As American as Paneer Pie
When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha.
To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school.
When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.
I wish that we didn't see the kind of pervasive racism Lehka experiences, but hopefully books like this will make readers aware and help to end it.
This author's Ahimsa has done well for historical fiction in my library, and American as Paneer Pie is a great choice for students who like realistic fiction, especially those who enjoyed other books with culturally connected characters who are interested in social activism like Ramee's A Good Kind of Trouble, Bajaj's Count Me In, and Pancholy's The Best at It.
One warning: don't try to put coconut oil on your poodle's fur. It seemed to work so nicely for Lehka's hair that I tried it on my dog, but she just looked greasy!