Small Acts of Amazing Courage – book review

Small Acts of Amazing Courage
by Gloria Whelan
Historical Fiction
Realistic Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Rosalind is English, but she has been raised in India her whole life. Years ago, her brother Edward was sent back to England to receive his schooling, but he became ill and passed away. Their parents – especially their mother – have never truly gotten over his death. As a result, Rosalind’s mother has kept her close over protestations from her husband and other members of their community who feel that Rosalind is out of control and over-indulged (she likes to wander the bazaar with her local friends and isn’t interested in making proper English friends). After Rosalind rescues an Indian baby from a life of poverty and begging and after she’s discovered at a political rally (listening to Gandhi urging the people to rise up against the British using non-violence), her father has had enough. He sends her to stay with her aunts in England. Rosalind’s rebellion doesn’t end there. Once she is settled in with the aunts, and she sees how intimidated her Aunt Louise is by her Aunt Ethyl, she does all she can to liberate her as well. When Rosalind is called back to India, she helps Aunt Louise make her escape. I quite liked Rosalind who refused to be cowed by her parents and elders, and, instead, stood up for what she believed – and ACTED. She will never have to look back, frustrated, that she didn’t act in her own and on behalf of others’ best interests. Her chutzpah is noteworthy and admirable. Gloria Whelan does a nice job with this piece of historical fiction – weaving the parallels between Gandhi and the Indian people’s struggles to be free of British rule, and Rosalind and her Aunt Louise’s similar struggles for their own independence.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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