The Door is Open: Stories of Celebration and Community by 11 Desi Voices

The Door is Open: Stories of Celebration and Community by 11 Desi Voices
Discover stories of fear, triumph, and spectacular celebration in this warm-hearted novel of interconnected stories that celebrates the diversity of South Asian American experiences in a local community center.

Discover stories of fear, triumph, and spectacular celebration in the fictional town of Maple Grove, New Jersey, where the local kids gather at the community center to discover new crushes, fight against ignorance, and even save a life. Cheer for Chaya as she wins chess tournaments (unlike Andrew, she knows stupid sugary soda won't make you better at chess), and follow as Jeevan learns how to cook traditional food (it turns out he can cook sabji-- he just can't eat it).

These stories, edited by bestselling and award-winning Pakistani-American author Hena Khan, are filled with humor, warmth, and possibility. They showcase a diverse array of talented authors with heritage from the Indian subcontinent, including beloved favorites and rising stars, who each highlight the beauty and necessity of a community center that everyone calls home.

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The Door is Open is centered around the community center in Maple Grove, New Jersey and follows the adventures of a variety of children there. Since the center is so important to the Desi community, when the building is in danger of being shut down, the children try to find a way to keep their beloved gathering place open.

Good Points
It was great that each chapter clearly listed the author's name, so that readers who find a story that particularly resonates with them or characters who share a similar cultural background can then look up other stories by that author. While the stories all center on different aspects of the closing and the lives of the characters, the stories all flow together well and work particularly effectively as a whole. We are just starting to see diverse short stories work their way into language arts anthologies and online literature classes, which is great to see!

I love short story collections that highlight authors who share some aspects of cultural backgrounds, and this one will be a great addition to my growing collection of culturally connected short stories. Make sure to also look for titles like Ali and Saeed's Once Upon an Eid and Baron, Levy, and Milliner's On All Other Nights: A Passover Celebration in 14 Stories which are separate stories, but also Oh's You Are Here: Connecting Flights or Saee, Ali, Al-Marashi, and Thompkins-Bigelow's Grounded which are both collections of interconnected short stories set at airports.
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