From the author of American as Paneer Pie comes a magical middle grade adventure steeped in Indian folklore following a girl who learns how to find her voice and face her fears, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Amina’s Song.
Ten-year-old Geetanjali doesn’t mind singing, but she knows she’ll never be as good as her mother, Aai, or grandmother, Aaji, famous classical singers from India whose celebrity has followed the family all the way to their small town of Deadwood, Michigan, where Geetanjali lives with her aai, and father, Baba.
After freezing on stage during a concert performance, Geetanjali adds “fear of singing” to her list of fears, a list that seems to be multiplying daily. Aai tries to stress the importance of using one’s voice and continuing to sing; Geetanjali hopes that when her Aaji, comes to visit this summer, she’ll be able to help her.
But when they pick Aaji up at the airport, she’s not alone. Lata, an auntie Geetanjali has never met before is with Aaji and their neighbor, Heena Auntie, who is acting strange and mean, and not like the warm auntie she normally is. Lata Auntie has heard all about Geetanjali’s family, growing up in India. She knows Aai and Aaji are the only ones who can sing raag Naagshakti. Aai plays it off, but Geetanjali thinks back to the raag in the binder that started with an N that had been torn out. She has never heard of Raag Naagshakti, which sounds like it is about the power of cobras.
Geetanjali is determined not to let her imagination get the best of her and add aunties to her list of fears, but she can’t help but wonder about the connection between the missing raag, Heena Auntie’s cold behavior, and their interesting summer visitor.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Midwest, Supriya Kelkar learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. She is a screenwriter who has worked on the writing teams for several Hindi films and one Hollywood feature. Supriya’s books include Ahimsa, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, American as Paneer Pie, and That Thing about Bollywood, among others. Visit her online at SupriyaKelkar.com.
"The book digs into changing family dynamics, grief and healing, tween fears, and culture and belonging, among other topics...the strong pace and the relationships between the vivid characters, both Geetanjali’s Marathi family members and others, come together to make this story immensely readable.
An absorbing story that has music at its heart." — Kirkus Reviews
"Kelkar’s (That Thing about Bollywood, 2021) latest middle-grade adventure is colored by magic, mystery, and a lovable, fierce heroine in 10-year-old Geetanjali, whose adventures readers will enjoy following as she discovers more about herself and takes pride in her achievements...[f]illed with Indian folklore and mythology and memorable characters, this voice-y middle-grade romp will be relatable to anyone who’s ever felt nervous about new experiences or family expectations." — Booklist
"Kelkar (Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame) centers Indian culture and folklore in a first-person narrative that keenly describes oppressive feelings of guilt and anxiety. Seemingly random details culminate in a layered conclusion that vindicates a persevering heroine realizing her own strength." — Publishers Weekly