Wings to Soar

Charlesbridge. Jul. 2024. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781623544317.
Gr 5-7–A novel in verse about a girl and her family trying to find their way after being forced to leave Uganda. In 1972, Viva, her mother, and her sister Ana are forced to go to a refugee camp in England while they anxiously await Viva’s father’s arrival from their home country. However, on the day he is supposed to arrive, he does not show. The family is upset, but Viva is determined to find out what happened. On one occasion, she and her sister sneak off to London in hopes of finding him. They get lost and experience firsthand the racism that Viva has only heard about. When they finally get in touch with Viva’s father, it seems like everything will be okay. But she soon realizes there are still sacrifices to be made before her family can be whole again. Viva is a wonderful role model in her resilience with everything she is up against, especially the racism against Ugandan people. A brick is thrown through her family’s apartment building window, newspapers declare “No More Asians,” and people tell Viva to “go back home.” Viva talks with adult characters about these events and questions why there is so much hatred. While the story is a bit slow, readers will be invested in Viva’s quest to find her father and start her life in a new country. Viva is Indian. An author’s note is included.
VERDICT Purchase where novels in verse are popular.

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