Score: 95/100 (9.5 out of 10)
Dancing Deepa is a phenomenal children's book by Suchi Sairam that also excels at being inspirational, educational, and multi-cultural!
This book is so good, it will even have you pronouncing Bharatanatyam correctly!
We are enormously impressed and pleasantly surprised by this book, we can't say that enough! What Suchi Sairam achieved in crafting this is remarkable. We commend her for being able to tactfully weave so many different and complex themes and make them simple, digestible, and understandable for kids. That's an art in itself.
This book covers such themes and topics as self-doubt, timidity, shyness, self-confidence, self-expression, culture, dance, and performing arts.
The book follows the titular character, Deepa, a 4th grade student from India who appears to be immigrating to the United States with her family. Deepa is very impressed and passionate about traditional Indian dance, particularly Bharatanatyam. Deepa is inspired by auditions for a talent show after seeing some of the other dances and performing arts that are represented. She fantasizes about being able to share her culture and unique form of dance with her school and classmates, but she is crippled by fear and anxiety of what they would think and say. She becomes discouraged, like many of us would be in her situation. Her teacher, Miss Molina, sees that Deepa is in need of a pep talk and a new opportunity, so she schedules her to perform for the class.
Deepa, as expected, does a lot better than expected. What's really telling though is how her classmates react: with amazement, fascination, wonder, support, and encouragement! It's really powerful, actually.
Something rather beautiful about this book is how conversational and sentimental it is. The author, through Deepa, seems to be communicating directly to the reader. It's actually quite nice and intimate. She knows that Bharatanatyam might be a tough word for American English-speakers to say and pronounce, so she acknowledges that and guides the reader through it like a friend would.
Last but not least, the art is exactly what it needs to be. The art is really nice, pleasant, and appealing.
All in all, this is an excellent children's book. That's why it achieves are highest rating ever for its category.
Check this out on Amazon!