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Maya Running Hardcover – February 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8 - Growing up is difficult enough but especially so when a girl has less-than-perfect parents; the cutest boy in the world who once liked her falls for her confident, poised, and exotic cousin visiting from India; she's teased at school (and even hears the "N" word); and her parents want to leave beautiful Manitoba, Canada, for California. Maya's authentic voice presents her confused and confusing world and foreshadows the influence of Ganesh. This Hindu god with the head of an elephant, who for a few sweets comes to life and removes obstacles and illusions, allows her to see things as they really are. She learns to accept herself, which includes her Indian heritage and her parents' individuality. The Ganesh fantasy is incorporated with humor into the contemporary feel of the story, even though it is set in 1978. Details of the cultures and everyday life of both India and Canada are integrated seamlessly and readers will see themselves in the realistic characters. - Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-7. It is 1978 in Manitoba, Canada, and 13-year-old Maya walks a fine line between wanting to fit in and being curious about her Indian heritage. The first part of the book chronicles the dichotomy immigrant children often feel. On one hand, Maya attracts the attention of Jamie because of her exotic looks. On the other, she is humiliated by a boy who calls her "nigger" because she is the only dark-skinned girl in town. The story seems to proceed into familiar territory until Maya's cousin, Pinky, comes to visit from India and steals Jamie's attention. Suddenly (and uncomfortably), the book turns into a fantasy, with Maya praying to Pinky's statue of Ganesh the elephant god, who removes all obstacles for her happiness. Banerjee does a fine job of describing Maya's life and the people who inhabit it, so when the fantasy weakens the characters into caricatures of themselves, it's a disappointment. It's the universal longings for love and acceptance, particularized in Maya's experiences, that makes the better story. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (February 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385746563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385746564
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,751,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have received accolades in many review journals and newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, Maya Running (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) "beautiful and complex" and "pleasingly accessible." The Seattle Times praised Anjali's novel for adults, Imaginary Men (Downtown Press/Pocket Books) as "a romantic comedy equal to Bend it Like Beckham."

Anjali has always loved to write. When she was seven, she penned her first story about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal. Then, inspired by her maternal grandmother--an English writer who lived in India--she wrote a mystery, The Green Secret, at the age of nine. She illustrated the book, stapled the pages together and pasted a copyright notice inside the front cover. After that she churned out a series of mysteries and adventure novels with preposterous premises and impossible plots.

Growing up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada, Anjali's favorite family event was the weekly drive to the garbage dump to watch for bears. She also loved jaunts to the library, where she checked out the same Curious George books dozens of times. She adored a picture book called The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep, starring a baby bear who refused to hibernate in winter. Her favorite authors were Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alexander Key, C.S. Lewis and others. Every night her father read to her from C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After she grew up and finished university, Anjali tried on jobs like new sets of clothes--veterinary assistant, office manager and law student--before rediscovering her love for writing. Since then, Anjali's Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction has appeared in several literary journals and in the anthology New to North America. She was a contributing writer for three regional history books and local newspapers before she began writing novels. An alumnus of Hedgebrook, an esteemed retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Anjali has been a speaker at the South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival (SALTAF®) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., at many schools, libraries and writers' conferences, and she has led workshops for Field's End and the Whidbey Island Writers' Association MFA program.

Anjali loves hiking, reading, watching movies, supporting local animal welfare organizations, feeding birds, and playing piano. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with her husband and four rescued cats.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Seattle on February 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A respected literary figure once proposed the question, "Why must all the good things belong to the past?" With her debut novel, Maya Running, author Anjali Banerjee places that somber notion squarely where it belongs - at the end of the emotional queue alongside disheartened, dispirited and despondent.

Although published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House created to appeal to children and young adults, Maya Running has a great deal to offer those of us not in Generation Y. Baby boomers (like me) and Gen Xers (like my grown children) can find pleasure and profit in this charming novel. Think The Color Purple by Alice Walker or The Bluest Eyes by Tony Morrison then add a touch of sweet and dash of late twentieth century savvy, and you get the story of Maya Mukherjee, a Canadian born girl of Indian descent searching for her identity.

From first page to last, I was enchanted with Ms. Banerjee's original and unique narrative voice, the delectable unification of teenage humor, hope, awe and envy. Her characters are clearly drawn and the relationships effectively established. When I read the book, Maya's challenges and successes strolled pleasantly beside me, unhurried and unforced, a testament to Ms. Banerjee's workmanlike pacing of story, plot and dialogue.

All good things do not have to belong to the past. Maya Running reminds old folks that no matter how packaged or marketed, there's still plenty of simple joy in the here and now. Remember the last time your rode in a limousine with the windows down?

William Schroder

Author of Cousins of Color

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill's Best Books on April 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wendy Lamb Books, 2005. Born in India and raised in Manitoba, Maya struggles to find her identity as the only brown-skinned kid in school. When her beautiful cousin, Pinky, arrives from India bearing a statue of the god Ganesh and proceeds to steal the boy Maya wants, Maya prays to Ganesh to remove all of her obstacles-with unintended consequences. A unique story with a dream-like quality that shows a young girl embracing her culture and learning about herself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've been dying to read this book based on the reveiws.. When I saw it in the library, you can imagine that I grabbed it of the shelf ! Usually, I get too excited about books, and they turn out to be dissappointing.. But this was definetly worth it !! I love Maya's character and the whole plot that follows. I saw Ganesh in a new way, due to the way he talked to Maya and by his hungry actions, which was also very interesting ! Being Indian myself, I could relate to this book very well. This book was not only funny, but it gives a good lesson near the end.. This has to be my favorite book of all time !
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