In Mumbai, India, 12-year-old Minni and her Hindu family struggle to survive in their impoverished neighborhood. Though Minni can view the vast watery expanse of the Arabian Sea from a nearby hilltop, water shortages are a daily reality for her community. Each day, people wait in long lines at unreliable communal taps to get the water they need for laundry, drinking, and cleaning. Often, fights break out between desperate people, now made more frantic because the monsoon rains are late. More insidious, water thieves are stealing the precious resource and delivering it to rich people.
Minni’s father often reminds her and her brother Sanjay of the proverb, “See no evil, hear no evil, and say no evil.” And he warns, “If you invite trouble, it will come. It will stay for chai and for dinner.” Though Minni has no intention of seeking out trouble, she, Sanjay, and some friends stumble upon a theft by the water mafia. Minni quickly closes her eyes because she doesn’t want to see evil, but she realizes it is happening right in front of her. She can't ignore it. Minni is afraid and disillusioned. Her parents have been telling her to grow up, and she wonders, “Is this growing up? Learning how dangerous the whole world can be? Learning that not everyone follows the rules. That some people don’t care if they hurt others. That they only care about themselves and making a profit.”
Minni faces numerous hardships and unexpectedly encounters the water mafia boss. Terrified by her newfound knowledge, yet longing to right a wrong, Minni asks a friend, “Do you think it’s possible for a regular person to defeat a big, powerful person?” Middle school readers will discover Minni’s unique answer to her own question as she discovers a creative way to seek justice.
Hindu beliefs serve as the foundation for Minni’s spiritual journey as she navigates danger and uncertainty. Christian parents or caregivers who share this book with children can ask them relevant questions to lead them to a deeper understanding of the differences between Hinduism and Christianity, and to discover anew God’s love and grace offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus. (Nancy Paulsen Books)