Written by: Mitali Perkins
For ages: YA Book
Language: English, some Bangla.
Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Bangladeshi Culture & Traditions, Environmental Activism, Education, Social-Emotional Development.
Summary: The span of the plot in this story is only a few days, but the growth of the main character Neel seems much bigger than that. Neel is a gifted student and has been given the opportunity to take a huge exam in attempt to win a scholarship for a school a few hours from his small island village. Neel is resistant, because he doesn’t like math. He also wants to stay in his village and learn to live off the land and carpentry skills like his father. Neel’s father currently works for a rich but mean man named Gupta. When a baby tiger escapes from the local nature reserve, Neel and his friends learn that Gupta plans to catch the cub and sell it on the black market. Neel and his sister Rupa decide they must catch the cub and return it, because they have learned from their father to honor and protect nature. During their nighttime searches, Neel also learns the value of the math he doesn’t want to study for when he draws a map of the island to look for hiding spots that the tiger might be living in. The plot is driven by the fact that Neel and Rupa’s father is being paid by Gupta to hunt for the cub, because he wants to pay for a tutor for Neel. Upon discovering the cub in a cave, Neel and Rupa race to the shore where there are small boats they can row over to return the cub. We won’t spoil the end of the book, but Neel learns that he must leave his small village for a short amount of time in order to be able to return, armed with the knowledge to keep his village’s flora and fauna healthy and safe. Great read!
About the Author & the Illustrator: