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Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee

Anjali Banerjee

Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written four novels for youngsters and two novels for adults. The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, Maya Running (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) “beautiful and complex” and “pleasingly accessible.” The Horn Book Magazine praised her most recent children’s novel, Looking for Bapu, as a “moving story about surviving an unexpected, shocking loss.”

Looking for Bapu

By Anjali Banerjee

Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 2006

Yearling paperback release, August 26, 2008

Ages 7-12, 176 pages


In Looking for Bapu, eight-year-old Anu’s beloved grandfather has brought the magic of India to the Pacific Northwest. Bird-watching together and sharing secrets, Anu and Bapu are inseparable. When Bapu suddenly dies in the forest, a piece of Anu goes with him.

But Anu knows that a whisper of Bapu has stayed behind. And once he decides to search for his grandfather’s spirit, Anu is a boy on a mission. He enlists the help of his loyal friends, Izzy and Unger. From shaving his head to making up fortunes in the hope of becoming holier, Anu tries everything to bring back Bapu. Finally, the trio of friends voyages to the island of the Mystery Museum to consult the famous magician Karnak.

Of the many elements in the novel-generational differences, friendship, religion, and grief immediately post-9/11-Mary Harris Russell of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Banerjee deftly keeps all this in balance. We never lose sight of either the serious issues-the family’s loss and love-or the comedic ones.”


Looking for Bapu has been nominated for two state awards and is on four 2009 Global Reading Challenge Lists. In the Global Reading Challenge programs, thousands of fourth and fifth grade students in dozens of schools compete in a Battle of the Books-style competition.


One young reader wrote to the author: “I have never experienced such emotion as in your book, Looking for Bapu…you have changed the way I think about death.” From another young reader: “When I read your book…I want to keep reading and reading chapter after chapter. It was my favorite book during the reading challenge.”

Other review excerpts:

“Banerjee’s novel provides discussable issues and multicultural insights as well as humor and emotion. An excellent read-aloud.” –Booklist

“The author addresses cultural misunderstandings and fears while telling a universal tale of family love and devotion.” -School Library Journal. 

You can download an audio excerpt from Chapter One here: https://www.anjalibanerjee.com/site/children/home.html

Read Chapter One here:


Anjali’s other books:

Maya Running, 2005

The Silver Spell, 2005

Rani and the Fashion Divas, 2005

Imaginary Men, 2005 (reprint 2008)

Invisible Lives, 2006 (reprint 2008)

Untitled middle grade novel forthcoming, summer 2010

For more information about Jim, please see www.jimwhiting.com. To inquire about availability of specific titles or to send a comment, write him at jimruns3@gmail.com.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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