* Current Giveaways*
It is 1945 and World War II is happening in Europe. Fifth grader, Maria Singh, wants to play ball, just like the women in the All American Leagues. Her chance becomes reality when her teacher puts together an all girl softball team. However, Maria's Papi from India does not want her wearing shorts, and her Mama from Mexico, wants her to keep an eye on her little brother Emilio.
Determined, Maria sets out to follow her dream, but life is not so easy. Her father is not allowed to become a citizen of the US and thus, can't buy land. When the owner of their farm decides to move, Maria's family needs to come up with a plan, and fast. As her father fights for his rights in the US and for the rights of his people against the British in India, Maria must learn to deal with the hatred of people who don't understand people who are different, whether in religion, color or country.
Maria takes a risk and steps up to the school board, asking for a ball field for kids to play in and sports for girls. At home, her Mama and Papi also fight, for their land and freedoms.
This book is a treasure trove of the American immigrant experience. Previously, the Indian/Mexican interracial couples of the 1940's and their experiences were unknown to me. This book does a great job highlighting the differences between the cultures and the loving ways they fit together.
Maria is just like many other girls. She wants to be herself and break free from the rules of her parents. Of course, her journey comes full circle when she realizes that her problems involving softball are actually small compared to the world problems of war and freedom. The author combines all of the problems, big and small alike, into a seamless story.
I really enjoyed Maria's inner dialogue. She is smart for her age, and unravels words and feelings of hate and revenge for what they really are, fear and insecurity. Maria is able to make mistakes, learn from them, ask forgiveness and then move on. She faces the racism and sexism in stand up ways and learns to move beyond the aggression their feelings cause, and actually search out solutions.
This is a great read. I'm giving it 5 stars!