Blue Jasmine
by Sheth, Kashmira

Having moved away from her small Indian village to Iowa City, young Seema longs for her homeland and feels sad without her best friend and cousin by her side, but as time passes, Seema begins to assimilate and enjoy her new home while also staying connected to the native land she loves.

Gr. 5-8. When 12-year-old Seema, her sister, and parents leave India for Iowa City, she is surprised to receive a farewell gift from Mukta, a poor classmate. In the U.S. Seema makes friends but she struggles not only with American English and customs but also with Carrie, a classmate who mocks her. As Seema copes with Carrie, she regretfully recalls how her classmates had made fun of Mukta. A serious family illness pulls Seema's family back to India for a short stay and a chance to visit Mukta. Returning home to Iowa City, Seema realizes, "like an airplane attached to two shimmering wings, I was attached to two precious homes." Filled with details that document an immigrant's observations and experiences, Seema's story, which articulates the ache for distant home and family, will resonate with fellow immigrants and enlighten their classmates. A glossary of terms and expressions is appended, but most of the Gujarati words can be understood in context. ((Reviewed August 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

The comfortable and confident life 12-year-old Seema Trivedi enjoys in her upper-class neighborhood in India is altered by the family's move to an American middle-class suburban community. Everything is new and different for this tween who must adjust to American English, food, dress, culture, and school politics. Seema's classmates in both countries present parallel situations that illustrate the complexities of middle schoolers and their maturation. Mukta, the very poor Indian girl who lives in one room behind the family's snack shop, is constantly teased and misunderstood by both Seema and her cousin Raju. Seema's mistreatment in her American school by the new class bully, Carrie, is an awakening for her as she grows to understand and develop emotionally. Exposed to life in two worlds and from two positions in her peer groups, Seema acquires the ability to appreciate differences as she struggles to belong in both countries. New author Sheth writes from personal experience using descriptive language and a plethora of metaphors to emphasize her protagonist's feelings and view of circumstances and situations. A realistic emigration story told with empathy and sincerity. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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