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Count Me in

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  36 reviews
An uplifting story, told through the alternating voices of two middle-schoolers, in which a community rallies to reject racism.

Karina Chopra would have never imagined becoming friends with the boy next door--after all, they've avoided each other for years and she assumes Chris is just like the boys he hangs out with, who she labels a pack of hyenas. Then Karina's grandfath
Hardcover, 192 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2019 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Colby Sharp
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, 2019-nerdy, mg-novel
I liked Count Me In so much that I am going to make it my last read aloud of the 2018-2019 school year. I cannot wait for my students to meet Karina and Chris. These characters and their story will hold a special place in the hearts of children. This is a special book.
Padma Venkatraman
A book about hate crimes that's easy to love. So happy to welcome this book into the world. Bajaj mixes moments of humor in with an examination of a tough and timely topic in a story that is sure to be a splendid success.
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books for an eARC of this book.

Told in alternating viewpoints, Karina and Chris are next door neighbors who become friends after Karina's grandfather (Papa) moves in with her family and starts to tutor Chris in math. One day, Papa is assaulted by a stranger because he's not white (he's Indian) while he's out with Karina and Chris. While he's confined to a hospital bed, Karina starts a movement called #CountMeIn to show that being American include
Laura Beam
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you stumble upon stories, so important and so needed, that it almost feels as if the clouds have parted and the sun is coming through. That is how I felt when I opened up the pages of (my advanced reader copy of) Varsha Bajaj's Count Me In. The story of Karina Chopra and Chris Daniels is one of pain and hope. It tells the story, through alternating perspectives, of a friendship between a second generation Indian American girl, her white next door neighbor, and her grandfather before du ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Order this now. Typical of a Nancy Paulsen book, it was a meaningful story that I devoured. Karina's family experiences a racist assault, and she uses social media to make a difference. This will be a perfect choice for reading aloud and for student-led book clubs because of the important discussion it will elicit
Erin Varley
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five well-deserved stars. Should be required reading for everyone.
Lorie Barber
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Timely. Important. I thought a lot about students I have now and students I will have and now we learn to share our voices. COUNT ME IN supports this idea without sounding preachy. I love the subtle changes that happen in Chris and the deep, permanent changes that Karina goes through. A beautiful must-read, and a must-add to my classroom library.
Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 4.9

Have you ever been mistreated or bullied because of your skin color? Some of the boys at Karina's middle school make fun of her because her skin color is darker than theirs. Karina is Indian and she doesn't let the boys teasing bother her because she is proud of herself and her family background. Chris, who is white, is her next door neighbor. Karina has never had anything to do with Chris because it is his friends that bully her. Also, Chris' father is not
Ms. Yingling
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by Follett First Look

Karina lives next door to Chris and goes to school with him. They used to tolerate each other, and she thought he was decently nice, but on the first day of middle school, idiot boys on the bus made fun of Karina's arms for being hairy, and Chris went along with them. Told in alternating view points, we hear from Chris, who doesn't like the jerky boys, but isn't quite sure how to stand up to them. He likes Karina, so when her grandfather, Papa, moves in with Kar
Mandy Stallard
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookposse
After witnessing her grandfather and friend be attacked by an angry racist man, Karina becomes an "accidental activist" by sharing pictures from the scene of the crime, her grandfather's recovery, as well as a picture of him and her grandmother not long after they immigrated to the United States. She begins tagging her posts with #CountMeIn. When asked by a reporter what her hashtag means, she shares that she will no longer be silent; she can be counted on to speak up against hate and intoleranc ...more
Lizz Axnick
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book I hope will gain momentum and widespread reading. It is both sad and imperative that we still have to address racial profiling and hate crimes even now. However, this story handles the tough subject matter with aplomb and grace. I actually caught myself getting teary several times.

Karina Chopra and Chris Daniels have lived next door to each other forever, but they are not really friends. Their families co-exist beside one another without really knowing each other. Chris
Kristin Crouch
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the publisher for sharing a copy of Count Me In with Collabookation.
This book starts out reading like a typical middle school relationship drama book, but soon takes a swift turn into more serious matter. *This is not at all to diminish 'middle school relationship' books, they are often wonderful books to help kids navigate a very complicated time.
After Karina and Chris do end up beginning a friendship, they are walking home together with Karina's grandpa when they get verbally hara
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-years, 2019
So many other, better-written books are covering this topic. "The Best At It" by Maulik Pancholy is fantastic for one. I'm really sorry that this is so bad because racism, hate crimes, and Islamophobia are all incredibly urgent issues -- but I can't recommend this book despite its subject matter.

Stilted, forced, flat, predictable. An utter lack of contractions makes everyone sound like a robot, and the dialogue is so patently fake. Parents calling a racist assailant a "hater" in all seriousness
Kendall Ball
I am happy to have received a galley if this book to be published in August—

Count Me In the story of a friendship, a tragic crime, and a movement. Karina and Chris become close friends and founders of a social media movement after Karina and her grandfather become victims of a hate crime. They speak out about what it means to be American and gain support for her grandfather. The story is much needed, but it is told in a very heavy-handed manner. The young characters are shockingly mature and pro
Christina Soontornvat
I loved this book so much. Full of heart and wonderful characters. I thought it was quite impressive how the author takes a tough topics like racism and xenophobia and addresses at a level that is just right for the middle grade audience. The main characters' families are supportive and loving, but the kids work through their own problems, which is so important in a book for young readers. I also thought that the way Karina uses social media to build awareness and engagement around the terrible ...more
Katie Reilley
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much to Nancy Paulsen & Penguin Kids for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group!

Middle grade readers need to meet Karina & Chris, two neighbor kids who slowly develop a friendship despite their different social circles. When Karina’s grandfather begins tutoring Chris in math, the three of them spend time together, and the friendship grows. But then, something unimaginable happens-Karina’s grandfather is assaulted in a hate crime with Karina and Chris there to witness
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-copies
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a timely and important book for young readers.

Karina and her neighbor Chris are two very different people who don't have much to do with each other, that is until Karina's Papa moves to town. Because her grandfather beings to tutor Chris, Karina begins to understand him better and a bond is formed when a tragic incident helps them understand that while they are different they can
A feel-good middle grade/upper elementary novel; Karina is teased bc she is Indian by the mean boys, and one of their friends secretly has a crush on her. As Karina and Chris's relationship develops after her wonderful grandfather begins tutoring Chris, their friendship blooms and strengthens after a horrible example of hatred. The simplistic story will appeal with its strong moral message, but the characters remain flat, and the crush is not really explored or developed into anything, despite ...more
Julie Kirchner
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Grateful to Nancy Paulsen for sharing this amazing book.

When Karina’s grandfather is brutally attacked by a stranger shouting hate filled words claiming Papa does not belong in America, Karina and her neighbor turned friend Chris are left to wonder how such hate could be directed at a man who has called America his home for 50 years. This is a timely story that has us reflecting on immigration in the US, and how we need to work to conquer the hate and fear towards immigrants that has infected o
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story-shop-reads
“You have to be able to imagine a better world to make it a reality.” -from an uncorrected galley

Bajaj helps young readers imagine a better world in her novel as we see Karina & Chris in both the day-to-day before & the day-to-day after of a hate crime. The author wrestles with “normal” middle school problems alongside the large consequences of the hate in the language of social media, friendship, & community support. Perfect for a classroom read or for students looking to step into
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Count Me In as a great novel from page to the reader's is engaged with the story you fall in love with Karina she's your typical middle schooler strong convictions on the inside not sure how to let those feelings out her neighbor Chris I'm reads like your average guy and it's great to see the character grows on his part as well the attack is very real to the reader but it's not so graphic that third graders wouldn't be able to handle this novel the topics in it are happening today our students w ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Karina's grandfather moves in with her family, he starts to tutor Chris, one of her neighbors and classmates. Although Karina and Chris never were never friends, they end up spending more time together. As the three are walking home from school one day, Karina's grandfather, an Indian American, is the victim of a hate crime. As Karina and Chris work through what happened, they decide to speak out. This book tells a relevant story about the importance of speaking out against hate and shows h ...more
Sandy O'Brien
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“With patience, Papa reminds me that evil exists everywhere, in every corner and every country on earth –but so does good.”

What would you do if you were walking down the street and someone started attacking you based on the way you look?

#CountMeIn is a story that examines just that and the power of speak up & speaking out when it matters the most.

A must read for EVERYONE and a must add for class libraries of grades 5 & up. Out 9/19.
#heart print book
Leigh Anne
Teaching 6th grade readers sometimes makes book selection difficult. They are in that in-between stage, and some books they just aren't ready for. Count Me In is perfect for middle grade. Bajaj deals with important and current issues on racism and immigration but writes at a level appropriate for a younger age group. Count Me In would make a great pairing with Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. You will want this book on your shelf come fall!
Esther Sintim
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that hits the hard topic of racism and hate. The story is presented through two kids and how though they had a bad start they are able to become friends and together they can overcome hate. This is a well written book and has the ability to open up huge discussions. This presents hard issues in ways kids can grasp and understand.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A realistic look at a hate crime and how the community responds in a positive way. Great message for middle school or upper elementary students who want to know what they can do to support everyone living in the U.S.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-a-day
Resting easy can disappear. There are times, sometimes more often than others, when sleep is elusive. There's lots of tossing and turning and dozing in and out of dreams. No one is alone in this. It happens to everyone at any age.

Readers do have an advantage in these instances. For whatever reason, when sleep takes a vacation, we turn to books any time of the day or night. In light of the events in America during the first weekend of August 2019, early on Sunday morning I began a book and finis
Linda Owen
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Middle school. GREAT book about racism since 9/11, with sympathetic adult characters and good family dynamics, bullying and good responses to it, community activism... Main characters southern white boy and girl of Asian Indian descent.
Pam  Page
Love the characters in this book. There are so many important messages that children can take away about the treatment of immigrants, kindness, and the value of family. I enjoyed the extended Indian family community, reading about the foods and celebrations!
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