Honour Book, 2002 Jane Addams Children's Book AwardA 2002 New York Public Library Selection for Books for the Teen AgeBank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002Cooperat
Honour Book, 2002 Jane Addams Children's Book Award
A 2002 New York Public Library Selection for Books for the Teen Age
Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002
Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Choices, 2002
Hey Tara, what's your mother tongue?
Questions like this make fifteen-year-old Tara Mehta's blood boil, especially when asked by a teacher who ought to know better. Yes, her parents were raised in India, but Tara has lived in Ottawa her whole life - she's as Canadian as everybody else. There are much more important things than where her family came from. Jeff, for instance. He's the new guy with the blue eyes and a brain that actually works.
But then she meets her grandmother for the first time. Dadiji fought with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and she's horrified to learn that her grandchildren know almost nothing about her heritage. Tara resents her grandmother's attitude until she learns how Dadiji came to join the fight for independence.
Shocked and angered by the history that she's never been taught in school, Tara decides to tell Dadiji's story to her class. In the wake of the violently mixed reactions that follow, Tara comes to realize that most people need to expand their definition of what it means to be a "regular" Canadian - including herself.
"The strength of the novel is in its willingness to explore the difficult issue of race in a multicultural classroom or society without observing conventional pieties. . . A Group of One has great potential to raise important questions for its target audience. If read in multicultural classrooms, it will provide an excellent platform for necessary discussions. The biggest bonus of the book is that it is a delight to read. In spite of handling a difficult topic, it never turns dry or didactic. It is crisply written with both sensitivity and humour, captures a teenager's world ably, and has a captivating plot that alternates between family drama and school drama. Tara's story is compelling and sometimes surprisingly poignant. I think young readers will like to hear Tara's story; and if Tara is not really a group of one, then some young readers will find hers an enabling voice."
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-- Canadian Literature
Rachna Gilmore is the author of many highly acclaimed children's books. Her picture book A Screaming Kind of Day won the Governor General's Literary Award. She is also the author of two early readers in the First Flight Readers series: Fangs and Me and Ellen's Terrible TV Troubles. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Urdu, Chinese and Tamil. Born in India, Rachna now lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband, two daughters, and cat.
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