for Saraswati's Way
by Monika Schröder
Twelve-year-old Akash hopes to earn a scholarship to continue his schooling but his grandmother sends him to work in a quarry to help pay the family’s debt after his father dies. Akash runs away and ends up living among the street children at the train station in Mumbai. He initially refuses to do anything illegal to make money. But Akash, a gifted math student, can’t ignore the numbers when another boy shows how much he can earn as a drug courier. Akash ultimately avoids becoming enmeshed in that dangerous world by his good judgment and honesty, which earn him the admiration and friendship of one of the train station vendors, who helps support him in his quest to return to school. Praying to Saraswati—the goddess of knowledge and wisdom—helps Akash hold on to his dream in this compelling novel featuring an appealing protagonist who succeeds against tremendous odds. Author Monika Schröder lives in India and her narrative is rich with details of place as she depicts the harsh lives of street children and the life-changing effects of compassion and kindness. The novel’s upbeat cover image is somewhat misleading but it does reflect Akash’s resiliency and the hopeful future suggested for him by story’s end. (Ages 10–14)
CCBC Choices 2011. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011. Used with permission.
If the gods wanted Akash to have an education, he is told, they would give him one. But Akash has spent his entire twelve years poor and hungry. So he decides to take control of his own life and try for a scholarship to the city school where he can pursue his beloved math. But will challenging destiny prove to be more than he has bargained for? In this raw and powerful novel, fate and self-determination come together in unexpected ways, offering an unsentimental look at the realities of India.
Saraswati's Way is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.