Bringing Asha Home
By Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrations by Jamel Akib
About the book:
It’s Rakhi, the Hindu holiday special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a sister with whom to celebrate. Soon it looks as if his wish will come true. His parents are going to adopt a baby girl named Asha. She is coming all the way from India, where Arun’s dad was born.
With warmth and honestly, this tender story taps into the feelings of longing, love and joy that adoption brings to many families. Readers will find reassurance knowing there is more than one way to become part of a loving family.
About the author:
Uma Krishnaswami is the author of several books for young readers, including The Happiest Tree, a CCBC “Choices” selection published by Lee & Low Books, and Monsoon, a Parents’ Choice Recommended book. The inspiration for Bringing Asha Home came from stories Krishnaswami gathered from families who adopted children from India. She and her husband live in Aztec, New Mexico. They have one son.
About the illustrator:
Jamel Akib is the illustrator of Krishnaswami’s Monsoon, for which he won the Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for Illustration. His award-winning work has also appeared in numerous museum and gallery shows in England, including several Best of British Illustration exhibitions. A full-time illustrator of English and Malaysian ancestry, Akib now lives with his family in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England.
Author Interview: (send back your answers and I’ll post them with the guide on my stie too!)
- What is the best part of being a children’s author?
The audience. Young people are honest and unpretentious readers.
- How do you know if an idea will become a book?
Quite often, I don’t. The only way to find out is to keep testing the idea, writing it out in every way I know, until it begins to form a narrative. Or not.
- What do you like most about the writing process? Which part is most difficult for you?
I love the times when I’ve just completed a draft and can begin the process of reworking it and developing it. The middle of a first draft is always difficult and labored for me. It’s the stage at which many ideas fail to measure up to their potential.
- What advice do you have for young writers?
Just show up. Show up to the story, the idea, write without worrying about whether it’s any good. Know that it often won’t be. If you write often enough, and thoughtfully enough, and if you also read a wide range of books, your writing will grow.
- What are you working on next?
Two new picture book manuscripts and a middle grade novel. I usually try to juggle two or three pieces at a time. That way if I get stuck I feel as if I have a backup plan.
Show children the book cover and then ask: What do you think this story is about? What clues do you have? Can you guess who is Asha? Who would you guess is the narrator of the story? Why?
- What is Rakhi? Why does Arun want a sister of his own?
- What country will Arun’s father fly to?
- Why must the family wait such a long time? Would you be good at waiting this long? Why or why not?
- What does Arun pretend to do with his paper airplanes? What do you like to pretend?
- Describe how the family celebrates Asha’s first birthday.
- Arun worries his sister will cry a lot like Michael’s sister does. Do all babies cry a lot?
- What does Arun send with his father to India? What does baby Asha bring Arun?
- Arun says, “I am tired of being patient.” Have you ever felt like this before? When?
- How does the family prepare for baby’s arrival? What do all babies need to grow?
- Why is adoption important? What does it do?
Across the curriculum:
Write letters from Arun to his sister, Asha. Tell what is happening in their home while they wait for the baby. Include pictures.[U1]
Sing this song (or even try a round) about the book to the tune “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”
Can you write other verses that go with the story too?
Daddy flies off to India
To India, to India,
Daddy flies off to India
To bring dear Asha home
Create a pamphlet or poster about India. With the help of a parent find out: location on a world map, population, languages spoken, holidays and celebrations, religions, climate, and foods.
Ask at least 30 people the following question: How many siblings do you have? Then graph the results in at least two different ways. Discuss your results in class.
This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and author of Reaching for Sun from Bloosmbury Books. Visit her website to find hundreds of guides to children’s literature.