Maya Running

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The small golden statue of the Hindu elephant god, Ganesh, hardly looks like an all-knowing Granter of Wishes. But Ganesh is more powerful than he looks, and he’s about to send a young girl on a magical journey of self-discovery.

It’s 1978, and Maya Mukherjee is the only brown-skinned middle schooler in her tiny Manitoba town. Born in India and raised in the land of moose and snow, she feels neither Indian enough for Indians nor Canadian enough for Canadians. She longs to fit in, and she yearns for Jamie Klassen, the local bad boy with the John Travolta strut.

Then Maya’s beautiful cousin Pinky arrives from India bearing the scent of sandalwood and her most treasured possession—the statue of Ganesh. When Pinky steals Jamie’s heart, Maya pleads with Ganesh to remove all obstacles to her happiness, a plea that backfires in hilarious and painful ways. She must journey across continents to find the truth, her culture, and herself.

In this delightful debut, first published over a decade ago by Wendy Lamb Books/Random House and now available again as a new edition, Anjali Banerjee offers a fresh perspective on universal hopes and dreams, as narrated by an insightful girl with an irrepressible imagination.


—One of Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best” children’s novels published in 2005
—One of New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2006
—India Abroad Magazine featured MAYA RUNNING in its cover story for the April 22, 2005
—India’s largest book club, India Today Book Club, chose Maya Running (Penguin Books India edition) as a Pick of the Season
—Toronto Public Library recommended read for May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
—Midwest Book Review recommended pick
—Chicago Public Schools recommended read for Women’s History Month (for grades 5-8)

“Terrific, funny and inventive.”
—Paula Danziger, late author of over 25 books for children

“Beautiful and complex…pleasingly accessible.”
—Philadelphia Inquirer

“Eloquently composed…insightfully written…Banerjee’s is a promising new voice …compelling and imaginative.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Details of the cultures and everyday life of both India and Canada are integrated seamlessly…readers will see themselves in the realistic characters.”
—School Library Journal

“Lush, delicious diction, surprising, delightful similes…completely fresh and original…Maya Runningstands out among the crowd of usual lukewarm YA offerings; Banerjee’s new novel is red hot. Highly recommended.”
—Canadian Review of Materials

“In Maya, Banerjee has created a character with an authentic, engaging voice and a poignantly familiar yearning to belong. Teenage readers will find much to identify with in her captivating journey of self-discovery.”

“Delightful…a wonderful story…Perfect for multicultural collections.”

“Maya Running…is really about the illusory nature of human existence, and about how one should be happy with what one has and what one is…An endearing book that heralds the voice of a bright new author.”
—The Pioneer, New Delhi

“A neat twist on the standard children’s tale of growing up; she writes like a Judy Blume acolyte and finds unusual solutions to Maya’s dilemmas…Not at all preachy.”
—Business Standard, New Delhi

“With its humor, magic, and realism I would recommend it to many students and teachers for units on multiculturalism, Canada, or for literature circles.”
—Library Media Connections

“Banerjee incorporates her life experiences into this imaginative tale…an enjoyable read.”

“Banerjee does a fine job of describing Maya’s life and the people who inhabit it.”

“Captivating account detailing brilliantly teenage angst.”
—Hindustan Times

“Touching debut novel…featuring fantastic elements of Indian lore.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Anjali Banerjee manages to capture the dreams and turmoil of Mayasri Mukherjee, the central character of her book in a delightful manner.”
—Deccan Chronicle

“Maya Running is full of observations that are incredibly mature and adult-like and then suddenly heart-warmingly childish, and often hilarious.”
—The Hindu

“A unique story with a dream-like quality that shows a young girl embracing her culture and learning about herself.”
—The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN). ALAN chose Maya Running as a BILL’S BEST BOOK for Jan. 2005.

“Maya Mukherjee is that delightful rarity in literature, a character who leaps off the page and into your heart. She is every bit as fresh and funny, poignant and unforgettable as Harriet, Ramona and Eloise the first time you met them.”
— Susan Wiggs, NY Times bestselling author

“Banerjee’s novel effectively juxtaposes the cultural ins and outs of being Canadian of Indian origin, with the universality of teenage longings.”
—Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Maya’s primary dreams and heartaches are vividly drawn and should ring true for young adult readers.”
—The Bremerton Sun, The Olympian

“Sweet, funny, and smart, Maya’s voice and the lure of magic will transport readers quickly through this engaging read.”
—Author Mitali Perkins