Title: Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister?
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Jen Khatun
Suggested age: 6-9
What's it about?
Becoming a big brother or sister is scary and hard and when Sona learns that her Amma (mom) is going to have another baby, she isn't so sure she likes the idea. After all, there are already so many people in her three generational house and she likes being the youngest. She doesn't have to share much and she gets all of the attention. What's going to happen when her baby brother or sister is born? Will her family still love her? Will they make time for her? Will she have to share everything including her favorite toy Elephant (her stuffed elephant)? Non of these things sound good to her.
But as the months go by, she learns that sharing her outgrown baby clothes and toys may not be so bad and that, as the big sister, she has a very special job and it starts with getting to help pick a name to share at the naming ceremony scheduled for not long after her new little brother or sister is born.
My favorite thing about this book was the getting a look into another culture (as the family practice Hinduism and appear to either be in or from India as the exact location isn't very clear) and their traditions. I loved how sweet and family centered the traditions were and I caught myself dreaming about ways to include some of my favorite ideas into my life if I had another child. I really loved the naming ceremony and how every name chosen had special meaning! But I digress. I also really liked Elephant. The imaginary personality of Sona's stuffed companion. I couldn't but feel that he added a little whimsy to the story and some childlike understanding for Sona while she's often surrounded by adults.
I loved that this story consistently embraced the Hindu and Indian culture and terminology throughout this story without over explaining or talking down to the audience. For example, Sona calls her family members Amma (mom), Appa (dad), Paaati (Grandmother) and so forth. To further the ease of reading this heart warming story is a glossary of Indian terminology for reference.
I wish that this book had been around when I was pregnant with my now four year old. I found this story to be cute, heart warming and honest. It conquered the idea of embracing change because change doesn't have to be bad while addressing many of the fears and concerns that children have when they learn that their parents are having more children with out belittling or brushing aside the very real concerns. Plus, there's the added message that these feelings are universal. They aren't specific to one culture, but are felt by children around the world. They are normal feelings and they are O.K. to have.
All in all, I felt like this was a great book for children preparing to become big siblings themselves. Not only will Sona help young children feel heard, understood and less anxious, it's also a great way to open doors into some important conversations between you and your little.
What do I rate this book?
I give this book a
But that's just me. What did you think? What did your little thing? Let us know in the comments.