Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

By Jayasri Majumdar Hart, Producer-director of ROOTS IN THE SAND

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh has everything one would want in fiction for grade schoolers—a dynamic protagonist, a plotline full of twists and turns and language that is both rich and easy. And then author Krishnaswami raises the bar. The protagonist happens to be “half-and-half,” a condition that more and more children in the USA are having to deal with. The plotline is complicated by taking place at a time when US laws on immigration and marriage were pretty convoluted. The language becomes not only the expression of a young soul but a highly sensitive one trying to assimilate three cultures.

“Pitched” in that most familiar American experience of kids learning to play softball, this novel is an excellent introduction to life along the West Coast in the 1940s, particularly the Punjabi-Mexican experience.