slow lately.
This is the first of two exciting international requests, so go grab yourself an atlas and pay attention, as this one is complex:
My husband's sister was invited to a wedding in India and offered to take my daughter as a 10th birthday present!
I am thinking about books in 2 ways:
1) To give her some insight into the place she is going, but doesn't know much about
2) To help her through the LONG plane ride and airport layovers.
For 1) I am thinking both of books that might give her some historical context and those with present day settings.
For 2) I would also consider audiobooks, as she has an iPod she will be taking (and can hopefully recharge!)
She has already read (and loved) Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Secret Garden, Little Princess, and The Borrowers (so some knowledge of Empire India, but only as a hot plagued place where the characters of those last 3 books came from before making it to God's Country, UK.)
She mostly reads fiction, but I think she could read good narrative nonfiction as she likes historical fiction. She enjoys mystery and fantasy, but not anything she thinks will be too dark or scary. She currently can't put down Flygirl, about an African-American woman trying to pass for white so that she can fly in the women's flight corp in WW2 and also just raved about Nature Girl (city girl on Appalachian trail–or at least I think that's how she described it.)
And don't know if it matters, but she will be in Delhi and Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
OK, take a moment to get over your jealousy (or is it just me?). And another moment to dwell on how completely excellent Haroun and the Sea of Stories is. We love that book.
Good. Now let's think about this.
My first thought was sort of embarrassing: there was this series of books from (gulp) American Girl called Girls of Many Lands, and one of them was about India. Neela: Victory Song. It's about the birth of Indian independence. And the truth is, it was very well researched and thought out and all of that, and it would be fine—but I can't quite stomach offering up something that is so very product-like.
Thus I am left to face my own terrifying lack of awareness about international children's publishing. Indian writers? There must be many, but I know nothing. NOTHING.
Luckily, I am able to rely on Diana, who cheerfully said, "I know! Young Warriors!"
Two of the stories, she informs me, take place in India. All the stories, she assures me, are excellent. And girls, and adventure, and AWESOMENESS.
But it's a long flight, people. We'll be needing this plus approximately 50 more (20?) to keep this kid happy (and a bunch of them should be audio books, as she noted). What do you have? Put 'em in the comments.