Slumgirl Dreaming: Rubina's Journey to the Stars

Overview

My name is Rubina Ali. I don't know when my birthday is, and nor does my father, but I do know that I am nine years old.

Young Rubina is a one-in-a-million star. Plucked from among five hundred slumkids who auditioned for Danny Boyle's multi-Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, she saw her fairy-tale dream of stardom come true. Now that she has stepped into the limelight, what will life hold for a young girl from the Mumbai slums?

Rubina ...

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Slumgirl Dreaming: Rubina's Journey to the Stars

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Overview

My name is Rubina Ali. I don't know when my birthday is, and nor does my father, but I do know that I am nine years old.

Young Rubina is a one-in-a-million star. Plucked from among five hundred slumkids who auditioned for Danny Boyle's multi-Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, she saw her fairy-tale dream of stardom come true. Now that she has stepped into the limelight, what will life hold for a young girl from the Mumbai slums?

Rubina tells her own incredible story, bringing to life a world of wastelands and rat-infested shanty dwellings, where she played marbles with her friends beside the sewers of Garib Nagar. She introduces her beloved father, a hardworking rickshaw puller, and her siblings. And then Rubina tells of the kindness of Danny Boyle and of the time she spent on the film sets—including the hilarious incident when her costar came to be covered in chocolate from head to toe.

After her brief encounter with red-carpet glamour, how will Rubina come to terms with the conditions in which she, her family, and her friends continue to live since Hollywood came knocking? This is her compelling story.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Interview, People Magazine, September 21, 2009:
"Still living in Mumbai's slums after her taste of Hollywood, Rubina Ali, 9, has come out with a memoir."
Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Rubina Ali wrote her autobiography after her success as a child actress in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Five hundred children tried out for the part; however Rubina was chosen. She writes in an interesting and informative way and does not whitewash the unpleasant areas of her personal life and the conditions under which she lived before her success as a star. Poverty continued in her life after the film. The movie won eight Oscars. Rubina's pay for the film was limited; however she was given several beautiful dresses she wore to parties on her trip to Hollywood. She lived in first class hotels and received all the perks and benefits while attending the Oscar ceremonies. The film displays the slum squalor where Rubina lives and writes about in her book. After returning to India, she and another actor from the slums were given scholarships to attend a well respected school where she could learn English. Rubina's book describes the setting in Hollywood and the slums equally well. Children who read Rubina's book will have a deeper appreciation for America and how well disadvantaged citizens live here in America in comparison to India. Slumgirl Dreaming by Rubina Ali was written in collaboration with Anne Berthod and Divya Dugar. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—With help from two journalists, nine-year-old Ali tells an unusual tale. Although she grew up in the grim slums of Mumbai, her life was a fairly happy one, populated with friends, warm and loving siblings, and a devoted father. Then, almost by chance, she heard of a casting call for the movie Slumdog Millionaire and became one of just three children chosen from more than 500 applicants. As she recounts interesting moments during the movie's filming with childlike candor, readers are introduced not only to the grinding poverty she navigated daily, but also to India's larger cultural and socioeconomic landscape. The writing here has a journalistic feel. It is not poetic or especially nuanced. But in a sea of cookie-cutter biography series, this book stands out. It has heart, and is aimed at an age group that will identify with Ali in essential ways. Her descriptions of the Bandra East slum are gritty, a little yucky, and wholly compelling. Keeping in mind that most of the book's audience will not have seen the R-rated film, the book is still a worthwhile addition to most collections.—Tracy H. Chrenka, Forest Hills Public Schools, Grand Rapids, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385739085
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 788,068
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 11, 2011

    Her Name IS Rubina Ali .She don't know when her birthday is, and nor does her father, but she do know that she is nine years old.

    Her name is Rubina Ali.She is a one-in-a-million star ,After her breif ecoucounter with red-carpet glamour,how will Rubina come to terms with the conditions which she, her family,and her friends continue to live since Hollywood came knocking at her door she was the famous and as a slumgirl and she brought her slum friends a better home she was a good person who love every one.Half of the money from this book will go to a big chairty near her slum.Some of the book's earnings will buy her dance lessons,singing lessons, and even a acting teacher to teach her every thing an actress should know.She just want to be the best that she can be since she really dont have no child life and she want the best for her culture cause they dont have nothin.

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  • Posted October 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for Teens Read Too

    Did you see the movie Slumdog Millionaire? Depending on your age, maybe not as it's a rated "R" film. But it did win the Oscar for Best Movie in 2008. One of the actresses in the movie was Rubina Ali, an 8-year-old girl born in the slums of India. SLUMGIRL DREAMING tells Rubina's exciting story from the auditions for Slumdog Millionaire through the crazy time of the Oscars. Rubina shares her positive attitude and her amazement at the world around her. Rubina lives in a one-room shack built from whatever they could find- sheet metal, wooden planks, plastic, anything - in the Bandra East slums. Her house has no plumbing, no running water, and no bathroom. Nor does it belong to her family. It's on government land. They do have electricity, and a television is their only real extravagance. The streets outside are covered in litter and excrement. It's not a very safe or healthy place to live, but it's all she knows. One day, a neighbor asked Rubina if she wanted to audition for a movie. Rubina loved television and wanted to be a star and could think of nothing better. Against 500 other Indian children, Rubina won the role of the young Latika. Though it was only a month of filming, it was all Rubina needed to know acting was what she wanted. Through her role from Slumdog Millionaire, Rubina got to travel to other parts of India (she had never ventured very far from her slum until then) and even flew on a plane to attend the Oscars in Hollywood. Rubina became famous in her slum. But after her travels and staying in hotels that had bathrooms and - more importantly to Rubina, pools! - she had a hard time returning to her squalid living conditions. Told in such an innocent voice, SLUMGIRL DREAMING was an amazing look at life in a land totally different from what is known in America. Even in our poor neighborhoods, life is never as bleak as it is for Rubina on a daily basis. Rubina and those around her live in conditions that one would think stopped existing in the Middle Ages. Reading Rubina's struggle to achieve her dreams at such an early age and under such circumstances is very inspiring and heartwarming.

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