Today I highly recommend Kashmira Sheth’s Nina Soni, Master of the Garden.
Indian children will see their own families reflected in Nina’s family, will read words they hear at home in Hindi, and be reminded of Indian food and snacks they often eat at their own tables. Other kids will learn of these interesting words and foods, thus learning more about their Indian friends. But this book is so much more than educational; it is a “darned good read” because the characters matter to the reader, and the plot has its twists and turns.
If nothing else, Nina is a problem solver. She doesn’t let chard-eating, wild rabbits do her in, nor does she give up when mosquitoes “eat her up.”She is a list-maker, a new-word lover, and loyal friend. She is creative and ingenious, but is willing to ask for help from her friends or parents when it is needed.
Her little sister, Kavita, is a scene-stealer with her innocent-wise comments and her singy-songs that make more sense than at first glance.
Planting and tending a garden or at least a few plants is an experience all children should have, and “Master”makes this experience attractive and doable for your child or grandchild. Where planting and growing are impossible, children can read this book and experience the fun vicariously.
I rate this book a full 5 out of 5.