Cross-cultural relations is sometimes a tough road to cross. There are so many things about other cultures that we don’t understand. It’s so easy to make mistakes that can sever relationships. A Place at the Table gives us two young ladies who are learning to ask questions, open their hearts, and learn how to stand up for each other. A most excellent read for middle schoolers and up! Come, read my review! (affiliate links will be used)
What I am Reviewing
Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan have written an excellent book with A Place at the Table. A careful look into immigrant and inclusion issues within a community. With well-developed characters, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books has published an excellent read for youth 10-12 years old. 320 pages of alternating chapters, you really couldn’t tell who was writing from one chapter to the next. Good drama fills the pages, the kind that encourages students to look deep into the ideas presented.
I am reviewing an ARC copy on behalf of Raincoast Books.
The Details for A Place at the Table
From the Cover:
Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners . . . but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?
I love the flowers that open each chapter, the easy flow between the authors chapters, and the growth found within. The character development was excellent, the life experiences real, and the competition result wasn’t easily predicted which I loved! The girls made real errors in judgement and from that learned how to really be friends, even when it was tough.
Should you get A Place at the Table?
I can see middle school readers, plus their moms loving this story. I don’t know if most boys will love it as much. It’s feelings and good drama between female protagonists named Elizabeth and Sara. One of them is English/Jewish and the other is Pakistani/Muslim. How can they take an uneasy partnership and turn it into a friendship?
It’s a wonderful book about the art of friendship. Learning to speak truth and open oneself up for understanding. Not easy things to learn in sixth grade, or for that matter, any age. It’s hard to open yourself up for potential hurt from others AND to learn how to prevent hurt in new friends.