Here is another great feature for #MiddleGradeMarch !!
Thank you so much to Chicken House for the early copy of Asha and the Spirit Bird in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! This is a fast paced adventure by an Indian author, set in the Himalayas. An interesting and appropriate for ages 8+!
- Title: Asha and the Spirit Bird
- Series: N/A
- Author: Jasbinder Bilan
- Publisher & Release: Chicken House, February 2019
- Length: 288 pg
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ sure for middle graders and fans of!
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Asha lives on the family farm with her mother in rural India.
Her father is away working in the city, and when the money he sends stops suddenly, a wicked aunt arrives. She’s determined to seize the property – and the treasure rumoured to be hidden on the land. Guided by a majestic bird which Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, she and her best friend Jeevan embark on a journey to the city, across the Himalayas, to find her father and save her home …
Asha and the Spirit Bird is a wonderful middle grade adventure story about a young girl on a journey to reunite her family.
I just thought this was a great story, focused on friendship, family, and Faith. Little Asha is unshakeable in her beliefs and convictions. It was touching watching her learn to trust herself, her friend Jeevan, and her spirit bird, as they journey across the Himalayasl together.
When debt collectors come crashing through their small Himalayan farmhouse, Asha knows her mama is in trouble. Her Papa left for the city months ago but stopped writing and sending money – where could he be? Is he alive?
With the help of her best friend, Jeevan, she runs away to find her father. Asha is a terrifically brave little girl, with the magic power to sense and be guided by her ancestors. I loved the Nanijee storyline, and how Asha learned to trust herself and her intuitions as well as embrace her family’s heritage.
There is plenty of danger and action in the plot too, from wolves to kidnappers. I read the whole book in one sitting and think that kids will definitely enjoy this one from cover to cover.
The setting is well done too, with beautiful descriptions of the mountains, scenery, animals. Weather and smells and sounds are also described. I think my favorite parts were at the temple in the mountains, and how Asha’s little mango tree symbolized her faith and hope as well.
One HUGE thing that the book did well, and I think is absolutely essential in an ethnic book published in North America … is a glossary of foreign words and phrases. I hate feeling alienated when authors throw foreign terms and words in without translating. Bilan not only translates but offers explanations, which is absolutely amazing and so much appreciated.
Overall: With clean content, no language and only one suggested hint as a possible future crush, this is a great story of friendship, faith, and family. Fully recommend for any young reader!