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Lowji Discovers America


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About The Book

Dear Jamshed,

American is not so different from what we thought. I told you I wouldn't see a single cowboy riding across the plain, and I haven't.

I have not even seen a plain.

Still there are some silver linings. They are:

1. Trapper and King, the cat and dog who live in the apartment building. They are cuddly and waggy. I am not allowed to play with them, though, because they are supposed to catch mice and keep burglars away.

2. Ironman. He owns a pig and talks to me a lot. But he is a grown-up.

3. Kids. I can hear them playing outside. Too bad they do not want to play with me.

I wish you were here.

Do you wish I was in India?

Write back soon.

Your friend,

Reading Group Guide

By Candace Fleming
For nearly nine-year-old Lowji, the move from big, busy Bombay, India, to Hamlet, Illinois, in America is beginning to seem like a bummer until he finds the "silver" (silver linings). What Lowji discovers first is that "No! No you can't have a pet," works no matter where he lives until he finds the "silver."
Awareness of surroundings and situations; Persistence in seeking information and answers; Culture of India; Learning to compromise
• In what ways did the glossary help you?
• Using clues from the story, describe Jamshed.
• What reasons can you give for the ways that the All Mart boys acted toward Lowji?
• Explain to adults like Lowji's parents why it was important for Lowji to respond as he did to Baseball Cap and the All Mart boys in the bowling alley.
• Predict and discuss what will happen during Lowji's first weeks at Hamlet Elementary School.
Lowji Discovers America tells of many adventures. Make a time line to show the problems or events that Lowji encounters and his solutions to them.
• Lowji is unsure about moving to America. His bape tells him to look for the silver linings. ° Explain what Bape means by silver linings. ° When you understand the meaning of silver linings, think of some examples from your own life where you tried to find the silver linings. ° Using a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer, compare Lowji's "silvers" with your own.
• The author has created a lively and interesting character in Lowji. Write down Lowji's special characteristics. For example, what characteristics does Lowji display in the chapter, "Ironman" when he saves the pig?
• Lowji folded paper and created a "wish" bird. His paper folding is known as origami. Look for books on origami in your school library or public library. From books on origami and web sites you can learn to make your own "wish" bird and other creatures. Copier paper cut into squares works well when learning origami.
Suggested web sites: and
• Lowji and his parents are newcomers to America. If they plan to stay here for the rest of their lives, they could also be called immigrants.
When we hear the word "immigrant" in the news, we may be reading someone's opinion about problems with the immigration of people into America. The treatment of people emigrating from India to America in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries was similar to what immigrating Hispanics are experiencing in the early years of the twenty-first century. In 1890 a congressman wanted to stop admitting people from India into America because, "They wore turbans, ate rice, and were not Christians." At that time people from India were usually called "Hindus." That word refers to just one of the many religions of India.
What do you know about immigrants? To find out more, get information from InfoTrac and SIRS Discoverer databases. Another good source for learning more about immigration is Appreciating America's Heritage from the American Immigration Law Foundation ( From the same source you can find a document from 2002 called The Passage from India. Appreciating America's Heritage is a curriculum guide for K-12, with activities and resources.¬
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Mary Ann Sadler
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Eric Rohmann

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including the Bulldozer books; Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, and Sibert Medal honorees The Honeybee, and The Giant Squid. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (June 17, 2008)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416958321
  • Ages: 7 - 11

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Awards and Honors

  • Virginia Young Readers List
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year
  • Maine Student Book Award Reading List
  • Sunshine State Young Readers' Award List (FL)

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More books from this author: Candace Fleming