In the last month or so, I have had the pleasure of reading several stories written by very promising authors who are younger than one might expect. These ambitious girls love reading and have bravely ventured into the world of authorship as they bring their own stories to life.
One such notable story is Chasing Wind by teen author Kaira Karmakar. This is the story of twelve-year-old Siya Mehta, a girl who has lived most of her life in the bustling metropolis of Delhi, India. When her parents go to Europe for business, Siya gets to spend two weeks with her Nanni in the mountain town of Bundla. While there, Siya meets a girl named Pari and is introduced to a calmer, more connected way of life. As she becomes more comfortable getting dirty and stepping outside of her comfort zone, Siya emerges from her visit with a deeper world view than she had when she arrived. Please see my full review here.
This enjoyable story is, on its surface, a coming-of-age tale about a young girl who learns more about herself and the world through an extended visit with her grandmother. Looking deeper, though, there are conversations about class differentiation and how financial barriers can impact life in myriad ways. Siya comes from a well-off family that employs a housekeeper, a cook, and a driver; Pari’s parents work for Siya’s grandmother and even the act of losing a shoe is unthinkable. Whether or not readers are aware of the social dynamics within India, this story depicts the learning that can take place when bridging socioeconomic gaps in any society.
Though I’ve never been to India myself, this story does a great job of incorporating Indian culture, food, and lifestyle into the narrative. Visuals of easily accessible fruit trees, monkeys who interact with humans in their shared natural habitat, and vibrant celebrations and marketplaces abound, immersing readers in the story no matter their background. The flavors of cardamom, ginger, and curry made me want to go out and get Indian food to enjoy while reading this book.
This middle-grade story is a delightful read for young women who are navigating the challenges that accompany adolescence. What a promising start for this young author! I hope you get a chance to read it.
Do you know another great book I should feature in my blog? Message me here and let me know!