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Asha & the Spirit Bird

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Asha lives on the family farm with her mother in rural India.

Her father is away working in the city, and when the money he sends stops suddenly, a wicked aunt arrives. She’s determined to seize the property – and the treasure rumoured to be hidden on the land. Guided by a majestic bird which Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, she and her best friend Jeevan
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 7th 2019 by Chicken House Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  99 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! :')

This is a gorgeous little book set in the Himalayas. Asha's father works far away in the city to provide enough money for his family to live, but he hasn't sent them a letter or any money for several months now and they've been trying not to worry. With a moneylender threatening her mother and things getting desperate, Asha and her best friend Jeevan set off on an adventure under the wings of a beautiful bird (who's possibly the spirit of Asha's Nanijee) to go to the city and bring
Margaret Bamford
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although this book is aimed at younger people I found it fascinating and loved the descriptions of the places they travelled through. I also liked the idea of the spirit of ancestors coming back in the form of birds or animals to help.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a middle grade fantasy, which I don’t read much these days, but I couldn’t resist picking this one up because of the lovely cover! Really this book is worth having just for the cover art alone, but it also has a great story to go with it, so yay!

Asha & The Spirit Bird follows Asha and her friend Javeen as they go on a journey to find Asha’s missing father. When her mother, forced to borrow money to save their family farm, can’t pay back the loans begins contemplating moving the
Christina Reid
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
As soon as I heard of this book I knew that I would have to read it - so many things about the summary just sound incredible!
I read the first chapter on the publisher's website and added myself to the waiting list at my local library. This morning I feel as if I have been transported away from a grey, rainy UK to an India bursting with colour, flavour and personality. The setting is almost like another character in this book, as Asha and Jeevan travel hundreds of miles to track down Asha's
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed Asha's adventure through parts of India from her village farm in Moormanali. As she travels to Zandapur to a temple to light a deeva & pray as she searches for her missing father her trusty best friend Jeevan keeps her company.
A debt collector has turned up & broken things at their house. Her Papa has not sent wages in months & her mother has had to borrow.
Claiming they have until evening of Diwali to pay back the money.
A sighting of a turkey vulture, known as
Amy (Golden Books Girl)
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
In her debut novel, Jasbinder Bilan tells the story of a girl named Asha as a moneylender threatens to evict her family and she must set off in search of her father- who very suddenly stopped sending money home from his job in the city- to prevent this. Asha is such a compassionate heroine, and her determination to save her family really endeared me to her, as did her treatment of everyone she encounters- she unfailingly shows kindness, and I thought she was wonderful. I also absolutely loved ...more
Julia Marsen dyer
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Barry Cunningham's introduction to the book is spot on. 'unforgettable Indian adventure'

In her debut book , author Jasbinder Bilan has saught inspiration from her own family history and the book certainly took me to a wonderful new world .
Asha lives in the foothills of the Himalayas- money is tight and has forced her father to seek work in the city. But suddenly his letters stop as does the extra money he has been sending to the family... her mother is forced to borrow from a ruthless money
Stephen Connor
This book starts with a bang, as Asha’s family are visited by money-lending loan sharks, intent on taking everything. Their father is working away, and had been sending money home, but this, along with his letters, has ceased.

With the threat of the money lenders looming, Asha takes matters into her own hands, and, after enlisting the help of her best friend Jeevan, starts an epic journey across India in order to find her father and sort out her family’s problems.

They almost come a cropper on
Jane Branson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first middle grade read of the decade, this is a heartwarming story that draws on Indian spirit tales and folklore. Asha and her family have fallen on hard times but with faith, hope and the support of her friend Jeevan, Asha is determined to solve the problems. Her dead grandmother, in the guise of a wise bearded vulture, also plays an important part. Asha's quest takes her high into the Himalayas and the company of adults both kind and cruel. I found the part of the story when the children ...more
Suzanne Bhargava
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-teen-fiction
A fantastic MG adventure (with a generous helping of magical realism) that transports the reader to India - the Himalayas, specifically! I love that the timeline is set around the Hindu festival of Diwali and that the author makes ample use of not only wonderful Indian flavours, but also the beautiful landscape of the Himalayan foothills and beyond. She touches on the problems of a huge wealth gap and child exploitation, but the central storyline is one of friendship, family, and resilience.

Julia Thum
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book transported me to a world I've never before visited and one I urge you to explore.

With one foot in a deeply spiritual reality and the other in and enchanted, magical world, every page is a feast for the senses bringing smells and colours and rituals and beliefs that nourish the imagination and propel the story forward beautifully

And I have to mention the cover - look at the front, look at the back - they are a feast for the eyes and a perfect reflection of the treat that is in store
Charlie Watkins
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lydia Massiah
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exciting read with real jeopardy for Asha and her friend Jeevan as they journey across mountains and into a teeming city to find out what has happened to Asha's father.
Gorgeous world-building and a hugely evocative atmosphere, along with plenty of thrills and danger to keep readers wanting to know what happens next! The mystical aspects created a sense of wonder and magic which I adored.
Highly recommended!
Tara Cross
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible Indian adventure of bravery, love and courage. An amazing must read to show a strong female character fighting to help her family. It's heart warming and gripping and full of amazing descriptions of the Indian landscape.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book full of colour and brilliant messages about believing in yourself. I loved Asha and this little world!
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book full of spirit. The descriptions are lovely.
Katie Clark
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this one! Asha and Jeevan are desperate to find Asha's papa so they set off to brave forests, mountains and the city. The brave pair are accompanied by her nanijee reincarnated as a lamagaia. The characters are genuine, courageous and fiercely protective of one another. I thought the risks of their journey escalated really well. Spoiler: there was a tiger! At one stage I was really quite worried that things were going to take a very dark turn. I'd really recommended this uplifting story ...more
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According to family stories, Jasbinder was born in a stable in the foothills of the Himalayas. Until she was a year and a half, she lived on a farm inhabited by a grumpy camel and a monkey called Oma.

Jasbinder graduated from Bath Spa University where the seeds of her story were nurtured, but it was the incredible bond with her grandmother which was the inspiration for Asha & the Spirit Bird.