I will admit it. I totally judged this book by it's cover. I'm super glad I did. Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee definitely lived up to it's pretty cover design.
The basic outline of the story goes like this: Anu (called Anus by schoolyard bullies) is extremely close to his grandfather, Bapu. One day while the pair are out birdwatching, Bapu suffers a massive stroke and dies shortly thereafter at the hospital. Anu is deeply stricken with guilt. When Bapu's ghost appears, Anu sets out on a frantic mission to reestablish contact with his beloved grandfather.
3 Things I Loved About This Book:
1. It's based locally in Seattle, Washington
- The Mystery Museum, a major location in the story, is modeled after Ye Olde Curiousity Shop.
- Banerjee includes incidents where Anu is called Osama Bin Laden by his classmates as well as other Indians being interrogated at the airport. Anu even overhears one of the EMTs reluctance to care for his grandfather because he looks "like that damn Bin Laden." Whoa, hello prejudice.
- Ok death and dying is written about all the time. But what about a boy who goes to such great lengths to contact his dead grandfather that he attempts to become a sadhu, a Hindu holy person. Anu shaves his head, embarks on a fast, and becomes a holy roller...literally. He starts to roll, as in somersault, to school. Through Anu's pursuits to become holy and therefore gain a line to the deceased, the reader learns about Hinduism and Indian culture, without feeling like you're reading a complicated explanation.
Recommendation: A book this unique that addresses important topics should not be overlooked.
(I actually am reading a grown-up book right now... but kid's books are just so tempting. Being surrounded by them all day doesn't help the problem.)