Mix N' Match Monday: Bangladesh

With my geography background, I find books about other countries fascinating.  Not having traveled to many of the places I read about, however, I sometimes have a hard time always knowing how accurate the portrayals of people and cultures are.  So when I find a book by an author who has lived in and experienced the culture he or she is writing about especially refreshing.

Rickshaw Girl
by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Charlesbridge, 2007.
ISBN: 978-1-58089-308-4
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from personal copy

The blurb from the book says:
Naima loves to create the traditional alpana patterns Bangladeshi women and girls paint in their homes for special celebrations.  Her designs are always the best in her village.  But Naima wishes she could help earn money for her family.  Her friend Saleem can drive his father's rickshaw.  "If only I had been born a boy, she thinks."
Mitali Perkins brings Naima quickly to life by showing us her love for alpana.  But her impulsiveness leads to disaster, which causes her to abandon her passion, but her determination helps her find a way to help her family.  Perkin's words flow freely and easily allowing the reader to focus on the story itself.  The black and white illustrations add a delicate touch, giving the reader a feel for the art of alpana.  Match this book up with the following book for a quick look into the lives of girls in another culture.

by David Cummings
Cherrytree Books, 2006.
ISBN: 978-1-84234-255-8
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from library copy

Cummings presents a brief overview of the life of a young Bangladeshi girl, Sabrina. Sabrina and her family live in a rural community in the northeast corner of the country.  The book presents very general information about the climate, population, and living conditions of Bangladesh.  The focus is on the girl and her family's lifestyle including food, shopping, school, and work and play.  The book is not intended to give a complete historical or geographical background on the country, nor is it intended to be a guidebook.  It is intended to give the young reader a brief glimpse into the lifestyle of a child in a different country and it does that quite satisfactorily.


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