We’re From India by Victoria Parker: Book Review
India in Your Living Room Learning Series
Before I went to India, I read hundreds of books on a variety of topics and even studied some languages. I learned about a lot of things, most specifically the differences between America and India. It was fun and exciting to learn about how people express life differently than me, and of course that was one reason I wanted to experience India for myself. More importantly, another reason I wanted to go to India was to learn about the daily life of people in India, what makes people who they are, so I could also relate to them. Relating to others and finding common ground binds us together. This is the feeling I come away from after reading Victoria Parker’s book "We're From India ."
In the book, readers meet Surya, Choti and Subodh, three children in India and get to experience what a day in the life of a child in India is like. Victoria has chosen to share stories of these three children who grow up in different geographical areas in cities, villages and small towns.
Though we do notice differences in their stories and in the photos- the clothes are different, the food and eating habits are different, the way chores are done is different and the physical environment looks different, we realize that kids in India like kids in America do the same things. Kids in India go to school, kids in India help their family with chores, some kids live with their parents and some with extended family like grandmothers and grandfathers, kids in India enjoy hobbies such as playing games, crafts, spending time with their friends and music, kids in India learn things from their parents, and the lists can go on. For instance, Surya likes to play games, one being carom, the Indian form of billiards, as shown in the youtube video.
Each child’s small story highlights their own unique personality and life. As each child is an individual with unique qualities in America, also this is true in India, and also is this true in America. Though, we are all unique, we all have similarities that bind us. We can relate to one another. The balance between these attributes is highlighted throughout this book.
With thirty-two pages and large, intriguing photographs, the narrations are done in as few words as possible. It is noticeable that because of this, words were also chosen very carefully. I particularly appreciated the choice of words such as ‘many’, ‘some of’ and, ‘most people’ as compared to all, everything or everyone which convey the reduction of sweeping generalizations. The method of identifying the photos helps the reader to figure out what is in the picture easier, especially for items we in America may not have seen before (see photo to the right of musical instruments in India).
Have you read Victoria Parker’s book, We’re From India? Share your thoughts below.
**The youtube video, provided by carromclips on youtube, in this article and the book are not related except for being referenced in this article.
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Author of this post and owner of this blog; Jennifer Kumar, CC, MSW, is a cross-cultural coach. If you are adjusitng to a new culture with children and want help in creating ideas to teach your kids about your homeland, I am happy to help. Contact her for more information at authenticjourneys at gmail dot com. See her coaching site, Authentic Journeys.
Updated Jan. 2011