Monday, February 21, 2011

Saraswati's Way - Monika Schroeder

Publisher:  Farrar, Straus & Girous
Pages:  240
Source:  Received a review copy
Genre:  Young Adult Realistic Fiction

The main character, Akash, is every math teacher's dream student.  He loves math and has a gift for it.  Unlike here in the United States where students can get a free education, Akash must have a scholarship to continue going to school.  His tutor has taught him all he knows.  Akash is not going to fool himself.  He knows they don't have the money.  His father works hard to support all of them.  That includes his grandmother and his uncle who is addicted to opium and gambles away their money.  The money goes as fast as Akash's father makes it.  When the father dies Akash find the farm owner knocking on their door demanding the back rent.  The grandmother sends Akash to work in the quarry.  Akash figures there is a better way for him to make money and use his math skills.  He runs away to New Delhi to make his fortune.  It is very difficult for him there.  He is a street kid and has two options.  He can make quick money dishonestly or he can find honest work and make it slower.  This is an internal struggle that only he can choose.  So what does he do?  He prays to the Hindu goddess Saraswati asking for guidance. You'll need to read the book to see what he decides to do.  This is a great book to have in your classroom to teach multicultural issues.  I would recommend this to upper middle graders and up.  There is quite a bit of mature material in it.  It needs to be there because these types of activities happen in real life but it is pretty mature for the younger crow.  I gladly place this book on my shelves.

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