~I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive a small commission for your purchase. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
Growing up, the children in the schools I attended were predominantly Caucasian, as am I. When I moved to Florida in high school that changed drastically. I attended a predominantly African American school, that was located in what was considered the “ghetto” of the city, but I am forever grateful for having that opportunity. It opened my eyes to new cultures, new styles, new food, new everything.
And it doesn’t stop there. After going to college and moving to various different places after that, I realized just how much of a melting pot the U.S. really is. Today my family lives in a neighborhood in which we are the minority. Both of our children are biracial and we are raising them to embrace their differences and uniqueness, as well as to recognize and welcome other peoples differences and uniqueness.
And with Back to School season in full swing, everyone’s children are probably learning that they have classmates who are different from themselves, or maybe they’re even feeling like they are the different one. This is exactly what Dr. Soma Mandal helps children understand in her book, Sonya Sahni and the First Grade: It’s International Day! Dr. Mandal has created a world where kids feel different, and that’s perfectly okay.
With this book, Dr. Mandal provides children with a new resource:
- To be more open minded and develop friendships without preconceived notions.
- To encourage our children to foster relationships with others based on acceptance.
- To realize that everyone has their own unique set of struggles.
- To provide support to those who feel left out or discouraged.
- To offer guidance to children embracing their backgrounds who feel bullied.
- And much more!
Sonya Sahni, a first grader, feels torn between her Indian culture and wanting to fit in as an American. Of course, her parents want her to embrace her Indian culture, but the kids at school tease her. In one instance, her classmates make fun at the lunch Sonya’s mother has packed her because it’s traditional Indian cuisine and is different from the food they’re used to.
Sonya’s parents are concerned and make a visit to Sonya’s teacher. The meeting results in something amazing, an International Day at school, where everyone in the class learns that each and every one of them are different and unique in their own ways, but they also have a lot in common. And in the end, Sonya realizes that she’s perfect just the way she is, embracing both her Indian and American cultures.
In this unique story, a little girl is the main protagonist who struggles with issues to grasp both sides of her culture. I hope to inspire children to accept their backgrounds and embrace their cultures. I want to live in a society where all children can live and welcome differences instead of tearing them down.
-Dr. Soma Mandal
Since getting a copy of this book, my son has wanted me to read it over and over. He loves to see the different cultures represented with flags bordering many of the book’s pages. It’s nice to see him recognizing each child’s difference in the story, and I can only hope that he’ll accept and encourage his classmates to embrace their own uniqueness, and that he’ll embrace his own, when he starts school in a few weeks.