This is the next book up in my series of reviews of middle grade books that reflect the immigrant experience.
When Lowji and his parents move to America from India one summer, Lowji finds himself without friends and with nothing to do. He’s always dreamed of having a pet, but the no-nonsense landlady, Mrs. Crisp, does not allow pets in her building. But Lowji doesn’t give up, and finally convinces the hard-working Mrs. Crisp that she needs a mouse-catching cat, a friendly guard dog, and a lawn-trimming goat. In the end, Lowji befriends a girl in his neighborhood who helps him take care of Mrs. Crisp’s newly-acquired menagerie.
While many immigrant families struggle economically after settling in the US, this story offers a refreshing reminder that not all newly arrived families struggle financially. Lowji’s mother has a high-tech job, and his father does the cooking at home.
With its sparse text and humor, Lowji Discovers America makes a good read-aloud and is recommended for kids who are moving into chapter books.
Hand this book to the kid:
* Who recently emigrated to the US
* Who is beginning to read chapter books
* Who loves animals
* Who is going through culture shock
* Who is learning English
* Who needs to know that there’s a “silver lining” to some obstacles in life
* Who has immigrated to the U.S. and into your heart
Use this to teach:
* Empathy–Immigrant children will certainly identify with Lowji, and for children who have never been the “new kid” at school, readers will empathize with Lowji’s bewilderment as he’s introduced to American culture and slang.
* Letter Writing--Lowji’s letters to his best friend back in India are sprinkled throughout the text.
*Voice and Humor–Although Lowji learned English in school back in India, his voice is distinct and reflects the cadence and grammatical patterns of a second language learner. His voice would also make a good study in humor for student writers.
Curriculum Guide here.
The Nitty Gritty~
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Publication Date: 2005 (paperback version 2008)
ISBN: 978-1-416-95832-1 (paperback) 978-0-689-862991 (hard cover)
Number of Pages: 160
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: ages 7-10