My Bollywood Dream

Candlewick. Aug. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536228427.
Gr 2-4–Told through beautiful imagery and lyrical prose, this book soars in language, illustration, and cultural importance. A young unnamed narrator describes her love of Bollywood films. As she, Ma, and Baba travel through Mumbai to the theater, the narrator imagines life as a Bollywood movie, including choreographed dancing, heroic feats, and abundant color and food. Great imagery, metaphors, and similes—“Bollywood music is like listening to the first monsoon rain—the rhythm is steady and familiar”—parallel what the young girl sees on the screen and what she envisions in her real life. In an author’s note, Dwivedi describes Bollywood as a bridge between her and her desi community after she moved to the United States. Lyrical language depicts the depth, joy, and mystique of the very specific aspects of this elaborate style of filmmaking. The text incorporates words such as “khushi” (“with happiness”) and phrases (“Aab maaza aayega!” or “Now this should be fun!”) to bring Mumbai culture to life.
VERDICT This is a well told and colorful rendering of the importance of art through film, and one young girl’s connection to her culture.

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