Book Review - Nina the Neighbourhood Ninja.

As a mother who was obsessed with books at one point in my life, I really really want to instill the same habits in my son. So, I am always on the lookout for books that can help build my sons vocabulary and open his mind. I love books that can broaden your thinking frame and help you become more accepting of situations. Because coming from a South Asian background, you are limited to very few resources in the family that help you become more aware of the current circumstances. 

When you pick up a book for your son specifically, you often tend to choose books that have male characters as super heroes. I don’t want my son assuming that only men can be super heroes who can save the day, rescuing people in their time of need.
When I got this book, I knew I had to read this to my son! He loves everything super heroes and this will definitely be something new to him.

The book is written by Sonia Panigrahy, who grew up learning about Hindu mythology and sadly couldn’t relate to any of the superheroes.
She says ‘while browsing through the colorful spines of children’s bookstores, I found that the books on the shelves were perpetuating social inequality. I continually noticed that it was much easier to find empowering books for boys than for girls. There were plenty of adventurous male characters to choose from, but when I searched for similar stories for young girls, I found the selection dismal. It was heart-breaking knowing how empowering books can be for children, but realizing for girls, many books were doing just the opposite’.

Coming to the book review, the story is about a girl named Nina, who comes from an ethnic background and has a firefly, Fiona, as her side kick. They are spending a regular day playing in the playground when they have to face a few rescue missions one by one. She is an intelligent girl and with her speed and clever thinking, she is able to save the animals from the tricky situations. And at the end of the day, after she unwinds from her days work, all the animals come down to thank her for all the help.

The book is also interactive at the end where it asks you if you would like a super power and which one. My son conveniently chose a super muscle power. The book shows girls as strong, smart and speedy.
Nina’s ethnicity as been depicted in such a way that you can relate to it even if you’re a Latina/Hispanic, Black or from a South Asian background. You can easily relate to it with flexibility in interpretation. It gives a break to all the fairies and princess trying to find their prince charming and it moves on to strong and independent girls who know how to handle a predicament.

After reading the book, Azlan immediately wanted to rush to the playground ‘on a rescue mission like Nina and save the animals calling out for help’.

I think this book is absolutely well written for ages 4 and above, perfectly aimed for both, boys and girls. It empowers the girls and brings in more acceptance for the boys. Definitely recommending this book to friends and family.

You can purchase the book here: