Lowji Discovers America

( 2 )

Overview

Dear Jamshed,

American is not so different from what we thought. I told you I wouldn't see a single cowboy riding across the plain, and I haven't.

I have not even seen a plain.

Still there are some silver linings. They are:

1. Trapper and King, the cat and dog who live in the apartment building. They are ...

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Overview

Dear Jamshed,

American is not so different from what we thought. I told you I wouldn't see a single cowboy riding across the plain, and I haven't.

I have not even seen a plain.

Still there are some silver linings. They are:

1. Trapper and King, the cat and dog who live in the apartment building. They are cuddly and waggy. I am not allowed to play with them, though, because they are supposed to catch mice and keep burglars away.

2. Ironman. He owns a pig and talks to me a lot. But he is a grown-up.

3. Kids. I can hear them playing outside. Too bad they do not want to play with me.

I wish you were here.

Do you wish I was in India?

Write back soon.

Your friend,
Lowji

A nine-year-old East Indian boy tries to adjust to his new life in suburban America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fleming's (Ben Franklin's Almanac) warm if somewhat slow-paced novel introduces an affable nine-year-old narrator who moves with his parents from Bombay to Hamlet, Ill. Lowji immediately notes the differences between his old and new life: "Hamlet, I see, is small and quiet. I am not used to small and quiet.... I am used to honking cars and rattling trains and double-decker buses that raise clouds of hot, dry dust." The boy sorely misses his best friend and longs for a pet, but the cranky owner of their apartment building does not allow them. Lowji cleverly finds a way around this rule: after convincing Landlady Crisp to get a cat to catch the building's mice, a dog to scare off burglars who are breaking into homes in town and goats to help trim the grass while her lawn mower is broken, he volunteers to pet-sit. Though the boy and his family primarily spoke English in Bombay, Lowji enjoys using the new American expressions he learns, and sprinkles the narrative with Indian words (collected in a concluding glossary). In a happy development that readers will see coming, Lowji makes a friend in the end and is thrilled when the coriander and curry seeds he brought from his homeland finally sprout, proving-with satisfying symbolism-that plants from India can indeed "grow and flourish" in American soil. Ages 7-11. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Nine-year-old Lowji Sanjana faces a huge life change in this novel. He has always lived in Bombay, India, happily surrounded by loads of family and friends. Now he must move to America. His best friend Jamshed tries to help him find the silver lining. Maybe he can get the pet he has always wanted. But his new life in Hamlet, Illinois, does not bring him a pet or new friends. Everything seems strange and confusing. The small Bombay markets where you bargain are replaced by All-Mart where you find everything under one roof at fixed prices. And there are so many strange idioms. But Lowji is such a winning, cheery character that we know he will win friends soon and by book's end, he does. Throughout the book are details of Indian food, life, culture, religion, and language. These are used sparingly enough in a book filled with strange characters, interesting observations, and a young boy for whom we want happiness. 2005, Atheneum, Ages 8 to 10.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-The versatile Fleming has written a refreshingly light novel about a boy from Bombay who moves to a small town in Illinois at the beginning of summer vacation, so he's faced with no friends and nothing to do. Before long, though, he persuades his grouchy landlady to adopt a succession of animals (first a cat, then a dog, and finally a goat), rescues a pet pig that belongs to a very sweet tough guy, and wistfully watches a mysterious girl on a blue bicycle pass by his apartment. Told in first person in Lowji's slightly formal yet engaging voice, the story has a simple charm that glides over some well-worn comic territory (how often has a goat munched on a ruffled shirt stolen from a clothes line?). Interspersed throughout are letters to the boy's best friend in India, which show his gradual transition into his new world. Similar in tone to a classic like Henry Huggins, this book is nevertheless firmly set in the 21st century and opens a window to what may be an unfamiliar culture to many readers. The episodic structure lends itself to classroom or family read-alouds.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lowji has lived in Bombay with his Ma and Bape for his whole life. He loves his life in the big city in his modern high-rise apartment building, but he does not like one of the rules: NO PETS. When his mother gets a high-tech job in suburban Illinois, he moves away from his best friend, his school and his grandparents. Though he's disappointed to find that apartment rules are much the same anywhere, Lowji, always looking for the silver lining, comes up with a plan that leads to the addition of a working cat (for the mice) and dog (to discourage burglars) and even some goats (to mow the grass). There's nothing stereotypical about this family-the mother has the high-tech job and the father will find a job as a chef someday. Many interesting details of Indian food, clothes and culture are sprinkled comfortably through the story, including a discussion of the tenets of Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. This early-chapter book introduces a likable, lively boy, and readers will wonder how he fares in American schools. Let's hope for a sequel or two. (Glossary) (Fiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416958321
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 6/17/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 175,688
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Bye-Bye, Bombay

I am Lowji Sanjana. I am a kid. I used to live in the country of India, in the big city of Bombay, in an apartment building with my ma and my bape and NO PETS! That was the apartment building's rule: NO PETS!

But not long ago — just weeks after my ninth birthday — I learned we were moving...far away...across the ocean...to...

"America!" exclaimed Bape.

"America?" I gasped. I did not believe my ears!

How could I leave my grandmother and my grandfather? How could I leave my aunts and my uncles and my cousins? How could I leave my school and my best friend, Jamshed?

I started to cry.

Bape put his arms around me. "Look for the good in our move, Lowji," he said. "Find the silver lining."

I blew my nose. What silver lining? I could not find any silver lining.

It was my friend Jamshed who found some silver first.

"Lowji," he said. "In America you can finally have a dog! A dog who will sleep on your bed. A dog who will play ball with you."

"Yes," I said, slowly beginning to find some silver too. "And a cat! I can finally have a cat to cuddle with. A cat who will purr when I pet it."

"And," cried Jamshed, clapping his hands in excitement, "a horse!"

I raised my eyebrows. "A horse?"

"Of course," said Jamshed. "In America many people have horses for galloping across open plains and rounding up cows."

"How do you know this?" I asked.

"I saw it at the cinema," answered Jamshed.

"The cinema?" I thought about the American films I had seen lately. "I do not remember seeing any horses...or cattle...or plains."

"Well," admitted Jamshed, "it was an old movie. Really old. In black and white."

"Ah." I nodded. I had never thought of owning a horse before.

Later, when I asked Ma and Bape about having a dog and a cat and maybe even a horse in America, they said, "Najare padvum." That means "We will see" in Gujarati — the language we sometimes spoke in Bombay when we were not using English. And so I came to America with high hopes of becoming a pet owner.

And oh, how different things are here in America.

Different clothes!

Different foods!

Different faces!

One thing, however, has stayed the same. NO PETS are allowed in my new apartment either.

Already I have learned an American expression for how I feel about this: Bummer!

Copyright © 2005 by Candace Fleming

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First Chapter

Lowji Discovers America


By Candace Fleming

Atheneum Books

Copyright © 2005 Candace Fleming
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689862997

Chapter 1: Bye-Bye, Bombay

I am Lowji Sanjana. I am a kid. I used to live in the country of India, in the big city of Bombay, in an apartment building with my ma and my bape and NO PETS! That was the apartment building's rule: NO PETS!

But not long ago -- just weeks after my ninth birthday -- I learned we were moving...far away...across the ocean...to...

"America!" exclaimed Bape.

"America?" I gasped. I did not believe my ears!

How could I leave my grandmother and my grandfather? How could I leave my aunts and my uncles and my cousins? How could I leave my school and my best friend, Jamshed?

I started to cry.

Bape put his arms around me. "Look for the good in our move, Lowji," he said. "Find the silver lining."

I blew my nose. What silver lining? I could not find any silver lining.

It was my friend Jamshed who found some silver first.

"Lowji," he said. "In America you can finally have a dog! A dog who will sleep on your bed. A dog who will play ball with you."

"Yes," I said, slowly beginning to find some silver too. "And a cat! I can finally have a cat to cuddle with. A cat who will purr when I pet it."

"And," cried Jamshed, clapping his hands in excitement, "a horse!"

I raised my eyebrows. "Ahorse?"

"Of course," said Jamshed. "In America many people have horses for galloping across open plains and rounding up cows."

"How do you know this?" I asked.

"I saw it at the cinema," answered Jamshed.

"The cinema?" I thought about the American films I had seen lately. "I do not remember seeing any horses...or cattle...or plains."

"Well," admitted Jamshed, "it was an old movie. Really old. In black and white."

"Ah." I nodded. I had never thought of owning a horse before.

Later, when I asked Ma and Bape about having a dog and a cat and maybe even a horse in America, they said, "Najare padvum." That means "We will see" in Gujarati -- the language we sometimes spoke in Bombay when we were not using English. And so I came to America with high hopes of becoming a pet owner.

And oh, how different things are here in America.

Different clothes!

Different foods!

Different faces!

One thing, however, has stayed the same. NO PETS are allowed in my new apartment either.

Already I have learned an American expression for how I feel about this: Bummer!

Copyright © 2005 by Candace Fleming

Continues...


Excerpted from Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming Copyright © 2005 by Candace Fleming. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS

LOWJI DISCOVERS AMERICA

By Candace Fleming

ABOUT THE BOOK

For nearly nine-year-old Lowji, the move from big, busy Bombay, India, to Hamlet, Illinois, in America is beginning to seem like a bummer until he finds the "silver" (silver linings). What Lowji discovers first is that "No! No you can't have a pet," works no matter where he lives until he finds the "silver."

THEMES

Awareness of surroundings and situations; Persistence in seeking information and answers; Culture of India; Learning to compromise

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• In what ways did the glossary help you?

• Using clues from the story, describe Jamshed.

• What reasons can you give for the ways that the All Mart boys acted toward Lowji?

• Explain to adults like Lowji's parents why it was important for Lowji to respond as he did to Baseball Cap and the All Mart boys in the bowling alley.

• Predict and discuss what will happen during Lowji's first weeks at Hamlet Elementary School.

ACTIVITIES

• Lowji Discovers America tells of many adventures. Make a time line to show the problems or events that Lowji encounters and his solutions to them.

• Lowji is unsure about moving to America. His bape tells him to look for the silver linings. ° Explain what Bape means by silver linings. ° When you understand the meaning of silver linings, think of some examples from your own life where you tried to find the silver linings. ° Using a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer, compare Lowji's "silvers" with your own.

• The author has created a lively and interesting characterin Lowji. Write down Lowji's special characteristics. For example, what characteristics does Lowji display in the chapter, "Ironman" when he saves the pig?

• Lowji folded paper and created a "wish" bird. His paper folding is known as origami. Look for books on origami in your school library or public library. From books on origami and web sites you can learn to make your own "wish" bird and other creatures. Copier paper cut into squares works well when learning origami.

Suggested web sites: www.dltk-kids.com and www.tammyyee.com

• Lowji and his parents are newcomers to America. If they plan to stay here for the rest of their lives, they could also be called immigrants.

When we hear the word "immigrant" in the news, we may be reading someone's opinion about problems with the immigration of people into America. The treatment of people emigrating from India to America in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries was similar to what immigrating Hispanics are experiencing in the early years of the twenty-first century. In 1890 a congressman wanted to stop admitting people from India into America because, "They wore turbans, ate rice, and were not Christians." At that time people from India were usually called "Hindus." That word refers to just one of the many religions of India.

What do you know about immigrants? To find out more, get information from InfoTrac and SIRS Discoverer databases. Another good source for learning more about immigration is Appreciating America's Heritage from the American Immigration Law Foundation (www.ailf.org/teach). From the same source you can find a document from 2002 called The Passage from India. Appreciating America's Heritage is a curriculum guide for K-12, with activities and resources.¬

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Mary Ann Sadler

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin's Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, Gabriella's Song, and When Agnes Caws, all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

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Reading Group Guide

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS

LOWJI DISCOVERS AMERICA

By Candace Fleming

ABOUT THE BOOK

For nearly nine-year-old Lowji, the move from big, busy Bombay, India, to Hamlet, Illinois, in America is beginning to seem like a bummer until he finds the "silver" (silver linings). What Lowji discovers first is that "No! No you can't have a pet," works no matter where he lives until he finds the "silver."

THEMES

Awareness of surroundings and situations; Persistence in seeking information and answers; Culture of India; Learning to compromise

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• In what ways did the glossary help you?

• Using clues from the story, describe Jamshed.

• What reasons can you give for the ways that the All Mart boys acted toward Lowji?

• Explain to adults like Lowji's parents why it was important for Lowji to respond as he did to Baseball Cap and the All Mart boys in the bowling alley.

• Predict and discuss what will happen during Lowji's first weeks at Hamlet Elementary School.

ACTIVITIES

• Lowji Discovers America tells of many adventures. Make a time line to show the problems or events that Lowji encounters and his solutions to them.

• Lowji is unsure about moving to America. His bape tells him to look for the silver linings. ° Explain what Bape means by silver linings. ° When you understand the meaning of silver linings, think of some examples from your own life where you tried to find the silver linings. ° Using a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer, compare Lowji's "silvers" with your own.

• The author has created a lively and interesting character in Lowji. Write down Lowji's special characteristics. For example, what characteristics does Lowji display in the chapter, "Ironman" when he saves the pig?

• Lowji folded paper and created a "wish" bird. His paper folding is known as origami. Look for books on origami in your school library or public library. From books on origami and web sites you can learn to make your own "wish" bird and other creatures. Copier paper cut into squares works well when learning origami.

Suggested web sites: www.dltk-kids.com and www.tammyyee.com

• Lowji and his parents are newcomers to America. If they plan to stay here for the rest of their lives, they could also be called immigrants.

When we hear the word "immigrant" in the news, we may be reading someone's opinion about problems with the immigration of people into America. The treatment of people emigrating from India to America in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries was similar to what immigrating Hispanics are experiencing in the early years of the twenty-first century. In 1890 a congressman wanted to stop admitting people from India into America because, "They wore turbans, ate rice, and were not Christians." At that time people from India were usually called "Hindus." That word refers to just one of the many religions of India.

What do you know about immigrants? To find out more, get information from InfoTrac and SIRS Discoverer databases. Another good source for learning more about immigration is Appreciating America's Heritage from the American Immigration Law Foundation (www.ailf.org/teach). From the same source you can find a document from 2002 called The Passage from India. Appreciating America's Heritage is a curriculum guide for K-12, with activities and resources.¬

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Mary Ann Sadler

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles. Simon & Schuster

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Very good

    I love Candace Fleming! Can't wait for more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 13, 2009

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