Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth

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Synopsis

When twelve-year-old Seema Trivedi learns that she and her family must move from their small Indian town to Iowa City, she realizes she'll have to say good-bye to the purple-jeweled mango trees and sweet-smelling jasmine, to the monsoon rains and the bustling market. More important, she must leave behind her best friend and cousin, Raju. Everything is different in Iowa City, where Seema feels like an outsider to the language and traditions. As she begins to plant roots in the foreign soil, however, her confidence starts to bloom, and she learns she can build a bridge between two homes. With lyrical language and poignant scenes, Kashmira Sheth unearths the meaning of "home" and "family" in this tender debut novel. Kashmira Sheth's own experiences as a teenager who moved by herself from India to America inspired her to write this novel. She is a microbiologist and lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kashmira Sheth was born in Bhavanger, Gujart, India and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Sheth attended Iowa State University where she received her B.S. in Microbiology. She is married to a civil engineer and they have two daughters. Sheth is both a scientist and an author. Sheth has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as a microbiologist. In 2012 she will teach at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. In her free time Sheth teaches Indian dance to children.

"When 12-year-old Seema moves with her parents and younger sister from India to Iowa City, she must leave her grandparents, extended family, and, most distressingly, her cousin Raju, who has been like a brother to her. Seema describes her adjustment to the newness of the U.S.–the food, clothing, weather, education–and her feelings: "I was always the outsider listening in…." Although she makes friends, she also encounters surprising hostility from another newcomer to her class, and ultimately learns the coping skills necessary to deal with this troubled girl. The writing is infused with evocative descriptions: "…the few leaves left clinging to the trees made them look like beggars in ragged clothes" or "the days… stretched out like a sari." Sheth uses Seema's letters to India and a classroom assignment to transmit significant cultural information, but at times this approach takes on a didactic and unnatural air. Still, the narrative advances steadily, with many opportunities for insights into the experience of this new immigrant, plus enough tension introduced through the bully to keep readers interested."
-School Library Journal
–Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Filled with details that document an immigrant's observations and experiences, Seema's story, which articulates the ache for distant home and family, will resonate with fellow immigrants and enlighten their classmates.”
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
-Booklist
 

About Kashmira Sheth

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Kashmira Sheth is the author of the picture books Monsoon Afternoon and My Dadima Wears a Sari, as well as the award-winning young adult novels Blue Jasmine and Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet. She lives in Wisconsin.
 
Published June 4, 2013 by Argo-Navis. 200 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Blue Jasmine

Publishers Weekly

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In this delicate, introspective debut novel, narrator Seema describes her assimilation to America, capturing the distinct flavors of two different cultures while celebrating the unifying force of f

Aug 23 2004 | Read Full Review of Blue Jasmine

Crazy QuiltEdi

Luckily, her new friends are in her class at school and they support her as she makes a few faux pas in learning the new culture and language and also when a new girl enters their class and bullies Seema.

Mar 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Blue Jasmine

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