Paula J. Freedman's young adult novel MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH has been named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013:
"The latest spunky heroine of South Asian–Jewish heritage to grace middle-grade fiction, Tara Feinstein, 12, charms readers from the get-go in this strong, funny debut." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Other Praise for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah "Tara’s inquisitiveness, openness, and determination to chart her own path stand out in this warm story of family, faith and the ways people are unique yet intertwined." —Publishers Weekly
"This story will have resonance for many children of many faiths at the cusp of religious adulthood." —Booklist
"As she makes her way through these challenges, she learns a great deal about friendship, family, and heritage. Freedman handles the ethnic and religious diversity of Tara’s family and friends with a light touch, but doesn’t shrink from exploring some of the complexities of a dual heritage." —School Library Journal
About the book During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O—who might also be her boyfriend—and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. With the cross-cultural charm of Bend It Like Beckham, this delightful debut novel is a classic coming-of-age story and young romance with universal appeal.
About the author Paula J. Freedman has another career in digital media, making websites for a well-known children’s publisher, a TV network, and assorted others. She’s pretty much the same person she was in middle school, only nicer and with less acne. She lives with her husband and two parrots in New York City.
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