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Asha & the Spirit Bird

Written by Jasbinder Bilan

Key Stage 2 Adventure Stories Family / Home Stories General Fiction

LoveReading View on Asha & the Spirit Bird

An enchanting Indian adventure that sings with magic, mysticism and a whole lot of heart

Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2019 | Debut of the Month January 2020 | Winner of the 2017 Time/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition | Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020

Rich in drama, and suffused in the spirituality and atmosphere of the author’s native Northern Punjab, Jasbinder Bilan’s debut is a delightful, hope-bathed treat for 9+ year-olds.

With money tight, Asha’s father has gone to the big city to work in a factory, having promised to send money home, and to return to their village in the Himalayan foothills for Diwali. But when the money stops arriving and her mum runs into trouble with a lender, Asha makes a big, brave decision: she will cross the world’s highest mountains to find her father. Accompanied by best friend Jeevan, and with the magical, protective presence of her nanijee – her grandmother’s spirit bird – Asha sets out on a truly transformative journey of a lifetime.

Along the way, the friends encounter dangerous beasts of the animal and human kind, but they never give up hope, with Asha’s infectious sense of justice, self-belief and spirituality keeping them firmly fixed on their goal. This is perfect for fans of the Himalayas-set Running on the Roof of the World and the adventure stories of Eva Ibbotson and Katherine Rundell.

Joanne Owen

More About This Book

“Imaginative, magical, heartrending and hopeful....Wow! We unanimously lost our hearts to this gorgeous book.” said the Costa Book Award Judges.

Asha & the Spirit Bird Synopsis

From debut author Jasbinder Bilan comes a thrilling adventure across contemporary India, embroiled in mysticism and magic. Jasbinder’s first novel draws on the rich heritage of her family history to create a story which celebrates cultural diversity, the importance of family, and the strength of friendship.

Asha lives in the foothills of the Himalayas. Money is tight and she misses her papa who works in the city. When he suddenly stops sending his wages, a ruthless moneylender ransacks their home andher mother talks of leaving. From her den in the mango tree, Asha makes a pact with her best friend, Jeevan, to find her father and make things right. But the journey is dangerous: they must cross the world's highest mountains and face hunger, tiredness - even snow leopards. And yet, Asha has the unshakeable sense that the spirit bird of her grandmother - her nanijee - will be watching over her.

Asha & the Spirit Bird Press Reviews

'I was swept along by Asha's story from the first page.'  Sarah Driver, author of The Huntress trilogy

‘… weaves themes of faith, friendship and greed into a vibrant adventure with a rich seam of magic realism.’ Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Book Information

ISBN: 9781911490197
Publication date: 7th February 2019
Author: Jasbinder Bilan
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2
Topics: Adventure Stories, Family / Home Stories, General Fiction

About Jasbinder Bilan

Jasbinder Bilan lives near Bath, in England, with her husband, two sons and a naughty little dog named Enzo.  She works as a teacher and in her free time enjoys writing stories for children.

More About Jasbinder Bilan

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