Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two good reads

Okay . . . photo explanation required! The boys crammed their littlest stuffed animals into socks for some reason . . . I just can't remember what it was. :o) The second photo is Anya Rashi using two almost-empty Kleenex boxes for shoes. The last two are from a few weekends ago, when my sister Alicia visited. She stayed at a hotel so we could all swim, and Aaron and Nathan slept over at the hotel with her. (A very big deal for them!) She is a blast -- I hope she's able to come along to India for our second trip, even though returning to work at her clinic afterward was a brutal jet-lag experience!

On to the reading material . . . I just finished a book by Mitali Perkins called Monsoon Summer. It's designed for teen readers, but had a lot to offer for me as an outsider to Indian culture. The basic plot is about a family's summer spent at an orphanage in Pune. The mother was adopted by an American couple, and she is returning with her (somewhat reluctant) family to give back to the place that gave her so much.

This book is written from the viewpoint of the daughter, who, although her mother is Indian, looks more like her Caucasian dad, and feels like an outsider in Pune. There are lots of great observations about life in India, and it's the only book I've read by an Indian author that deals with the lingering issues about caste. It was worth reading if only for that, but also contains many good lessons about giving to others.

Mitali Perkins herself was born in Kolkata (which makes me fond of her already, since that's also Anya Rashi's birth city). Her family lived in Ghana, Cameroon, England and Mexico before emigrating to the United States. She now lives in Massachusetts, has two sons and is married to a minister. She has a web site featuring books about young people caught between two cultures: http://www.mitaliperkins.com/.

Another good "read" is something Amanda (another Dillon Intl. mom) shared with me -- it's a web site about having a multi-racial family. You can find it at http://multiracialsky.wordpress.com/. Although it's been a few months since she posted, there are some great posts, including one with a list of children's books that talk about different skin tones and cultural differences. Thanks, Amanda!


Amy said...

The pics are so cute! I love the imagination of a child :). Thanks for the book recommendation - I will have to check it out.

Loving Life said...

Nancy- Cute pictures. I love the children's examples of "Just being a kid"! I will have to check out that book. I am wanting to get the one called "Daughter of the
Ganges." Your daughter is such a cutie pie. Still waiting on referral!!! Gidget

Kristi W. said...

Your kids are so creative in their play! One day it would be fun to have all 8 of our kids play together. Maybe at India camp in a few years? :)

Is the book the same as the famous movie by the same title? The plot you described sounds totally different than the movie I saw. I'll definitely check that book out, and the website, too.


ColleenC said...

I read that book last summer and thought the same thing- good glimpses into Indian life (especially of the teenage girls!)

Love the creative kids pics! It's amazing how they spend their time when left to imagine, huh?!

CindyO. said...

I will be checking those books out. . Alicia looks like LOTS of fun..aunts are that way!!

LOVE the shoes and socks pictures!!

Candice said...

What sweet pics. I love my sisters too and my kids are crazy about their aunts! Thank you also for the book recommendation. I think I'm going to try to get it for my daughter to read. It sounds like something she would really enjoy.


Clint said...

Thanks so much Nancy...we are getting really excited. The pics you posted are so cute. Your children are precious.