The Sunita Experiment

 
The Not So Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen | Little Brown | Grades 5-8

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In this first novel about cultural discovery, thirteen-year-old Sunita finds herself resenting her Indian heritage when her grandparents come for a visit from India to California. She's embarrassed by the differences she feels between herself and her friends, but she's in for some surprises as she gets to know her grandparents — and herself.

Use the Classroom Discussion Guide.

The original hardcover. Love it.
  AWARDS

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
An ALA Recommended Book for the Reluctant Young Reader
Winner, Christian Schools Association's Lamplighter Award
CBC Notable Children's Social Studies Book
Nominated for the Mark Twain Award
Children's Book Council Summer Showcase Title
A California State Eureka! Title
Selected for Scholastic Book Fairs and Scholastic Book Club

The French edition.
REVIEWS

"Perkins combines her fresh, unaffected prose with moving bits of Indian poetry and lore, rendering this well-thought-out investigation of cultural identity doubly moving. Colorful material about Indian customs, language and religion is sturdily woven into a funny, honest and homespun story." — Publisher's Weekly

"This novel realistically addresses numerous issues, including Sunita's temporary rejection of an African-American classmate when both girls are referred to as 'colored.' Her adolescent angst over social acceptance, family discord, and personal identity will be familiar to readers; positive solutions and role models are presented for dealing with cultural differences, peer relationships, and domestic problems." — School Library Journal
A bit dated, but kind of cute,
don't you think?

"Mitali Perkins was born in India and grew up in California ... There are genuine insights here." — New York Times

"A perceptive and insightful book that will strike chords in most readers." — Horn Book

"A sweet story of family ties and peer pressure, and the misunderstandings that develop from lack of communication." — Bookloons.com

"This book paints a fun, yet sympathetic picture of a teenager who is trying to fit into two different worlds. Many teens will be able to identify with Sunita's search for herself, regardless of their own cultural backgrounds. This book would make a fine addition to any young adult collection." — Myshelf.com

"...Mitali Perkins makes tangible the ups and downs of American children from non-Western families. Gentle and palatable, the lessons are offered with compassion and easily absorbed insights." — Kirkus

"Written from a background not unlike Sunita's, (the novel) deftly combines common adolescent themes with deeper concerns. Sunita...is a believable adolescent in her emotions and responses." — Quill and Quire

"...There is plenty to offer in Mitali Perkins' story-telling. The relationship between Sunita and Dadu (her grandfather) is especially sweet, and their dialogue delightfully juxtaposes their different upbringings." — Asian Review of Books on the Web