Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homeless Bird

Last week we finished another read aloud. The book we read, which is a National Book Award recipient, was called "Homeless Bird" by Gloria Whelan. We started reading this book while we were studying India. WONDERFUL book. I wondered if it was going to be too "old" for the younger children but they both enjoyed it.

This book is just loaded with true facts about the Indian culture and if you have daughters it will give them a pretty honest look at what life as a Brahamin girl would look like. Kohly is just 13 when her marriage is arranged and she is forced to become married to Hari. As if marrying at the age of 13 is not enough, she must reside with the groom's family and shortly discovers that her husband is very sickly. Hari is so sick that Koly is quickly made a widow and must continue living with his family. Eventually her father in law passes away making her "Sass" a widow as well. The two widows travel together to live with the brother of Sass. During their travels they must stop in the city of Vrindavan, the city of widows, where Koly is left alone on the streets.

This book is a sweet story of hardship, relationship conflicts, achievement and perseverance. There was only one small part of the book (literally 2 pages at most) that I chose to skip over. Koly gets mixed up with a girl who does drugs. Although my 11 year old would be at the age to hear about a topic like that, my 7 year old and 5 year old are not, so I just omitted it and it did not alter the story for them.

All of my girls liked this book, as did their mom! While searching for a photo for this entry I discovered a site about the author, Gloria Whelan, which provides information about the inspiration of the story and factual information that would be useful if you have no knowledge about the Indian customs. In addition, I discovered a free study guide for the book. Of course I discovered it AFTER we completed the book.

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