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Navigating the gap

Cover of Home is In Between
A review of Home is In Between by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu

Shanti waves good bye to her village in India and hello to her new town in the United States. Life in her apartment with Ma and Baba feels much like life in her village, but outside, in town things are strange. Shanti goes back and forth, remembering her village, and learning her new town. Back and forth, again and again, In Between. Most of the time, Shanti goes from village to town with great joy, but sometimes it is hard.

Shanti learns to dance Kathak with Ma and ballet with her friend Tonya, she watches Bollywood films with her parents and Hollywood movies with friends, she is full of joy, and yet...if only friends could understand village, and parents could understand town.  

Young children who are navigating their own In Between will be able to identify with Shanti. And sharing her story, should build empathy and understanding in all readers.  

In the author's note at the end of the book, Perkins tells how code switching as a child was exhausting, but as an adult, she acknowledges it is a gift - a "superpower".


May 20, 2021