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READING SUGGESTIONS FOR GRADES 5 - 12
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2012)
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer, gravity is affected, and the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life.
Ashfall by Mike Mullin (2011)
After the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano destroys his city and its surroundings, 15 year old Alex must journey from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Illinois to find his parents and sister, trying to survive in a transformed landscape and a new society in which all the old rules of living have vanished.
Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami (2004)
Three Indian-British sisters team up to marry off their traditional, nosy aunt and get her out of the house.
Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth (2004)
12 year old Seema moves from India to Iowa City and struggles to learn a new culture. When her grandmother falls ill and she visits India gain, circumstances help her understand the meaning of “home” and how it is possible to have more than one.
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (2002)
17 year old Dimple, whose family is from India, discovers that she is not Indian enough for the Indians and not American enough for the Americans, as she sees her hypnotically beautiful, manipulative best friend taking possession of both her heritage and the boy she likes.
Buddha by Demi (1996)
Demi's exquisite illustrations, inspired by the paintings and sculptures of several Asian cultures, are layered with meaning; each brush stroke has a special significance. Demi, herself a Buddhist, brings her devotion to the teachings of the Buddha and her vast knowledge of his life to this comprehensive picture-book biography of an extraordinary spiritual leader.
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales / retold and illustrated by Marcia Williams (2007)
A retelling in comic strip from of Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous work in which a group of pilgrims in 14th century England tell each other stories as they travel on a pilgrimage to the cathedral at Canterbury.
The Conch Bearer (Brotherhood of the Conch, Book 1) by Chitra Divakaruni (2003)
The story opens in a poor section of Kolkata, where 12-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell imbued with mystical powers. Anand’s task is to return the shell to its rightful home high in the mountains. Will he succeed? Accompanied by a mysterious stranger and a resourceful street urchin, Anand will encounter good and evil – both in him and in those around him. Anand will encounter good and evil – both in him and in those around him.
Dalai Lama by Demi (1998)
The work of the Dalai Lama and the fate of Tibet are topics of ever-growing international focus. In simple language and glorious art, Demi pays tribute to the fourteenth Dalai Lama's remarkable life. She captures the beauty of Tibetan culture, as well as the charm, talent, and vision of one of the world's best-known spiritual figures.
Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret (1996)
When an earthquake hits the isolated island in northern California where his family had been camping, 12 year old Jonathan must find a way to keep himself, his partially paralyzed younger sister, and their dog alive until help arrives.
Gandhi by Demi (2001)
In beautiful language and exquisite illustrations inspired by Gandhi's own belief in the simplicity and truth of life, Demi captures the spirit that was Mahatma Gandhi and pays homage to this great man.
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (2011)
11 year old Dini loves movies, and so when she learns that her family is moving to India for 2 years, her devastation over leaving her best friend in Maryland is tempered by the possibility of meeting her favorite actress, Dolly Singh.
Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folk Tale by Chitra Divakaruni. Illustrations by Susy Pilgrim Waters (on sale March 5, 2013)
Once upon a time, in a little village in India, there lived an old woman. Everyone in the village called her Grandma. One day, Grandma received a letter from her daughter, who lived on the other side of the jungle. "Please come and visit me," said the letter. "I haven't seen you in so long. I miss you." And so, Grandma begins a perilous journey to the far side of the jungle. Can she use her keen wit to escape the jungle animals and make it safely home?
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (2000)
When 13 year old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find the courage to oppose it.
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (2012)
Raised by an unstable father who keeps the family constantly on the move, Sam Border hasn't been in a classroom since the second grade. He's always been the rock for his younger brother Riddle, who stopped speaking long ago and instead makes sense of the world through his strange and intricate drawings. It's said that the two boys speak with one voice--and that voice is Sam's. Then, Sam meets Emily Bell, and everything changes. The two shares an immediate and intense attraction, and soon Sam and Riddle find themselves welcomed into the Bell's home. Faced with normalcy for the first time, they know it's too good to last.
In Darkness by Nick Lake (2012)
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, 15 year old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin, and of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who liberated Haiti form French rule in 1804.
Indian Tales by Shenaaz Nanji (2007)
Venture to a country that is bursting with color, life and contrasts in these lively folk tales. The eight stories in this anthology, each from a different Indian state, feature educational facts and information about the cultures from which they are chosen.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011)
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.
Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)
Accounts of a courageous youngster and formidable creatures of the Indian jungle abound in this series of 14 imaginative tales. Mowgli, a boy raised by a wolf pack, learns the lore of the jungle from its inhabitants; Rikki-tikki-tavi, a brave mongoose, defeats a deadly cobra; and more.
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1902)
Fanciful explanations that delight both young and old, of how some curious things came to be, including stories of how the elephant got his trunk, how the camel got his hump, and how the alphabet was invented.
The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (2006)
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sumatra, two teenagers, American Sarah and Acehnese Ruslan, meet and continue together their arduous climb inland, where Ruslan hopes to find his father and Sarah seeks a doctor for her brother.
The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (2011)
When high school senior Asha Jamison is called a “towel head” at a pool party, she and her best friend Carey start a club to raise awareness of mixed-race students that soon sweeps the country, but the hubbub puts her Ivy League dreams, friendship, and beliefs to the test.
Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee (2005)
Maya, a Canadian of East Indian descent, struggles with her ethnic identity, infatuation with a classmate, and the presence of her beautiful Bengali cousin, Pinky, who comes for a visit bearing a powerful statue of the god Ganesh, the Hindu elephant boy.
The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming (Brotherhood of the Conch, Book 2) by Chitra Divakaruni (2005)
In a pristine valley hidden in the Himalayas, Anand has a disturbing vision. His mentor and spiritual guide, the Master Healer Abhaydatta, is apparently in grave danger. What should he do? If he conveys this information to his elders, he’ll waste precious time. But is it wise to take matters into his own hands? Anand makes his choice and embarks on a spectacular adventure that takes him not only across contemporary India but also several hundred years into the past to the time of the Moghul rulers. There he encounters powerful sorcerers, a haughty and arrogant prince, and a jinni capable of unspeakable magic.
Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkens (2004)
Jasmine “Jazz” Gardner heads off to India during the monsoon season. The family trip is her mother’s doing: Mrs. Gardner wants to volunteer at the orphanage that cared for her when she was young. But going to India isn’t Jazz’s idea of a great summer vacation. She wants no part of her mother’s do-gooder endeavors.
My Mother’s Sari by Sandhya Rao (2006)
One long stretch of cloth is what Mother always wears—elegant yet so graceful. The mystery of the sari can be magic for a child, winding and weaving, just like the connection between a child and its mother. The style, the motifs, the interplay of children, colors, and textures, create the rich, mood-filled, and dreamy world of My Mother's Sari.
Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami (2004)
When Maya accompanies her mother to India to sell her grandfather’s house; she uncovers family history relating to her parents’ divorce and learns more about herself and her relationship with her mother
Neela: Victory Song (Girls of Many Lands) by Chitra Divakaruni (2002)
It is 1939, and 12-year-old Neela Sen and her family are preparing for the wedding of Neela’s older sister. Neela knows her parents will soon be arranging a betrothal for her, too. She is far more interested in thinking about other things, including India’s growing movement for independence from Great Britain. When her father is jailed following a march against British rule, Neela takes matters into her own hands and goes to Calcutta to find him.
Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury (2007)
In 1975, eleven Boy Scouts, their leaders, and some new friends camping at Halape, Hawaii, find their survival skills put to the test when a massive earthquake strikes, followed by a tsunami.
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi (1997)
It's the story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time--and to teach a greedy raja a lesson.
Sea by Heidi R. Kling (2010)
Despite recurring nightmares about her mother’s death and her own fear of flying, 15 year old Sienna accepts her father’s birthday gift to fly to Indonesia with his team of disaster relief workers to help victims of a recent t tsunami, never suspecting that this experience will change her life forever.
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins (2009)
In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Asha, a tomboy at the advanced age of 16, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Ashi hates.
Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh (2009)
When the world begins to seem unbalanced, Mama Inez calls 10 storytellers to the Serendipity Market and, through the power of their magical tales, the balance of the world is corrected once again.
Shadowland (Brotherhood of the Conch, Book 3) by Chitra Divakaruni (2009)
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (2009)
When Anand’s beloved Conch goes missing, leaving behind it a devastated Silver Valley, he is forced to travel into a dystopian world to retrieve it—a world where the air and water have been so severely corrupted that the upper classes live in luxury under hermetically sealed domes, while the lower classes struggle to survive. Together with his friend Nisha, Anand embarks on what may be his most dangerous mission in his attempt to restore the conch to its rightful place, and his home to its original splendor. Ecological and class issues come to a dramatic head in this final Brotherhood of the Conch novel.
In the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Samar, who is of Punjabi heritage but has been raised with no knowledge of her past by her single mother, wants to learn about her family’s history and to get in touch with the grandparents her mother shuns.
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai (2010)
Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven year old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind.
Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan (2011)
In 1919, independent-minded 15 year old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in love with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent “home” to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.
The Surge by Roland Smith (2011)
After barely surviving a terrifying hurricane, Chase and his friends Nicole and Rashawn have made it to the safety of Nicole’s family farm, which is also the winter home of the Rossi Brothers Circus, where flood waters are rising and dangerous circus animals are on the loose.
Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis (2008)
Sold to be the 8th wife of a rich and cruel merchant, Safia, also called Raka, tries to escape her fate by telling stories of Farhad the thief, his companion Nitish the white tiger, and their travels across India to retrieve a famous jewel that will save a kidnapped princess from becoming the bride of a demon king.
Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck (2011)
17 year old Oregon teenager Kelsey forms a bond with a circus tiger who is actually one of two brothers, Indian princes Ren and Kishan, who were cursed to live as tigers for eternity, and she travels with him to India where the tiger’s curse may be broken once and for all.
Trapped by Michael Northrop (2011)
Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a week-long blizzard that shuts down the power and heat, freezes the pipes, and leaves them wondering if they will survive.
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (2012)
16 year old Kaelyn challenges her fears, finds a second chance at love, and fights to keep her family and friends safe as a deadly new virus devastates her island community.
Young Uncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh (2004)
In a small town in northern India, three siblings await their father's youngest brother. They have heard many stories about Young uncle, so when he arrives, nine-year-old Sarita, seven-year-old Ravi, and the baby know their lives will be changed. From feeding a tiger spinach-paneer to charming an angry tree ghost, Young uncle's adventures are as humorous and unusual as he is.
READING SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULT READERS
Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
Sethe, the novel’s protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (2012)
When Dr. Ravi Kapoor’s cousin sets up a retirement home in India, Ravi’s father-in-law is one of its first guests, but what the renovation lacks in promised amenities and luxury, it makes up for in adventure, stunning beauty, and unexpected love.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2007)
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1989)
Chaucer’s famous work in which a group of pilgrims in 14th century England tell each other stories as they travel on a pilgrimage to the cathedral at Canterbury.
City of Refuge by Tom Piazza (2008)
Uprooted from their New Orleans homes by Hurricane Katrina, the Donaldson and Williams families – one black, the other white – make their way to Houston and share disparate experiences trying to rebuild their lives.
Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee (2002)
Chronicles the journeys of three women as they follow divergent paths from their home in Calcutta and a rigid Indian society to seek new lives for themselves on two separate continents.
Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan (2008)
The lives of 6 year old Aasha Rajasekharan and her prosperous family are turned upside down by the death of her grandmother and the departure of her older sister, Uma, for Columbia University, in a saga of one immigrant family’s secrets and lies.
A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian (2008)
Successful anesthesiologist Neel hopes to resist his family’s pleas that he marries a proper woman during a visit home to India, while jaded 30 year old teacher Leila anticipates her latest suitor without high hopes.
Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James (2009)
Winning a scholarship to a prestigious school in New York, Anju leaves her sister behind in Kerala, India, and enters the elite world of her Hindu American host family.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (2012)
Katherine Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbai’s International Airport. From within this “sumpy plug of slum” Boo unearths stories both tragic and poignant--about residents’ efforts to raise families, earn a living, or simply survive. These unforgettable characters all nurture far-fetched dreams of a better life.
The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jhar (2000)
A Calcutta man whose sister has just died during childbirth keeps the child overnight awaiting the arrival of her adoptive parents, and as the evening progresses, he scrawls stories of her biological family on a blue bedspread.
The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (2001)
In a stirring novel that incorporates elements of Hindu mythology, an apartment building becomes a metaphor for the divisions and cultural clashes of modern India.
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1349)
In the early summer of the year 1348, as a terrible plague ravages the city, ten charming young Florentines take refuge in country villas to tell each other stories—a hundred stories of love, adventure and surprising twists of fortune which later inspired Chaucer, Keats and Shakespeare. While Dante is a stern moralist, Boccaccio has little time for chastity, pokes fun at crafty, hypocritical clerics and celebrates the power of passion to overcome obstacles and social divisions. Like the Divine Comedy, the Decameron is a towering monument of medieval pre-Renaissance literature, and incorporates certain important elements that are not at once apparent to today's readers. In a new introduction to this revised edition, which also includes additional explanatory notes, maps, bibliography and indexes, Professor McWilliam shows us Boccaccio for what he is—one of the world's greatest masters of vivid and exciting prose fiction.
Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai (2000)
The story of Uma, the plain older daughter of an Indian family, tied to the household of her childhood and tending to her parents’ every extravagant demand, and of her younger brother, Arun, across the world in Massachusetts, bewildered by his new life in college and the suburbs, where he lives with the Patton family.
For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani (2003)
Unable to find a husband despite the efforts of friends, fortune-tellers, and matchmakers, 33 year old Anju, confronted by her family’s shame, obtains their permission to leave Bombay to look for a husband in the United States.
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew (2008)
The lives of 2 families living on the outskirts of Istanbul are changed by a massive earthquake that brings them together in a dangerous intimacy in which forbidden love blossoms between Irem, a Kurdish Muslim girl, and Dylan, a young American.
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (2008)
A gifted, 14 year old India-born math prodigy, Rumi Vashey, becomes the object of her parents’ fierce campaign to make her one of the youngest students ever to attend Oxford University, but as an adolescent, she begins to rebel against her parents’ expectations and the hours of rigid daily study to seek out friendship and romance.
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair (2011)
When Rakhee Singh is 10 years old; her mother takes her from their Minnesota home to visit relatives in India. There she discovers a family secret that will haunt her. Only as a woman on the verge of marriage does Rakhee find the strength to confront the events of that summer and face the price of secrets.
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (2010)
Emigrating with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, Kimberly Chang begins a secret double life as an exceptional schoolgirl during the day and sweatshop worker at night, an existence also marked by her first crush and the pressure to save her family from poverty.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (1984)
Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)
Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.
The Konkans by Tony D’Souza (2008)
Francisco D’Sai, the son of a Konkan father, Lawrence, and an American mother, Denise, grows up surrounded by the colorful tales of India and Konkan history, stories that give him a profound sense of his heritage and its meaning in his life.
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (2012)
Forced into an overcrowded lifeboat after a mysterious explosion on their trans-Atlantic ocean liner, newly widowed Grace Winter battles the elements and her fellow survivors and remembers her husband, Henry, who set his own safety aside to ensure Grace’s.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)
Possessing encyclopedia-like intelligence, unusual zookeeper’s son Pi Patel sets sail for America, but when the ship sinks, he escapes on a life boat and is lost at sea with a dwindling number of animals until only he and hungry Bengal tiger remain.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (1989)
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter-to-be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story.
Little Bee by Chris Cleave (2009)
A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers – one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London.
The Loss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan (2008)
Brings to life a profoundly exotic yet utterly recognizable family in the midst of social upheaval in a story that spans the lifetime of one woman in a Brahmin household from 1896 through 1962, in a novel inspired by the author’s grandmother’s stories.
Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra (1997)
Vikram Chandra offers five ingeniously linked stories--a love story, a mystery, a ghost story, and other tales spun by an elusive narrator sitting in a smoky Bombay bar. Critics around the world have embraced the book as a major work by this exciting young writer.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2006)
On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, on which survival is a daily struggle, eccentric Mr. Watts, the only white man left after the other teachers flee, spends his day reading to the local children from Charles Dickens’s classic “Great Expectations.”
The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Divakaruni (1997)
Magical, tantalizing, and sensual, The Mistress of Spices is the story of Tilo, a young woman born in another time, in a faraway place, who is trained in the ancient art of spices and ordained as a mistress charged with special powers. Once fully initiated in a rite of fire, the now immortal Tilo--in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman--travels through time to Oakland, California, where she opens a shop from which she administers spices as curatives to her customers. An unexpected romance with a handsome stranger eventually forces her to choose between the supernatural life of an immortal and the vicissitudes of modern life. Spellbinding and hypnotizing, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy and sorrow and one special woman's magical powers.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
A portrait of the immigrant experience follows he Ganguli family from their traditional life in India through their arrival in Massachusetts in the late 1960s and their difficult melding into an American way of life.
Oleander Girl, A Novel by Chitra Divakaruni (on sale March 19, 2013)
Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy has enjoyed a sheltered childhood with her adoring grandparents. But she is troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found in her mother's book of poetry. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile family. But shortly after their engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi's past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi undertakes a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will, ultimately, thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.
The Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Divakaruni (2008)
The novel traces Panchaali’s life, beginning with her magical birth in fire as the daughter of a king before following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at the brothers’ sides through years of exile and a terrible civil war. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her stratagems to take over control of her household from her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husband’s most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female voice in a world of warriors, gods, and ever-manipulating hands of fate.
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (1924)
Britain’s three-hundred-year relationship with the Indian subcontinent produced much fiction of interest but only one indisputable masterpiece: E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, published in 1924, at the height of the Indian independence movement. Centering on an ambiguous incident between a young Englishwoman of uncertain stability and an Indian doctor eager to know his conquerors better, Forster’s book explores, with unexampled profundity, both the historical chasm between races and the eternal one between individuals struggling to ease their isolation and make sense of their humanity.
The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr (2007)
Follows the life of Rajiv Travers, the child of an East Indian mother and an English father but who is raised by an American romance novel author in Pisgah, Missouri, in the 1950s, and whose presence unsettles the small community.
Queen of Dreams by Chitra Divakaruni (2004)
Rakhi, a young painter and single mother, is struggling to come to terms with her relationship with ex-husband Sonny, a hip Bay Area DJ, and with her dream-teller mother, who has rarely spoken about her past or her native India. Rakhi has her hands full, juggling a creative dry spell, raising her daughter, and trying to save the Berkeley teahouse she and her best friend Belle own. But greater challenges are to come. When a national tragedy turns her world upside down and Rakhi needs her mother’s strength and wisdom more than ever, she loses her in a freak car accident. But uncovering her mother’s dream journals allows Rakhi to discover her mother’s long-kept secrets and sacrifices–and ultimately to confront her fears, forge a new relationship with her father, and revisit Sonny’s place in her heart.
The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal (2009)
Since becoming a widow at age 27, Anjali has devoted herself to transforming her parents’ sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now 10 years later, when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling.
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (2010)
Interweaves the stories of a baby girl in India, the American doctor who adopted her, and the Indian mother who gave her up in favor of a son, as two families – one in India, the other in the United States – are changed by the child that connects them.
Serving Crazy with Curry by Amulya Malladi (2004)
Pressured by her mother to marry and become a traditional Indian wife and confronted by the loss of her job in Silicon Valley, Devi seeks refuge from her despair in attempted suicide, only to be forced to move back in with her parents until she recovers.
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni (1999)
Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died--mysteriously and violently--Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged. But, when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to.
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (2005)
Captures the delicate balance of class and gender in contemporary India as witnessed through the lives of 2 women – Sera, an upper middle-class housewife, and Bhima, an illiterate domestic hardened by a life of loss and despair.
Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna (2011)
In turn-of-the-twentieth century southern India, Devi Nachimada falls in love with Machu, a daring tiger hunter, and in the process endangers her friendship with a mother less boy, Devanna, thus setting the stage for a devastating tragedy.
The Vine of Desire by Chitra Divakaruni (2002)
Anju and Sudha formed an astounding, almost psychic connection during their childhood in India. When Anju invites Sudha, a single mother in Calcutta, to come live with her and her husband, Sunil, in California, Sudha foolishly accepts, knowing full well that Sunil has long desired her. As Sunil’s attraction rises to the surface, the trio must struggle to make sense of the freedoms of America–and of the ties that bind them to India and to one another.
The Writing on My Forehead by Nafisa Haji (2009)
Saira Qader, who rejected her Indo-Pakistani family’s traditional views and chose a career as a journalist, finds her life thrown into turmoil 5 years later by a tragedy that reveals to her the culturally rich stories of her family.
Unaccustomed Earth: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri (2008)
These eight stories by beloved and bestselling author Jhumpa Lahiri take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand, as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life. Here they enter the worlds of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers.
Under the Lemon Tree by Bhira Backhaus (2009)
As she struggles to understand her identity in her Punjabi-American community in 1976 California, Jeeto endeavors to reconcile her feelings about freedom and love in a culture that embraces arranged marriages and strict family politics.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
Dramatic comedic film
A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.
Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
A group of women of Indian descent take a trip together from their home in Birmingham, England to the beach resort of Blackpool. The women vary in ages from mid-teens to old, and initially have little in common. But the events of the day lead them to better mutual understanding and solidarity.
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids (2004)
Zana Briski, a documentary photographer, went to Calcutta to photograph prostitutes. While there, she befriended their children and offered to teach the children photography to reciprocate being allowed to photograph their mothers. The children were given cameras so they could learn photography and possibly improve their lives. Much of their work was used in the film, and the filmmakers recorded the classes the classes as well as daily life in the red light district.
Bride and Prejudice (2004)
Musical comedic film
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.
The Jungle Book (1967)
Produced by Walt Disney Productions, this film was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling.
The Jungle Book 2 (2003)
Mowgli, missing the jungle and his old friends, runs away from the man village unaware of the danger he’s in by going back to the wild.
An epic mosaic of several interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
The Mistress of Spices (2005)
Tilo is an immigrant from India, and a shopkeeper, who is also the “Mistress of Spices.” The spices which she gives to her customers help them to satisfy their needs and desires. Her life changes when she falls in love with Doug, an American man.
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Romantic comedy film
A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.
A Passage to India (1984)
Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
The film chronicles the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, the National Board of Review Award for Top Foreign Film, the Golden Camera and Audience Awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and three awards at the Montréal World Film Festival. The film was India's second film submission to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was among the list of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" by the New York Times.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
"BRIDGING CULTURES BOOKSHELF: MUSLIM JOURNEYS"
The Monroe County Community College Library has been named one of 842 libraries and state humanities councils nationwide selected to receive the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys,” a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures initiative.
The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf
is a collection of 25 books, 3 films, and other programming resources selected to help public audiences in the United States become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the U.S. The Bookshelf is intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.
The books selected for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf have been organized by five themes:
Pathways of Faith
Points of View
The Muslim Journey Bookshelf also includes:
Art, Architecture, and Film
“The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys” is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.