You Bring the Distant Near

by Mitali Perkins

Three generations of women in a Bengali American family are given voice in this expansive... read more

Three generations of women in a Bengali American family are given voice in this expansive work. Sisters Tara and Sonia came to the United States with their parents as teens in the 1970s after living first in Ghana, then in London. The two couldn’t be more different from each other, and from their traditional mother, Ranee. Beautiful Tara loves acting and expects to be a screen star, while bookish Sonia just wants some peace and quiet to pursue her reading and writing. Both girls have their own ways of assimilating into American life in the early 1970s—Sonia takes an interest in racial politics and the women’s movement, even though neither makes her particularly popular, including at home, while Tara tries to fit in by acting like Marcia Brady, with a fair degree of success. Flash forward a generation, and both girls are now grown women with teenage daughters of their own. Anna and biracial (Indian/Black) Chantal are each taking on the world in her own way in high school, and each is beloved by her grandmother, Ranee. Over the span of her daughters’ and then her granddaughters’ lives, Ranee transforms as she figures out what matters most to her from tradition, while also moving beyond longheld prejudices in this deep, eloquent exploration of race, gender, culture, generational divides, and the connections that can bridge all manner of distances. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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