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Keeping Corner

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,698 ratings  ·  296 reviews
Pretty as a peacock, twelve-year-old Leela has been spoiled all her life. She doesn't care for school and barely marks the growing unrest between the British colonists and her own countrymen. Why should she? Her future has been planned since her engagement at two and marriage at nine.

Leela's whole life changes, though, when her husband dies. She's now expected to behave li

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,698 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Amanda
I picked this book up looking for a glimpse into the Indian caste system. It was in the YA section of my library which I believe is incorrect. If this is a YA book, it is a young YA book as it reads more like an older child's book. However, none of that really matters because it was an excellent choice for my first learn-about-the-caste-system book. There is an nice look at the Brahmin caste. The story starts with Leela as a pre-teen engaged to be married to Ramanlal a boy she likes very much. A ...more
Anna Ganey
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
The concept of the book was fascinating, and I wish we could have heard stories from other widows. I found the multiple Hindi words per page slightly annoying. I get it, it's about Indian culture, but it was disruptive to constantly be looking back and forth from the glossary. As others have said, it is a slow book, but I enjoyed being inside Leela's head during this time. My favorite line in the book was: I wanted to ask Ba why sometimes I was treated like a child and other times I was expected ...more
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is about a girl named Leela who is living in Ghandi-era India. When Leela's husband dies, she is subjected to live the life of a widow, having to shave her head and "keep corner" in her house for a full year, even though she only is 12. Leela learns to appreciate the world around her and find the good in bad situations during her year of keeping corner, and she finds that sometimes tradtion needs to be broken so that new ideas can improve life.
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in India
This story takes place during the WWI. The young lady becomes a widow and how people treat her. Her liberation comes through reading and the help of her brother, her mother, a young teacher and others.
Interesting look at how along w/India receiving liberation from British rule, she receives her freedom from Widowhood.
Unlike money, knowledge increases many folds when you part with it” (pg. 170)
“Don’t forget that sense arrives before beauty. God gives sense at sixteen and beauty at twenty for some reason.” (pg 65)
So- took a foray into a new culture and one of our library’s more diverse books—an Indian novel set in 1918 about a thirteen-year old widow. So Leela our protagonist has been engaged since three and married since nine only she has not yet moved in with her betrothed. She lives at home with her parent
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this book I didn't think I would enjoy it very much, but when you start to get into it you realize that slowly you enjoy the book more and more. Keeping Corner is about a 12 year old girl who had her whole life planned until her husband dies of a snake bite. In her tradition, when the husband dies, she can no longer go out for a year, she has to shave her head, and better yet, she can't remarry. So her journey is about her being trapped in her house for a year while ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Crystal Hansen LS 583. Sheth, K. (2007). Keeping corner. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. Genre: Multicultural. Format: print book. Selected from: Cooperative Children's Book Center 30 Multicultural Books Every Teen Should Know. Highly Recommend

Keeping Corner is set in India in the early twentieth century. It is the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Leelah, who is already married per the customs of the day. She still lives with her doting parents, but is anticipating a time in the nea
"Keeping Corner" tells the story of a child widow in India in Ghandis' time.

Kashmira Sheth is brilliant in writing the point of view of a rather young person - her protagonist and storyteller Leela is not even 13, and yet the story feels real. No difficult words, no overlong sentences, and as a bonus for non-Indian readers short explanations of customs and traditions that go naturally with the text.

The story itself is about Leela's year of mourning - called keeping corner - after the death of
Kiran Galsinh
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Leela, a twelve year old girl who lives in India, has grew up to be a very spoiled girl. She has never cared for school or the outside world. Leela got engaged when she was two and was married at the age of nine. She was supposed to be sent off to her in laws house but a few weeks before her husband Ramanlal dies of a snake bite. He leaves her to live the rest of her life as a widow. After shaving her silky hair and taking all her jewelry Leela has to keep corner for a year and not step out of t ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Keeping Corner by the amazing Kashmira Sheth really is an open door for outsiders to see what an amazing life of a young Indian girl is and how the life of an young Indian girl to turn in to a horrid devastating tale. This book really just made me think about how a beautiful blooming flower could lose all its petals and beauty and thats just the end of its life, no one cares about it and no one stops to admire it anymore. This is exactly what happened to twelve-year-old Leela. Pretty as a peacoc ...more
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Keeping Corner is the story of a young girl in India who is betrothed at age 2, married at age 9, and before she goes to live with her husband (after her "anu") her husband is killed by a snake bite and she becomes a 12 year old widow. Widows in her caste are never allowed to marry again and are forced to live in the shadows of society. It is based on the life of the author's aunt and takes place in 1918. Keeping Corner is the ritual where a widow does not leave her home for a year after her hus ...more
Pooja Dimba
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaeley Santiago
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Leela struggles to find her place given the expectations of Indian society based on her caste as a Brahmin during her year of "keeping corner" after being widowed at a young age. Education becomes a means for her to find purpose in her life. As she reads about Gandhi in the newspaper and the writings of Narmad, her ideas of what's possible for her life change.

Contains some great mentions about writing a journal and poetry. Also, an interesting part where Leela teaches the wife of a servant how t
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's only February and I have discovered several outstanding children's books this year, I feel very lucky. This is a wonderful introduction to Indian culture (the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly), the teachings of Gandhi, and women's rights. Really an inspiration to girls to better themselves. Another one up there with Stargirl.
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Although fiction, the jacket said this was based on a true story. It was actually very compelling and a good account of what happens in Indian culture when a woman's husband dies. Unfortunately for the woman, she was actually a child and it was her fiance who died, but the rules and customs were the same. This book was intriguing.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It is about a young girl in India during some revolutionary times, with Ghandi and the war. It is a story about the struggle between tradition and change. Even though it is fiction, it really helped me learn more about Indian people and culture, a thing I know very little about. I recommend this book!
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bride burning was the thing when I visited India in 1997. I never thought about child brides among the Brahman. I do not know if this practice continues today, but this story about what it meant to be a widow in the days of the massacre in Amritsar is priceless.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love this book. It is very informational, however it tells you the life of a fictional character. This is the type of book that at first you might not like. However, after a few pages it gets really interesting. If you want to learn a little about Indian culture than this is the book for you.
Dec 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was very interesting because I had a chance to learn someone elses culture. I also learned a few Hindi words. But other than that the book was really good.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book in 6th grade... I was 11, and still am. Anyway, it's pretty good!
Nandini Menon
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. And, honestly, that was extremely surprising. With its underwhelming cover and weirdly-spaced text, I thought there was no way that I could ever enjoy this book. But, I needed some light reading and this is all that I had so I thought I should give it a shot and started to read.

I was pleasantly surprised.

With its rich and ripping narrative, Keeping Corner tells the tale of a twelve-year old girl named Leela. Destined to marry a boy she that she never really knew, Lee
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I was supposed to read for class in the seventh grade. At that time I felt no interest in reading but kept the book feeling I would read it eventually. I am truly glad I did. This book was amazing not only did it give a glimpse at a life I could never know of otherwise but it also showed a culture full of traditions that I didn’t know existed. I learned more about how India was effected during the time they were ruled by the British in this book then in my world history class. Lee ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
A “corner” stone of modern Indian-American literature.

But haha. I kid myself. Let’s get down to business.

As long time readers may know, when it comes to the lovely Mrs. Kashmira Sheth I am not a true fanatic. Though I was introduced to her vast extended universe of prose and poetry in 2013’s Tiger In My Soup (and am anxiously anticipating the 2020 release of the sequel, Tiger in My Pants), I was more than disappointed by her 2004 debut Blue Jasmine (which was adapted into the Oscar-winning film
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book. It contains a lot of factual information woven into a fictional story. If you read the author's note at the end you can learn what prompted this story.

Lots of Indian vocabulary that usually is explained right after it is written, but there is also a glossary at the end of the book containing all the words used in the story.

This culture is completely foreign to me and my heart ached for Leela. Cultural tradition is a hard one to break through. This was inspirational
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I was not a huge fan of this book. It told a lot about Indian culture, but it was very slow. There were parts that were definitely stretched out longer than they needed to be. I think that new points of the story line should have been introduced earlier than they were. I did learn a lot about small villages in India, and what it is like to be a young widow. It is interesting to think there are young girls going through this in the present day world. Overall, I was not a fan of this book, and I w ...more
Megan Vosk
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quiet, but powerful tale about a women's struggle for basic rights and freedoms during turn of the century India. This is the tale of a child bride who finds herself cruelly widowed at the age of 13, a fate that normally resulted in a life of isolation and ostracism. Her quest for fair treatment under the circumstances is quite compelling. Teenage girls in our modern world of today will naturally find themselves comparing their lives with that of the main character. Feminism has come a long wa ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this window into a different culture and different time, although it was a bit of a slow read. I can see middle school students enjoying it too, even though it's not a high action book since Leela is confined to her home most of the time. Her world gently expands and her priorities change, which is an interesting process to observe. I was rooting for her! The AR level is 4.8 but 6th grade seems more on target.
Hannah Roberts
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A clearly written tale that is powerful in part because the narrator voice continues to be so young even in the midst of massive trials. Her grief over losing her pretty bangles is a poignant reminder of her childhood, her expectations, and her naivete. It would be an interesting book to assign alongside a history lesson of Gandhi as her family debates his ideas and their effects throughout the text.
Rhiannon Parent
I picked up this book because I read about Gandhi in a book a couple of months ago and I really wanted to read more about his influence on India. This book is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction children's literature, and I would recommend it to people wanting to learn about Gandhi and feminism in India as well as anyone who is just looking for a good story with a strong female protagonist.
Madison Tiner
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved how this story taught you to appreciate things in life whether you asked for them or not. It takes place in a historical time period where people wanted to be free of others control and rules, including the main character, where she was forced to do many things she didn't agree with. The story also teaches you to appreciate what you a have and to not take it for granted.
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Kashmira Sheth grew up in Bhavangar, Gujarat, for eight years, when she was three she joined Montessori school. She lived with her grandparents, because her parents lived in Mumbai three hundred miles away from Bhavangar.
At eight years Sheth, left Bhavangar, for Mumbai.
She did her studying there until she was seventeen. She left Mumbai, to go to college, in Ames Iowa to do her BS at Iowa State Un

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