November 8th, 2015 by Karen
A few years ago, I read and really enjoyed Mitali Perkins’ book, Bamboo People. Part of it was my personal connection to Burma, the country where the story takes place. But I would also recommend Mitali Perkins’ newest book, Tiger Boy — and I don’t have any connection to the setting or the lives of the characters in this story.
The book takes place in the Sunderbans, islands off the coast of India. Neel lives there with his parents and his older sister, and he loves it. He never wants to leave. But his school headmaster has nominated him for a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school in Kolkata, far from his family and friends.
For Neel, it’s pretty easy to ignore the possible scholarship because he’s not great at math, and that will prevent him from getting the scholarship. But the pressure from his headmaster and his family weighs on him.
To add to the stress, a tiger cub has escaped from the nearby nature reserve and is lost somewhere on the island. Neel is determined to find the baby tiger before the poachers do. But can he find a way to the tiger without his parents discovering what he’s up to?
I really liked having this window into life on the Sunderbans. I had never heard of the islands before reading this book, and it was interesting to learn about them. But this book wasn’t just an educational experience — I also got pulled into Neel’s story. I felt his frustration at the powerful and selfish man who is also his dad’s boss, his desperation to save the tiger cub, his doubt about the scholarship…
I’d recommend Tiger Boy for fans of The Breadwinner, A Long Walk to Water, and Shadow Spinner.
Have you ever been to India? Do you want to visit someday? Leave a comment with a foreign country you’d like to see!
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Review copy from the publisher.