Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami

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Synopsis

West meets East

Although Maya has done her best to avoid it, she is spending part of her summer in Chennai, India, with her mother, who is trying to sell her grandfather's old house. Soon Maya is drawn into a complicated friendship with eccentric Kamala Mami, who has been a housekeeper and cook for years in Maya's extended family. At the same time, Maya is thrust into an ocean of memories, all coming at her too quickly for her to understand. In particular, she is forced to examine the history of her parents' divorce -- all the more painful because she believes the trouble began with the choosing of her name. For years the tension has simmered in a cauldron of anxiety, secrets, and misunderstandings. It is only with the help of Kamala Mami and Maya's cousin Sumati that Maya is able to see what happened to her parents.

In this compelling first novel, a young Indian American girl finally learns that she can choose which memories to keep and which to let go.

 

About Uma Krishnaswami

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Uma Krishnaswami has written many highly acclaimed children's books, from picture books to middle-grade readers to retellings of classic tales and myths. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger. She lives in Aztec, New Mexico. Nasrin Khosravi (1950-2010) was a world-renowned Iranian artist who illustrated more than thirty-five books for children.
 
Published April 6, 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 192 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Krishnaswami has a little too much going on here—a subplot involving Maya’s father’s family never develops as thoroughly as it should—but her language is lush and Maya’s observations are piercingly honest.

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KidsReads

To make the summer more enjoyable, Maya keeps herself busy by taking pictures of surroundings and making friends with her cousin Sumati and Kamala Mami, a housekeeper and cook in Maya's extended family.

Apr 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Naming Maya

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