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A Bit of Earth

Omygoodness this book just has my WHOLE HEART and left me in tears!! Y’all need this book!🥹❤️❤️

Genre: Upper MG

Ages: 11/12 and up (im an adult and obsessed🥳)

Author: @karunariazi

Pub’d by @greenwillowbooks@harpercollins

PREORDER before the March 2023 release day- preorders are super important for authors!!

Screening: mentions of a period, and brief mention of violin/rabab (I consider it perfectly clean and appropriate for the age group!)

Maria Latif’s parents have died, and she is shipped from home to home- most caretakers complaining of her surly grumpiness. When she lands with her parents’ friends in New York, she expects it’s just going to be another disappointment. But she discovers a secret garden in the yard that brings her and some friends together. Can the bit of earth she found bring her the family she deeply yearns for?

From the moment I began reading this book, I fell in love. Grumpy Maria is SO amazingly real, and it is so refreshing to read about a character with complex emotions and strength that truly feels so accurate for a tween portrayal! I loved her and rooted for her the whole book and by the end I was in tears and just wanted to reach through the pages and hug her!

I loved the theme of found family in the book- and how family isn’t always those by blood, but can often be love from friends and strangers that feels the most like family!

Omygosh all the Bengali and Desi references, cultural aspects like mendhi and dress, and the beautiful descriptions of flowers and food just warmed my heart! I love how Maria is proud of her culture and treasures it!

Islam is mentioned a lot, with Maria wearing hijab/dupatta, and praying her prayers! I loved the way it was part of her identity and not preached or brushed off in any way, just existing as her identity❤️

The writing of this book is as GORGEOUS as a flower- and the verse and prose alternating worked so well to move my heart!

This book deserves all the stars and awards!!! Def a must have, and one I will be recommending and getting for my ELA middle school students❤️


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