Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143330195
Vande Mataram!’ The song of the freedom fighters is ringing in the countryside.
It is 1939. In the little village of Shona Gram in Bengal, Neela hears about how the freedom fighters will stop at nothing till they send the British back. The day after her sister’s wedding, her father decides to go to Calcutta and join a protest march called by the Congress. He promises to be back in a week. But when three weeks go by and there is still no sign of him, Neela decides to take matters into her hand.
Dressed as a wandering minstrel, she arrives in Calcutta. There she befriends Bimala, the rich daughter of a judge and cousin of Samar, a young freedom fighter Neela had rescued from the police in her village. They begin a desperate search for her father and get to know he is in jail and that he will be deported to the Andaman Islands in a few days. Neela has to free her father before that. But can a twelve-year-old girl outwit the mighty British empire?
Set in a dramatic period in India’s history, this racy adventure will have you turning the pages to find out if Neela finally manages to succeed in her mission
Divakaruni turns a rare subject in children’s literature into a well-paced, gripping story that captures universal emotions as well as the complexity of Neela’s choices and her anger as she begins to see the facts of colonialism.
The author writes in an informative manner that is easy for children to follow while keeping the story brilliantly entertaining and fun to read.
-Voices from the Gaps
The novel is a satisfying piece of historical fiction for pre-teens Girls who read Neela’s story will certainly feel empowered and inspired.
-Sawnet (The South Asian Women’s Network)
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