United By Pop received a free copy of Tender Earth in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Title: Tender Earth
Author: Sita Brahmachari
Purchase: Available in the UK and the US
Overall rating: 3/5
Great for: Fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jerry Spinelli, and Judy Blume
Themes: Young adult, coming-of-age and contemporary
Review: This is the third instalment in Sita Brahmachari’s heartfelt series, documenting members of the Levenson family improving themselves as individuals and inspiring humanity to follow suit. Whilst all three can be read as stand-alone’s, each book focuses on a sibling of the same family, meaning they make a loose trilogy when all read together.
The first instalment, ‘Artichoke Hearts‘, is the story of twelve-year-old Mira discovering the meaning of grief after the passing of her Nana Josie. Through her sadness, she also begins to absorb more about the meaning of life and the inescapable end to it and all other things.
‘Jasmine Skies‘ journeys again with Mira to evocative India, where she discerns more about her ancestry and the chaotic planet we call home.
‘Tender Earth’ is the most recent release and focuses on the youngest Levenson sibling, Laila. Her elder siblings have left home and now her wonderful, chaotic family has dwindled down to three remaining members. Laila is also just about to start secondary school and her best friend hasn’t spoken to her in days! This time of much upheaval leaves her at a loss as to where to she fits in this new world she now inhabits. But when she opens a letter meant for her departed sister, however, she discovers her grandmother’s history of protesting for what she believes in – and starts to follow in her footsteps.
I was initially hesitant as to how impactful I could still find a book featuring such a young protagonist but these fears soon dissipated. I found Laila a warm, funny, and wonderful individual in whose eyes I enjoyed viewing the world from. Her age meant to she had much to learn but her concerns were often that of a much more experienced individual, meaning any age reader could benefit from this book.
Her exploration of both the surrounding world and herself made this a wonderfully poignant read. Her discoveries were not always positive and her meetings with the bigots, racism and discrimination that still fuels some and mars our species was tragic to read about. This highlighted the problems of our world just as much as it praised the positive beauty of it and readers were invited to learn from both.
This is both a great introduction to the ideas of social conscience as well as richly textured exploration of our tender earth of a home.
Dear Malala you inspired 12 year old Laila in #TenderEarth @AmnestyUK @MacmillanKidsUK to act Vs injustice. You inspire across generations. pic.twitter.com/7QbWhIBQo6
— Sita Brahmachari (@SitaBrahmachari) July 9, 2017