Naming Maya
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Naming Maya

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  11 reviews
West meets East

Although Maya has done her best to avoid it, she is spending part of her summer in Chennai, India, with her mother, who is trying to sell her grandfather's old house. Soon Maya is drawn into a complicated friendship with eccentric Kamala Mami, who has been a housekeeper and cook for years in Maya's extended family. At the same time, Maya is thrust into an oc...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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This middle grade novel pulled me in. I felt like I was walking the streets of India and was in Maya's house while I was reading. This story has a great emotional plotline and a very realistic climax. Krishnaswami reaches deep into the heart of what real kids feel.

Written in first person, present tense, this is a good example of how to write in present tense.
It deals with issues of belonging and shows an illness of an elderly friend.
Great book.
Krishnaswami is a master of tangible and sensory detail, bringing India from being just a place on the map to a real environment. The story is intricately woven with threads of familial relationships, memories, and stories, covering topics of divorce, mother/daughter relationships, cultural differences, growing old, and Alzheimers.
Publisher:Farrar Straus Gioux
Year: 2004
Interest Level: 4-6
Reading Level: 4-6

This novel is a great novel for pre-teen girls. While girls who come from multicultural backgrounds might be able to appreciate a little more, I think many girls will find aspects with which they connect. The main character, Maya, goes to India with her mother and learns more about who she is and her family's history. Part of the emotional backdrop of this story is how she handles her parents' divorce, but it is not as m...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2013 Abby added it
Aztec, New Mexico is very...special...from its misguided name to its annual UFO conference. It has your basic contingent of old grumpy ranchers and oilmen, but also more than its fair share of eccentrics. And it has Uma Krishnaswami, who is not just a local yokel but a talented and professional producer of children's literature. Needless to say, I have idolized her growing up. Your basic San Juan County rock star.

Naming Maya is a highly enjoyable middle grade novel, readable and well-matched to...more
Maya and her mother travel back to India to sell her grandfather's house. Maya isn't super excited about spending most of her summer in India, but quickly makes friends with her cousin and spends time with the housekeeper who has worked with the family for generations, Kamala Mami. It takes Maya's friendship with the housekeeper to discover that Kamala Mami has secrets and is in need of help.
This was short and sweet, but the characters didn't seem very developed, including Maya. Under the theme...more
Shaeley Santiago
When Maya and her recently divorced mother return to India to sell her thatha's (grandfather) house, she learns more about herself and her mother than she could have imagined. "I am beginning to see that the stories of people's lives are like the ocean waves Sumati and I watched at the beach, lapping endless shoes constantly moving, changing. This summer I feel filled to overflowing with Mami's stories, because of how alive they are, how deep and dark and scary-beautiful," p. 136.
Debbie Graham
Did a very good job showing emotions and mindset of a child torn between cultures and also showing conflict between traditions and economic change in India. Also show how many problems faced in America are also the same in other parts of the world -something we often forget.
Jun 05, 2011 Jane added it
Maya and her mother return to India to prepare the homestead for sale. Story of Mami, sort of housekeeper, and her decline into dementia, Maya's relatives in India and the sadness of her parents' divorce.
I liked it well enough: it culminated nicely in the end, but it did take a little too long to get to the point. Will be an interesting discussion at book club this weekend.
A good book, a peek into Tamil culture in India. Modern, child's perspective of an older adult perhaps having Alzheimer's.
Deena Wiggins
Deena Wiggins marked it as to-read
May 29, 2014
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Nov 03, 2013
Anjana Dinesh
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Oct 24, 2013
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May 21, 2013
Kokie marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2013
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