Review: All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan

all my noble dreams

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan

This sequel to Small Acts of Amazing Courage continues Rosalind’s story.  Rosalind lives in British-controlled India.  She is the only daughter in a well-off family, though she avoids the Club and all of the other British girls there.  Instead she runs a small school for the village boys, one that is not government sanctioned and so can continue to run.  She is a follower of Gandhi, something her father certainly does not approve of.  He wouldn’t approve of the school either, but he doesn’t know about it.  The book also tells of what happened to Hari, the infant that Rosalind rescued in the first book and how her aunts are now doing living in India.  As Rosalind gets drawn further into British life, she finds her two worlds colliding and the question is how she will remain true to herself and the cause she believes in so fiercely.

I simply adored the first book in this series and am so happy to say that the second is just as wonderful.  Whelan captures the period of British rule in India very clearly, never flinching from the harsh realities of the period, including the injustices of the British, the selling of child brides for money, and the severe poverty brought on by the caste system.  It is a book that is filled with the dust and clamor of the streets, the laughter of close trusted friends, and the grandeur of a prince’s visit. 

Rosalind shows a lot of growth from one book to the next.  In the first book, she would rush headlong into trouble.  Here the trouble she gets into is still there, but much of it she walks into with her eyes open and understanding what she is doing.  She is a radiant character, filling the pages with her passion for change and her love of India.  It is Rosalind who carries the story, because one never knows quite what will happen to her next.

A worthy sequel to the first gem of a book, fans of the first will welcome this second story of Rosalind and India.  Appropriate for ages 12-16.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

2013 Little Rebels Shortlist

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers has announced the four books shortlisted for the first annual Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.  The winner will be announced on May 11th, 2013.  I must say that I love a bit of radical children’s list and I haven’t read a single one on the list!

Here is the shortlist:

Azzi in Between Matilda and Hans

Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland

Hans and Matilda by Yokococo

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket Wild Child

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Wild Child by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Lorna Freytag