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Mira in the Present Tense

by Sita Brahmachari

Published by U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013
284 pages
ISBN: 978𢠪075-51493

Ages 10-13

Mira抯 twelfth birthday is bittersweet. It抯 the day she starts her period. And it抯 the day her beloved grandmother抯 coffin arrives. Nana Josie hasn抰 died, but she抯 terminally ill with cancer and has ordered the plain coffin so she and Mira can paint it with images of things she loves. It抯 one of the ways Nana Josie is very open about dying. Sometimes too open, as far as Mira is concerned梚t can be a little overwhelming. At school, Mira, who is very quiet, begins to find her voice條iterally and on the page梩hrough a writing workshop led by a local author. One of the other participants is a boy named Jide, and the two of them discover they like each other, a lot. The excitement of these new feelings are something Mira enjoys even as she struggles with Nana Josie抯 illness. When Nana Josie goes into hospice, though, it all begins to feel like too much. Sita Brahmachari抯 novel about a biracial (East Indian/white) girl in Britain is a deeply moving look at an entire family moving through the experience of loss and grieving. But the author deftly balances this with moments of lightness, and skillfully handles the sorrow, including a subplot about Jide, who has a profound understanding of loss as a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Richly developed characters full of individuality, including some charming quirks, deeply ground this fine story.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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