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Book Uncle and Me
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Book Uncle and Me
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Winner of the International Literacy Association Social Justice Literature AwardAn award-winning middle-grade novel about the power of grassroots activism and how kids can make a difference.Every day,...
Winner of the International Literacy Association Social Justice Literature AwardAn award-winning middle-grade novel about the power of grassroots activism and how kids can make a difference.Every day,...
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  • Winner of the International Literacy Association Social Justice Literature Award
    An award-winning middle-grade novel about the power of grassroots activism and how kids can make a difference.

    Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library on the street corner. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.

    What can she do? The local elections are coming up, but she's just a kid. She can't even vote!

    Still, Yasmin has friends — her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a blue belt in karate. And she has family and neighbors. What's more, she has an idea that came right out of the last book she borrowed from Book Uncle.

    So Yasmin and her friends get to work. Ideas grow like cracks in the sidewalk, and soon the whole effort is breezing along nicely... Or is it spinning right out of control?

    An energetic, funny and quirky story about community activism, friendship, and the love of books.

    Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.2
    Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.6
    Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
    Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

About the Author-

  • Uma Krishnaswami has written many highly acclaimed children's books, from picture books to middle-grade novels 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. Visit Uma Krishnaswami's website: http://www.umakrishnaswami.com/

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 25, 2016
    Nine-year-old Yasmin loves to read. Luckily, a man known as Book Uncle has set up a free lending library on a nearby corner in her Indian city. Yasmin loves his book stall, but the mayor thinks it’s unseemly and needs to go. However, it’s election time, and Yasmin becomes determined to get Book Uncle and his stall back. Cooperation and progress are central themes in this thoughtful look on the power of words and grassroots activism, which emphasizes that even a child can make a difference. Augmented by newcomer Swaney’s delicately detailed spot illustrations, Krishnaswami’s (The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic) story immerses readers in Yasmin’s daily life and the people in it. “They all want votes,” a fruit vendor tells Yasmin as the election heats up. “Then when they get elected, they don’t do anything.” Politicos who fall short and people eager for change are just a couple of the cross-cultural similarities readers may recognize in this brisk chapter book, originally published in India. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 15, 2016
    When her source of books is threatened, so is 9-year-old Yasmin's goal of reading a book a day "forever."The inspiration behind and assistant to her in that goal is Book Uncle, owner of a free lending library on the street corner where she lives. His motto is to provide the "right book for the right person for the right day." When Book Uncle is forced to shut down his lending library because he can't afford the permit, Yasmin is disappointed and confused. She is then motivated to try and get the lending library back in business and enlists the help of her friends and then their larger neighborhood. All this happens amid a mayoral election, which provides the perfect background for the plot. Yasmin is a precocious, inquisitive protagonist with a tendency to speak before she thinks. Her relationships with her family and friends read as authentic and loving, even, and perhaps especially, in the moments when they are not perfect. This all lays the foundation for the community organizing that later becomes so necessary in effecting the change that Yasmin seeks to make. Swaney's playful, childlike illustrations advance the action and help to bring Yasmin's Indian city to life. Yasmin's campaign should help inspire young readers to believe in their own potential to make a difference and teach the valuable lesson that sometimes it takes several small actions to make big moves. (Fiction. 8-11)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2016

    Gr 2-4-Nine-year-old Yasmin is a self described book-a-day reader. Every day after school she likes to stop by Book Uncle's lending library on the corner by her apartment complex. Book Uncle has been on the corner as long as Yasmin can remember, and his motto of "Right book for the right person for the right day" hasn't steered her wrong yet, though she finds herself second-guessing his latest recommendation, which seems too easy. Yasmin has a misunderstanding with her friends Reeni and Anil, who do not seem to understand her love for reading and her questions about this particular story. Meanwhile, the local mayoral election has everyone in the city excited-partly because a famous actor is running. When Yasmin goes back to see Book Uncle, she is perplexed to find him boxing up all of his wares. It seems that he has been issued a summons and told he needs a permit in order to keep operating his lending library. Unfortunately, he cannot afford a permit. What follows is Yasmin's social awakening. The neighbors she has noticed only in passing before become allies in her grassroots effort to get Book Uncle back in business. VERDICT This sweet slice-of-life tale not only highlights Yasmin's neighborhood and life in India but also demonstrates that children can be empowered to effect change in their own neighborhoods. This is also a perfect title to shine a light on elections taking place elsewhere.-Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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