Reena wants to be a star, a Bollywood star. Unfortunately, her family won’t stand for it. It doesn’t help that Reena is only eight-years-old. However, a beacon of hope arrives in the form of Uncle Jessi. He’s just emigrated from India to America, and is a welcome addition to her family household. One day, Uncle Jessi plans a secret surprise. He invites her to take part in a pretend acting game. Reena jumps at the chance. At first, she enjoys swinging her hips to Bollywood beats. She smiles brightly at his camera. However, halfway through her performance matters take an unexpected turn. The end results surprise both Reena and Uncle Jessi.
Important lessons are taught in “Reena’s Bollywood Dream” by author Jewel Kats including: Children will learn that sexual abuse is NEVER their fault; Parents and children will be given a launching pad to discuss the warning signs of grooming; Children will come away knowing they have the power to say: NO; Children will discover that sexual abuse can occur in any cultural group.
Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story about Sexual Abuse
Loving Healing Press (2010)
Reviewed by Zoey Crane (age 6) and Carol Hoyer, Ph.D., (“Nana”) for Reader Views (09/10)
Summary: A well illustrated, brightly colored book that is very informative about inappropriate advances by adults toward children. The story is easy to read and understand, and can be adopted by any culture.
“No one should ever ask you to do something you don’t like, that includes relatives. Reena likes her uncle and he believes in her. He helps by taking pictures of her, but asks her to take off her top and she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t think her parents will believe her so she has to do something to show them it’s for real. She takes the video out of her uncle’s room and shows her parents. Her mom and dad said she was right in telling and that she could tell any adult she trusts what happened. Our private parts are ours- no one has the right to see them if we don’t want them to. I learned to tell an adult if someone does something I don’t like.”
“Reena’s Bollywood Dream” was a very easy to read and understand book for my 6-year-old granddaughter. She learned that no one can touch her if she doesn’t want it and she should tell an adult. Even though the individual may be a family member, she knows what to do now. We had a long discussion about this and about what you call your private areas (real names), so that if it happened to her she could describe when and how and by whom.