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Same Sun Here Paperback – August 6, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Meena, a recent immigrant from India, lives in Manhattan's Chinatown with her family. Through a program arranged by their schools, she becomes a pen pal with River, who lives in rural Kentucky and is the son of a coal miner. They exchange letters via snail mail and, as a result, learn about each other and themselves. Sharing day-to-day activities, secrets, opinions, and questions, Meena and River start to break down barriers and talk about their lives. Their letters reveal their many similarities and differences. They both have a close relationship with their grandmothers, love dogs, and their fathers work far away in order to provide for their families. They maintain their correspondence as they go through some difficult moments in their lives such as when Meena faces the death of her grandmother in India and when River's town faces environmental concerns related to coal mining. The novel (Candlewick, 2012) is perfectly narrated by authors Silas House (River) and Neela Vaswani (Meena), further invigorating the story with their Southern and Indian accents. This tale about debunking cultural stereotypes, friendship, and finding common ground will resonate with listeners.-Katie Llera, Sayreville Middle School, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Even better than reading a refreshingly honest story by one talented writer is reading one by two such writers. House and Vaswani alternate between the voices of Meena and River. The two connect as pen pals, and their letters reveal the unusual intersections and the stark contrasts in their lives... Readers will feel confident that their friendship will get them through whatever lies ahead.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This tender and breathtakingly honest story about unlikely friendships and finding common ground will captivate readers... In an era when social media permeates every area of our lives, Meena and River's old-fashioned camaraderie through letters feels refreshing and true. Audiences will revel in this lovely story about a boy and girl who are not so different from one another after all.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
A finely detailed description of two separate worlds that demonstrates a deep well of shared humanity.
Readers will be held by the kids' challenges, along with the warm bond they share.
While at its heart a friendship story, this is also a celebration of writing, both as a means of processing emotions and as a vehicle for making the writer more observant of people and places, and both Meena and River come to appreciate and value the role the letter writing plays in their own lives over the course of their relationship. Readers who enjoy differing points of view will particularly enjoy this old-fashioned yet contemporary letter-writing exchange.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
SAME SUN HERE takes a novel approach to this topic and reveals to young readers how authentic conversation and trust between human beings can bring them together despite all that divides them.
Honest, poignant letters between two 12-year-old pen pals--one Kentucky born and raised, the other born in India and living in New York's Chinatown--demonstrate that the most important things in life are common among us all... A moving novel.
SAME SUN HERE by Silas House and Neela Vaswani is like a blast of air conditioning from an open door on a baking hot Manhattan day, at once refreshing, relieving, sweet and enlivening. With easy, commanding authority the authors wholly embody the voices of their two characters, far-flung pen pals River and Meena, delivering a story that wrenches the reader with its honesty, clarity and verve.
—The Rusty Key
Written for grades 5 and up, SAME SUN HERE tackles complex societal ills in a thoughtful, uplifting story frame that will captivate readers regardless of age.
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I read it and then immediately sent it to my 11 year old granddaughter. She loved it and has since obtained a pen pal! So many ideas can be shared through letters!!