OCT OEEO

PS_June_2018

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R E V I E W S 45 June 2018 | Professionally Speaking Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets, Scholastic Canada, Toronto, 2016, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-545-74651-9, 272 pages, $19.99, scholastic.ca One Thousand Hills, Scholastic Canada Ltd., Toronto, 2017, softcover, ISBN 978-1-4431-5760-5, 240 pages, $8.99, scholastic.ca Mission Mumbai BY MAHTAB NARSIMHAN Mission Mumbai is an ad- venture book that explores new ways of thinking and living. New Yorker Dylan Moore accompanies his best friend, Rohit Lal, to his ancestral home in Mumbai, eager to experi- ence a new culture, hone his photography skills and get away from his fighting parents. Rohit, on the other hand, is miserable in Mumbai, embarrassed by his crowded, smelly hometown, and afraid he will not be allowed to return to New York and the new life that awaits him there. Almost from the beginning of the trip, the boys are at odds with one another, but through their shared love of fantasy books (especially The Lord of the Rings) and their strong friendship they figure out how to maintain their connection and work together to deal with the challenges in Mumbai. In the process, they discover important things about each other and themselves. Told from Dylan's point of view as an excited visitor to a new place, the sights, sounds and smells of Mumbai are colourfully and raucously detailed throughout the book. It is all so strange to the young New Yorker and he eats it up — literally and figuratively. While this is not a travel book, it is so vivid in its depictions of Mumbai that many readers may well want to travel to India to take in the culture first-hand. Covering such themes as family life, loyalty, travel, change, poverty and divorce, Mission Mumbai would be an excellent book to read and talk about in literature circles. It would undoubtedly lead to discussions of differing cultures, adjusting to change and hardships, and the idea of being active, informed citizens of the global community. Links to discussion questions, activities, a quiz and even a few recipes are provided. For Grades 4 to 7. Terri Lawrence-Tayler, OCT, is an anatomy and physiology instructor with the nursing program at St. Clair College in Windsor. One Thousand Hills BY JAMES ROY AND NOËL ZIHABAMWE A singular voice rises out of this power- ful novel about the genocide that killed 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. The voice is that of 10-year-old Pascal, who lives with his family in the northern Rwandan village of Agabande. His life with his parents, brother and sister is simple, with its share of chores, school, sibling squab- bles and church on Sunday. But soon all of this normality begins to shift. Pascal is confused by his parents' warnings about what is happening. He is discouraged from visiting his friend, Henri. His father wants him to stay close by. The radio is not to be used. Neighbours are packing up and moving away. What is happening to the once safe and happy town of Agabande? When the genocidal slaughter of the Tutsis by the ruling Hutus erupts, Pascal endures the horror of the murderous rampages around him. Co-author Noël Zihabamwe lived through these events — as a 10-year-old boy, he witnessed the murder of much of his family and then lived as a refugee for the next decade of his life. Pascal's story is told through two narratives: the first from his point of view in Rwanda and the second in the form of an interview with a school psychologist in Belgium five years later as Pascal processes the events of his childhood. Based on that kind of lived history, there are many themes for teachers and students to explore. The book was recognized as a winner of two Australian literary awards for its fine writing and careful depiction of a terrifying event in world history. Although the book targets the tween reader, it should appeal to teens and adults as well. Dorothea Bryant, OCT, is retired from the faculty of education, University of Windsor, and tutors primary and secondary students in reading and writing.

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