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#BookADay: EMBRACE THE CHICKEN by Mahtab Narsimhan (Orca Currents)

Reading any of Mahtab Narsimhan’s books always make me hungry for Indian food!

EMBRACE THE CHICKEN is part of the Orca Currents collection: “short, high-interest novels with contemporary themes written specifically for middle-school students reading below grade level. Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 5.0. Interest level ages 10-14.”

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Although I wasn’t quite as self-conscious as Shivani when I was her age, I do remember feeling nervous about how others at my school would react to my mother (whose English was not perfect). I remember being so surprised when I heard that her visit with the younger grades went really well during an “introduction to other cultures” event – apparently she taught them how to use chopsticks and had a challenge where they could keep all the jellybeans they could pick up with chopsticks in a certain amount of time; the event was a huge success, and I recall feeling ashamed that I was so surprised….one reason the ending in EMBRACE THE CHICKEN made me a wee bit teary-eyed.

I also highly recommend Mahtab’s other books, including Mission Mumbai: A Novel Of Sacred Cows, Snakes And Stolen Toilets (Scholastic Canada). Also check out her Advice For Young Writers, Treadmill Desks and MISSION MUMBAI post on my blog!

You can read a sample of EMBRACE THE CHICKEN on the author’s page.


“Even though she only left Mumbai a few months ago, Shivani isn’t feeling like such an outsider anymore. She likes her new school. She finally has a best friend. But when her mother volunteers for the school’s annual fundraiser, Shivani is sure she will completely embarrass her. Especially if she cooks one of the “stinky” dishes that Shivani loves but is too ashamed to eat in front of her friends. On the day of the fair, the moment Shivani walks into the gym she knows her worst fears have come true: the unmistakable scent of Indian spices is in the air. But then she sees that dozens of people are lined up at her mom’s stall. It’s the most popular one!”

Also see Debbie’s Reading Journal as well as Debbie’s Bookstagram.