School Library Journal Reviews "In Andal's House"
In this introduction to the Hindu caste system, Kumar is invited to his friend Andal’s house to watch the fireworks for the celebration of Diwali. Andal is high-caste Brahmin, and his family is very wealthy. Kumar’s family had been outcasts and are concerned about the visit. Kumar is the best student in his class and believes that is why Andal invited him. When he arrives at his friend’s large home, he is met by Andal’s grandmother, who tells him, “we cannot have a boy of no caste in our home. It would never do.” Kumar returns home to his grandfather, who explains how things used to be and that at least now there are laws against discrimination that make everyone equal. He reminds his grandson that it wasn’t Andal who turned him away. The story ends with Kumar feeling hopeful about his future as he dreams of the Diwali lamps lighting up the darkness. This picture book has vibrant and colorful artwork. It will have a place in collections that want to show how discrimination of any kind adversely affects young people. Readers will also see in Kumar the power of perseverance.
—Nancy Jo Lambert, Ruth Borchardt Elementary, Plano, TX