Same Sun Hereby Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Candlewick, 2011. 297 pgs. Fiction
Same Sun Here is a book about activism: points are made against strip mining/mountain top removal, New York apartment house owners grinding the faces of the immigrant poor, or being unkind to anyone of different skin color, language, or gender-attraction, among many other causes. Normally this would be annoying in its didacticism, but the two children whose letters back and forth tell their stories are so delightful, and their correspondence carried on with such vigor, honesty, and humor that the book is a joy to read. Meena is an immigrant girl from India whose family lives (illegally) in a rent-controlled apartment in New York's Chinatown. River is a Kentucky boy whose mother is depressed because his father works away from home, so he is mostly cared for by his beloved Mamaw (his grandmother). The two meet as part of a pen-pal project in their school, and both choose from the snail-mail list. They quickly agree to be their own true selves with one another, and quickly become best friends, even at such a distance. How they work through their unique problems, and the ones they share, is the main thrust of the story, and by the end you will have two more characters from children's literature in your head whom you are unlikely to forget.