Orange for the Sunsets

Orange for the Sunsets

A soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, Tina Athaide’s unforgettable middle grade debut follows two friends whose lives are transformed by Idi Amin’s decision to expel Indians from Uganda in 1972.Twelve-year-old Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Ugandan President Idi...

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Title:Orange for the Sunsets
Author:Tina Athaide
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Orange for the Sunsets Reviews

  • Sarah Aronson

    Beautiful book!

    Tissues required!

  • Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

    Asha's family has lived in Uganda for many years. Her father works with the department of tourism, her mother is a nurse, and Asha enjoys going to school in a mainly Indian school. She is best friends with Yesofu, who is African and whose mother works for Asha's family. As the two get older, Yesofu starts to realize the disparities in the way Indians and Africans are treated; for example, on their soccer team, Yesofu gets little playing time even though he is one of the

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

    Asha's family has lived in Uganda for many years. Her father works with the department of tourism, her mother is a nurse, and Asha enjoys going to school in a mainly Indian school. She is best friends with Yesofu, who is African and whose mother works for Asha's family. As the two get older, Yesofu starts to realize the disparities in the way Indians and Africans are treated; for example, on their soccer team, Yesofu gets little playing time even though he is one of the best players. When Idi Amin comes to power, the social construct comes into question. When Uganda was under British rule in the 1880s, Indian workers were brought in to help build railways. Many stayed, and they ended up being in a social strata below the British, who held power, and the Ugandas, who were shut out of many jobs. Amin doesn't like this, and wants to return "Africa to the Africans". This means that Indians must leave the country. The exact parameters of this changed; at first, Asha's family thinks they can stay because they have protected jobs, but soon even those residents who are citizens are forced out. Not only that, but to "help" the economy, the Indians leaving are not allowed to take most of their money with them, and must sell their properties to the government. Asha doesn't want to leave, and when she sees her father making plans, takes the family's passports and hides them. As the clock ticks down, many of her friends leave, businesses stand empty, and protests and riots against the Indians become more frequent. Yesofu loves Asha, but he also sees that his people have fewer opportunities than hers, and begins to support Dada Amin. When an indiscretion on the part of Asha and Yesofu causes the arrest of Asha's father, Asha and her mother know that they must leave their beloved homeland even though they don't want to.

    Strengths: This was an excellent mix of daily life, politics, friendship and suspense. It also covers a point in history of which I was completely ignorant, since I started reading the newspaper in 1974, when Nixon resigned. It managed to realistically portray both Asha's feelings of anger and disbelief at being displaced from her home and also Yesofu's feelings of injustice in equally sympathetic terms. The author left Uganda as a young child, and drew upon conversations with friends and relatives who remembered this event, which makes it all the more impressive that she was able to give Yesofu's concerns voice.

    Weaknesses: There were a few moments were it felt like I had heard Asha's complaints before, but that probably bothered me only because I really, really wanted to know what happened next!

    What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and glad to have this to add to a collection of riveting novels set around the world, like Amal Unbound, The Night Diary, Everlasting Nora, The Bridge Home, Running on the Roof of the World, and Stand on the Sky.

  • Maddy

    Let me start by saying that I know frightfully little about African history. It's a sad truth that I definitely need to rectify. I can tell you that this novel is a great step towards learning more. Set in 1972, it follows Asha, a daughter of an Indian family living in Uganda, and Yesofu, a native Ugandan who is also her best friend. Through Asha and Yesofu's friendship, the events of the Indian removal from Uganda is sensitively told.

    This novel is not only about the political events unfolding

    Let me start by saying that I know frightfully little about African history. It's a sad truth that I definitely need to rectify. I can tell you that this novel is a great step towards learning more. Set in 1972, it follows Asha, a daughter of an Indian family living in Uganda, and Yesofu, a native Ugandan who is also her best friend. Through Asha and Yesofu's friendship, the events of the Indian removal from Uganda is sensitively told.

    This novel is not only about the political events unfolding in their lives, but it is also about friendship, family, and what it means to be a part of a country. The struggle to determine national identity is a theme that both Asha and Yesofu are trying to solve together. Their friendship is strained by the rising animosity between Indians and Africans and the tug of war between their peers who want them to take sides. Asha and Yesofu are confronted with the violence and unfairness of politics and those who become stuck in the middle.

    For a middle grade novel, it is surprisingly heavy and shockingly brutal, but a novel still easily read by the audience it is met for. The descriptions of Uganda are beautiful and created a strong desire in me to visit Africa and see the landscape for myself.

    is a great teaching resource for anyone wishing to give younger children knowledge about African history, politics, or the violence that politics can bring up in people. I highly recommend Asha and Yesofu's story for all ages and whoever has the interest to learn more of Africa.

  • Wendy Thomas

    I was concerned that the politics in this novel would be too heavy, but I was totally wrong. The author presented what I felt was a balanced view of the expulsion of Indians from Uganda in 1972 through the dual narratives of Asha and Yesofu. I think this is an important book for our time and could help kids understand world events and provoke some thoughtful discussion. Beyond that, it was a compelling story and one that kept me riveted.

  • Jennybeast

    Let me start with the things I love: the subject of this book is Uganda’s expulsion of Asian Indians under Idi Amin (1972), which is not something I've read much about. It does a fabulous job of illustrating the deep fury that is the legacy of colonialism, and the tension and sorrow of the unintentionally privileged as well. The alternating viewpoints between 12 year olds Yesofu and Asha, friends on both sides of the conflict, are effective and illuminating. Overall, great storytelling.

    However,

    Let me start with the things I love: the subject of this book is Uganda’s expulsion of Asian Indians under Idi Amin (1972), which is not something I've read much about. It does a fabulous job of illustrating the deep fury that is the legacy of colonialism, and the tension and sorrow of the unintentionally privileged as well. The alternating viewpoints between 12 year olds Yesofu and Asha, friends on both sides of the conflict, are effective and illuminating. Overall, great storytelling.

    However, to be honest, this book is a downer -- legitimately so, but be aware that it's not a feel good, hope for the future kind of book. It's an honest portrayal of a land in conflict and the consequences of taking a stand in that kind of scenario. There's also a certain amount of brutality that the main characters have to face. I would recommend it for tweens with care and thoughtfulness, but probably suggest a teen audience.

    Advanced Reader's copy provided by Edelweiss.

  • Melinda

    I basically learn all of my world history from middle grade novels now.

  • Liz

    I had no idea this had happened. This is one of those books where I say I really liked it but I don't know if I enjoyed it. Such an important read.

  • Joanna Galluzzo

    I would have given it a five, if it had ended better. It seemed like it ended at a cliffhanger, and I want to know what happened to Asha and Yesofu, but there isn't anyway to find out because there isn't a sequel yet, and if there is one I'll probably have forgotten the book by then.

  • Alexa Hamilton

    Asha and Yesofu are best friends in spite of their differences. She's Indian, he's African, his mother works for her family. but everything is mostly okay, aside from some middle school drama with his other friends. Until Idi Amin announces that all Indians must leave the country. The differences grow greater, the drama as well. What will happen to their friendship? What will happen to Asha's family?

    Asha and Yesofu narrate every other chapter of this book, which is nice in order to see things fr

    Asha and Yesofu are best friends in spite of their differences. She's Indian, he's African, his mother works for her family. but everything is mostly okay, aside from some middle school drama with his other friends. Until Idi Amin announces that all Indians must leave the country. The differences grow greater, the drama as well. What will happen to their friendship? What will happen to Asha's family?

    Asha and Yesofu narrate every other chapter of this book, which is nice in order to see things from each perspective as they grow apart and learn to handle it. There's also a good amount of information about this political time, which I knew nothing about. I'm really grateful that this book covers a period that I'm not well educated about. I think this chasm between people because of the groups they belong to is true in so many places, and it's interesting to see this exploration of this time and the way that these differences really come into play when so much is on the line.

    The way that Yesofu and Asha are introduced to us felt a little didactic at times--there's a lot of telling not showing. But once the real emotions and political drama starts, you do get wrapped up in the story.

  • Kelly Hager

    I didn't know much about this at all, and that makes me feel awful. We always think we've learned from the Holocaust and this is how the Holocaust starts. We see it here through the eyes of Asha (who's Indian) and Yesofu (Ugandan). 

    At first, it seems like Idi Amin has a point (at least to Yesofu). He can see the disparity between how Indians and the British are treated and how Africans are treated; he sees how Asha has a nice home and servants, while he and his family live in a shack without run

    I didn't know much about this at all, and that makes me feel awful. We always think we've learned from the Holocaust and this is how the Holocaust starts. We see it here through the eyes of Asha (who's Indian) and Yesofu (Ugandan). 

    At first, it seems like Idi Amin has a point (at least to Yesofu). He can see the disparity between how Indians and the British are treated and how Africans are treated; he sees how Asha has a nice home and servants, while he and his family live in a shack without running water.

    But then it escalates and he starts to wonder what will happen when all the non-Africans have left Uganda. Will it stop there? Or will he go after other people? Who will be the next target?

    This is such an intense book and it's almost worse because we see it through kids' perspectives. They don't really see the danger that's creeping up on them. 

    Highly recommended.

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