Small Acts of Amazing Courage

Small Acts of Amazing Courage


“How can kindness get you into so much trouble?” muses Rosalind, a teenager during the final years of “The Raj,” the British occupation of India. While her father, a major in the British Indian Army, is away with his regiment, Rosalind enjoys the freedom her grief-stricken mother allows her, growing up with her ayah’s daughter, happily babbling in Hindi/English, and experiencing the many wonders of life in India. Having already lost a son to an illness contracted in an English boarding school, Mother refuses to send Rosalind back “home” to be raised by her aunts in the English style. Instead, Rosalind is allowed to mingle with the servants and she sometimes sneaks off to explore the bazaars, shopping for trinkets and observing the vast differences in castes among the Indians. Rosalind knows how Indian society works—and she also knows that her mother’s English friends frown upon her friendships with Indians and her unladylike behavior. She discovers that many British people think that the Indians are too naïve, too childlike, to rule themselves; they need the British to watch over them! Rosy also discovers that many of the people in her parents’ social circle are very prejudiced against the Indians, viewing them as inferior to whites. When Father returns with his regiment, he is appalled to see how familiar Rosalind has become with the Indians. He forbids her to speak Hindi and threatens her with passage “home” if she doesn’t make herself into a proper young English lady. But headstrong, compassionate Rosalind has already become a traitor to her own Crown because she has come to sympathize with the impoverished Indian people and with the views of the Indian National Congress, a group of Indians who have started agitating for home rule inspired by the non-violent ideals of Gandhi. One night, Rosalind makes a decision—performing a small act of amazing courage—that changes her life forever and propels her beyond India’s shores to inspire others in a home she has never known. And the world will never be the same…

Author Gloria Whelan has returned to India, the setting for her National Book Award-winning title Homeless Bird, to further explore a subcontinent teeming with life, humanity, physical beauty, and history. In Rosalind, she has created a feisty, modern young lady who must pursue her convictions, even if they cause her estrangement from her own family. In following her heart, Rosalind finds that love can come full circle through small acts of amazing courage. Readers will learn a great deal about the history of the rising superpower that India promises to be. Recommended for older readers, grades 6 and up. 217 pages

9781442409316

Recommended by Shari Shaw, Librarian Michigan

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