Friday, September 12, 2008

Swahili for Beginners

Swahili for Beginners by Lisa Joyal - A Young Adult Novel

If I had to describe the book in two words, I would say – sweet and simple.

Georgia is 13 and she lives in Toronto, Canada. She is an energetic girl and is full of dreams. She wants to sail, be an astronaut, ski, etc and her list keeps growing every single day. She is very endearing. She is browsing the internet one day and she finds a pen pal website. She decides to write to a girl, Ellie, in Tanzania. Soon, Ellie and Georgie start communicating and this turns out to be a life changing experience for Georgie. Ellie is a poor Tanzanian from a small village at the foothills for Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Through the innocent letter exchange between Georgie and Ellie, Lisa Joyal brings out the complex lives of people in developing nations. Kids in developed countries take so many things for granted – things that are a luxury for kids in many countries around the world. Through Ellie’s letters, Lisa shows us the actual lives of people in countries like Tanzania – their issues with money, education, health, etc. The book is not all about issues of developing countries. With the help of Ellie and her best friend, Jodi, Georgie leans to come to terms with many things in her own life including her parents divorce and her first crush. Lisa even manages to highlight the issues of Anorexia that is becoming a big problem with young girls in this book.

Swahili for beginners starts out being the simple story of Georgie and her friends but turns out to be very deep. I think it brings out complex issues of pre-teens and teens around the world in a very simple way. The book teaches to you work hard to get things that you want and not to take things for granted. It makes you realize that the world outside is very different from what you see around your own home in developed countries. And the best part is that the morals and the lessons are all well intertwined in an interesting story and hence, makes for an interesting read as well!

I think it is a perfect book for young girls to read. There’s so much to learn from this book. I would definitely recommend this book for young adults!

Check out this link to find out more about the book!

Thanks to minibookexpo for giving me a chance to read such a nice book!



Dar said...

This even sounds like a good book for adults to read Ramya. I've gotten a few good selections from Mini Book Expo. They're great.

Ramya said...

@dar - this was my first book from mini book expo and i really liked it.. i think it is a pretty good read for adults as well. all the issues that she writes about are so relevant to adults as well - anorexia, awareness of the world, relationship issues, etc. i really liked it!:)

Red lady-Bonnie said...

I love books told in letter and this sounds like a wonderful book for adults also. I'm not familiar with Mini Book Expo so will add that to the list to check out!

Priya Iyer said...

wow! that sounds like an interesting read! :) shall pick it up sometime..

btw, you have an award waiting for you. pls visit my blog and accept it. :)

Trish said...

I was telling Dar earlier that when I went by Mini Book Expo there were too many books about erotica and I gave up. :( Ha ha! Both you and Dar seem to be finding great selections so I'll have to go back... This one sounds really endearing--is it written in epistolary format?

Madeleine said...

Hi Ramya :)

You are truly one of the best reviewer. I know when I visit your blog I will want to read your latest book :)

I have a friend who speaks 6 languages!!!!! and Swahili is one of them.

Ramya said...

@red lady-bonnie - me too! i think books told in letters have so much more of a personal touch to it! what's your favorite letter book??:)

@priya - oops.. didnt notice it until now.. shall duly come and collect it from you!:) thanks a ton girl!:) i totally appreciate it!

@trish - you know, that was totally my first impression as well.. i was like, am i in the right place? but then, now and agian, an interesting read comes by and i am lucky that my first book was this good!:)

@madeleine - well, i guess i am plain lucky when it comes to getting a good book to read!:)