It’s not always that a story is set in South East Asia and shows us the intricacies and wisdom of the people there. Right from the start, I loved the narrator, she had me wondering where she was and what dangers awaited her.
As story unfolded, I loved not just the narrator but many of the characters I met on the way. The Warden was such a beautiful soul and so were the inmates and guards. Isra stood out as a person I wanted to meet in real life.
Luchi, the protagonist is vulnerable, yet has to learn her strength. She is new to the outside world and the outside world to her. But she learns slowly to trust, to unravel the mysteries of this world that is ours, and she makes mistakes like all of us do. Sometimes we all trust a bit too much and sometimes we are too careful.
When I visited Bangkok the first time, my immediate response was – I know this place. This looks so familiar just like Chennai, the city I grew up in. It had the same spirit, the same busy-ness and the same chaos intertwined with an unseen pattern that worked. And anyone who hasn’t been in a big city before would be overwhelmed just like our Luchi. And she manages to find her way around although she is betrayed when least expecting it.
I grew up with a maxim that everything happens for a reason. And that’s exactly what I would tell Luchi if I had met her a corner shop in Bangkok. Because her dire situation take her closer to her final destination.
I loved the poetic quality of AJ Paquette’s language in this book. The descriptions and the story unfolded as if they were spun of silken words. My concern for Luchi kept me going.
I did want a bit more of the danger though. Luchi even though she does not know, has a safety net around her except when she starts walking on her own and towards the end and even then she gets a guardian angel. I think Paquette loved her so much that she didn’t put her in too much danger. As a reader, I wanted Luchi to be able to face the world on her own for a little longer. In this war-ravaged world, there are many such girls on their own, escaping camps or war zones and having to to survive on their own, and it would help them gain strength.
Nevertheless, it’s a story of adventure, of love, of families far and near, of families that are related by blood and not and more importantly of trust – trusting others and one’s own self. It’s a feel-good book for boys and girls with a sense of adventure. I’m sure it charms many readers as it charmed me.
I created a pinterest board with the floating market, just outside of Bangkok. It is still one of my favourite places since I visited it in 2005.
Here is an activity for all readers – can you create a pinterest board (or a cardboard collage) of all the places Luchi has visited in the story? Share it with us with the tag #ReadYourWorld.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.
MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli.
Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i