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Kalpana's Dream (Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors (Awards)) Hardcover – April 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. Who Am I? That's the question Miss Dallimore wants answered in an essay that will be due in six weeks. The assignment animates and alarms several of the young people in the freshman class and forms the underpinnings of this heartfelt novel that lightly wraps the realistic story lines in a flimsy gauze of magic realism. Neema, half Indian, half Australian, is one of the students. She is also dealing with a visit from her great-grandmother, who speaks only Hindi, and her unsettling feelings for a skateboarder named Gull Owens, with whom grandmother Nani has her own relationship. As Nani watches Gull fly by on his skateboard each night, she wishes that she might soar as he does. Clarke is brilliant at making gossamer connections between her characters. The interweavings can be common or unexpected, but they are always meticulously rendered. Unlike many young-adult authors, Clarke takes special care with the adult characters, especially Nani, who is exquisitely drawn and shows that when hope and love are near the surface, age is of no consequence. Only Miss Dallimore and her boyfriend, who may or may not be a vampire, dent the story's magical circle. The book also has an unfortunate title and a dreadful cover. Do your best to make sure the trappings don't deter readers. Ilene Cooper
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Review

It is a very welcome talent that can create fiction light as air and refreshing as sunshine but that leaves the reader with substantial questions to ponder a warm, funny novel.' Kerry White, Australian Bookseller & Publisher sublime Ms Dallimore's antics alone are worth the price of the book. Kalpana's Dream was a revelation for me, a truly original book Judith Clarke has done something genre-defying with this title ' Eclectica magazine, USA --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Series: Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street, Incorporated; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425222
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,436,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill's Best Books on April 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When Neema's great-grandmother Kalpana visit's Australia from her native India, Neema finds herself struggling to communicate with a relative who speaks only Hindi, while also dealing dreaming of flying, watching a boy named Gull fly by her window on a skateboard at night, and an English teacher affectionately known as the "Bride of Dracula." (M/H). Told from an omniscient POV, the narrative adroitly mixes humor, folktales, peer pressure, and a sense of family.
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Format: Hardcover
Picture in your mind the image on the cover of this book, "Kalpana's Dream": a lone skateboard set dramatically against a periwinkle sky, casting a striking shadow onto the sun-bleached concrete beneath it. Now picture in your mind an elderly Hindu grandma, swathed comfortably in a traditional white sari, stepping confidently onto this skateboard, pushing off, and gracefully gliding into flight.

Of course, this novel by Judith Clarke isn't as random as that description makes it sound. It's actually about Neema (real name Nirmolini), an Australian girl with roots in India, who experiences the same school, friend, and boy problems that you'd expect. Like her teacher who may or may not be going out with a vampire; or her best friend Katie who simply cannot stand her little sister; or Neema's crush on the strangly familiar boy who rides past her house on his skateboard every day.

But through its focus on Neema's family background and Indian cultural heritage, "Kalpana's Dream" gives a refreshing twist to your run-of-the-mill, day-in-the-life-of-a-girl-just-starting-high-school teen novel. Plus, the perspective wanders omnisciently from Neema, to her grandma, Kalpana, to the school's English teacher, and even to other students in the class. Clarke weaves these plots together neatly, keeping things focused yet varied enough to pull the reader's attention throughout this cute little novel. Please, don't judge a book by its cover - but if you're in the mood for some light literary refreshment, let your curiosity lead you over to "Kalpana's Dream."

Reviewed by Beckie Sheffield for Flamingnet Book Reviews

[...]

Preteen and young adult book reviews
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A Kid's Review on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is mostly about friendships and family matters. Kalpana is Neema's great-grandmother, who dreams of a journey from her village in India to Australia to see her family there. Neema, although her real name was Nirmolini, it was confusing for people to call her that so people got use to calling her Neema instea. She doesn't know much about her heritage, and Kalpana's visit is at first confusing: it's difficult to communicate. Because Kalpana spoke Hindi and had not a slight bit of knowledge in English, also Neema had no idea how to speak Hindi either! Neema's father is enthusiastic about family connections, but he has no connection except by marriage to India. How this visit works out is the heart of the story, and it is touching and funny too. Instead of the frequently used first-person narrator format, this story is told in third-person. The reader looks down at the action and sees how the characters' lives are linked in ways even they don't always know. One major character in this little story is Gull Oliver, who has returned to the neighborhood after living away for seven years. He is attracted to Neema and takes to the streets on his skateboard, flying by her house every evening. He find her very familiar from years before, and so did Neema. The elderly Kalpana sees the boy zoom by in the dark, flying and she longs to fly too. Of course when the Judith described Gull as flying, she really meant speeding in his skateboard. But in Kalpanda's view, she has different thoughts. In the end, Gull and Neema found out how they knew each other in the past. This story is best described as creative and bizzare.
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A Kid's Review on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
the one word that came to my mind when i finish this book was, "huh?" I mean i got it was about finding yourself and friendship, but come on. that was the strangest and most confusing ending ever. it didnt even finish the story.
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