An Indian American girl navigates prejudice in her small town and learns the power of her own voice in this brilliant gem of a middle grade novel full of humor and heart, perfect for fans of Front Desk and Amina’s Voice.
As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian.
When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha.
To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school.
When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Midwest, Supriya Kelkar learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. She is a screenwriter who has worked on the writing teams for several Hindi films and one Hollywood feature. Supriya’s books include Ahimsa, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, American as Paneer Pie, and That Thing about Bollywood, among others. Visit her online at SupriyaKelkar.com.
“[A] charming novel [that] explores the complexity of immigration and identity.” —TeenVogue
“Addresses important issues of racism, colorism, and xenophobia through a well-drawn narrator whose political evolution is fascinating to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A tender depiction of a young girl navigating prejudice and finding ways to be her whole self in the process.” —SLJ
“Kelkar illuminates the need for voices raised against discrimination and paints a convincing portrait of a girl straddling two cultures.” —Publishers Weekly
“Succeeds valiantly at exposing the conflicted loyalties felt by many children of immigrants.” —Shelf Awareness
“A story that desi outcasts throughout the country can empathize with.” —Booklist