Karina Chopra is American. So is her friend Chris, her mom and dad, and her grandfather who she calls Papa. But because Karina and her family have brown skin and her grandfather is an immigrant from India, not everyone agrees they are citizens in the United States. This book, Count Me In, tells America everyone belongs.
When a racist hate crime is committed against Papa, he is rushed to the hospital, needing surgery and physical therapy. Chris and Karina, who witnessed the incident are terrified and angry. Being a budding photographer, Karina takes this to social media – posting pictures and protesting against this unfair moment that soon turns into a movement. This is a moving story about finding your voice and speaking out for what’s right.
I loved Karina’s strong, driven personality; and Chris and Papa’s kind and funny nature. The author, Varsha Bajaj, did an amazing job with having the readers connect with the characters, making them seem like your best friend. This story was presented like an ice cream sundae, packed with scoops of perfect word choice and drizzled with description. When you pick up this book, just like biting into that sundae…you won’t regret it.
Because Karina is a 7th-grader like me, it reminded me that you’re never to young to speak up and do what’s right. Karina could have chosen to stay silent and let the adults handle it, but what would that solve? Even if you’re young, taking matters into your own hands will help with the injustices in the world.
Every American (and everyone around the world) should read this book. For those who don’t understand it yet, Americans can be anyone. Black people, white people, Christian people, Muslim people anyone who is a citizen of this country.
I rate this book four out of four roses. Hate crimes have been a large problem for a while now, and until we stand together and say something, nothing will change. I challenge you, (yes, you) the person reading this, to say something. Whether it’s posting something on social media, having a conversation with your children, or simply just loving others, I encourage you to do something.