Arun makes a wish for a baby sister on the Indian holiday of Rakhi, a day when "brothers and sisters promise to be good to each other, and everyone eats special sweets." He is delighted when his parents tell him they are adopting a baby girl from India. However, the process is long and readers feel eight-year-old Arun's sense of anticipation as he waits a whole year for Asha to arrive from India. During the year, he makes paper airplanes and when he flies them he pretends they are the planes that will carry his father to India and then return him to America with Asha. The well-paced story comes full circle when Arun sees Asha at the airport and she is wearing a rakhi, a shiny bracelet attached to the paper airplane he made for her. Arun's excitement about his new sister and the frustrations of having to wait so long are on target for a child his age. The illustrations, softly done in warm tones, reflect the warmth and family love present in the story. Children waiting for siblings from other countries will identify with Arun. This is an equally good book for those who have been adopted. They will feel how special they are to their families. Children who have friends who have been adopted from other countries will not only enjoy the story but will glean a better understanding about their friends' experiences. This is a good book to include in a story hour about families.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Just a couple of months after Arun wishes he had a sister with whom to celebrate Rakhi Day, his parents announce that they are adopting a girl. As he awaits his new sibling's arrival, he carefully crafts a special paper airplane, pretending that it is flying to India to bring her home. After more waiting, Dad finally retrieves Asha, who gives Arun the rakhi bracelet she clung to during the flight. An author's note provides additional details about adoption and the North Indian Hindu holiday that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, symbolized by a bracelet given by the sister. Realistic illustrations spread across the pages in muted colors and show well the characters' range of emotions, but Arun's adultlike narration does not match the innocence of his actions. While the text states that Arun is eight, his size seems to vary from picture to picture. Although Krishnaswami does add a unique perspective to a genre largely focused on Chinese adoptions, Janet Morgan Stoeke's Waiting for May (Dutton, 2005), Jean Davies Okimoto's The White Swan Express (Clarion, 2002), and Ed Young's My Mei Mei (Philomel, 2006) more fully describe the adoptive family's process.-Julie R. Ranelli, Kent Island Branch Library, Stevensville, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
On Rakhi Day in August, Arun explains the Indian holiday to his best friend Michael and tells him that it celebrates the bond of brothers and sisters. Arun wishes he had a sister, and in October, his parents tell him that they are going to adopt a baby girl named Asha from his father's birthplace, India. Arun loves making paper airplanes and pretends that they are flying his sister home to him. As the months come and go, pictures arrive in the mail, but telephone calls let the family know that the paperwork is not yet through. Finally, during the summer, the letter the family has been waiting for arrives. Arun's dad flies off to pick Asha up, carrying with him a colorful airplane Arun has made for his new sister. Father and daughter arrive home with a special gift for Arun-a rakhi, a special bracelet for him to wear on Rakhi Day. Appealing illustrations and warm, clear text make this story of a biracial family-Arun's mother is white and his father is Indian-and international adoption a good choice for any collection. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)