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Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria…

Small Acts of Amazing Courage

by Gloria Whelan

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THe life of a fifteen year old Britsh girl living in India prior to India's freedom from Britian. ( )
  lindamamak | Jun 24, 2014 |
Beautifully written, completely engaging, and absolutely delightful. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Rosaline (Rosy) James is English. She was born and raised in India. Her mother is in frail health and her father is an officer in the British Army. Although most English children return to England for a proper education at age 7 or 8, Rosy has remained with her parents do to the death of her brother shortly before she was born.
Rosy is headstrong and an independent thinker. She associates freely with the servants and wants to make a differnece inthis poor country. Rosy breaks with social norms rescuing an infant sold into slavery, visting the bazaar unchaperoned, andwanting to see Gandhi speak (which is close to treason in some eyes).
This rich novel is a trip through time and across the globe as seen through the eyes of a young woman coming to age during the British Empire. Recommended for grades 5 and up. ( )
  kcousey | Jul 4, 2011 |
This review first appeared on my blog: http://www.knittingandsundries.com/2011/04/egalley-wednesday-april-27-2011-small...

FIRST SENTENCE: How can kindness get you into so much trouble?

Set in colonial India, beginning in 1919, this is the story of 15-year-old Rosalind James. Her father is a major in the British Indian Army, and is away for months at a time. Almost all British colonials living in India sent their children back to England when they were 7 or 8 years old for school, but Edward, Rosalind's only brother, had been sent back to school when he was 7, and died of dyptheria his first year at school. In order to keep his wife happy, her father Harlan allows her to stay on in India.

But Rosalind is anything but a "proper English girl". She finds the girls at the club boring, and sneaks off to the bazaar with her Indian friend Isha as often as she can. When she meets Mrs. Nelson, an unconventional Englishwoman who thinks "ordinary" is overrated and runs an Indian orphanage, at the club, she also meets her son Max, who served under her father. Max is fascinated with Ghandi and his Congress Party that advocates Indian independence. Rosalind's friend Isha is married to man who is active in the Congress Party as well.

As Rosalind works to figure out what is right and what is wrong, and her father does what he can to make certain that she doesn't meddle in Indian affairs, the reader is pulled along, and the story of colonial India comes to life in an illuminating fashion.

This adult reader loved this book, geared towards middle readers (ages 9-12). I would also honestly recommend it for teachers, parents, and home schoolers, as it gives an understandable and compelling overview of the events that precipitated India's independence, all told from the point of view of a young girl with a good heart.

QUOTE (from a galley; may be different in final copy):

"What happened in Amritsar?" I asked, wanting to know his version, for Isha had whispered to me that in the city of Amritsar, thousands of Indians had gathered to celebrate a festival. The British Army believed the Indian people were there not to celebrate but to demonstrate against British rule. The soldiers had been ordered to shoot, and hundreds of Indians had died. ( )
  jewelknits | Apr 27, 2011 |
Fifteen-year-old Rosalind was born in India to British parents. Unlike most British children in early 20th century India, she was not sent home to England to be educated, because her older brother died while at school in England and her mother couldn't bear to send another child away after that. Rosalind has had a lot of freedom the past couple of years, because her father, an army officer, was away fighting in World War I, and her mother has health problems and couldn't pay much attention to her. So she has been free to spend time with her best friend, Isha, who is Indian, and visit the bazaar in town.

But now that it is 1919, and the war is over and her father is home, he is unhappy that Rosalind was given so much freedom. He thinks she should only associate with other British people. He thinks anything else would be a bad influence on her, because he fears a rebellion now that the movement for Indian self-government is growing. Fearing that Rosalind has become too concerned with the plight of the Indian people, her father decides to send her to England where she will live with her two aunts and attend school. Rosalind doesn't want to leave India but she has no choice. How will she bear living so far away in a cold country with relatives she has never met? Will she ever be able to return to her beloved India?

Gloria Whelan has been one of my favorite writers of historical fiction for many years now. Her books always have really interesting and unique historical settings and wonderful characters. Small Acts of Amazing Courage is no exception. Rosalind was a very likable and sympathetic main character. She had a good heart and just wanted to help people, yet found herself in trouble with her strict father, who didn't understand why she would want to save an Indian baby, or hear the famous Gandhi speak, leading to her being sent away from everything she knew and loved. I highly recommend this book and others by Gloria Whelan to any reader who enjoys historical fiction. ( )
  rebecca191 | Feb 5, 2011 |
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In 1919, independent-minded fifteen-year-old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent "home" to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.… (more)

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