The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister

By Charlotte Agell

From Henry Holt & Company
Hardcover Chapter Book
Ages 8 to 12

Read a Copy


Reviews & Other Raves

India Makes an ALA Top Ten!

“A delightful addition to the middle-grade canon.”–Publishers Weekly

“…this chapter book is rooted in a tradition that goes back to Beverly Cleary’s Ramona stories…A promising start for the series.” —Booklist

“those looking for a realistic new character to love won’t be disappointed in nine-year-old India McCallister, who could step right out of the lifestyles section of any contemporary newspaper. An adopted Chinese girl, she lives in smalltown Maine with her single mother, an artist and breast cancer survivor, and spends weekends with her gay father and his partner, Richard, who listen to NPR…What gives this book strength and validity is that these topics are never discussed; they are simply part of India’s quotidian existence, presented in her authentic voice…” —Publishers Weekly

“This gentle story is illustrated throughout with Agell’s line drawings, which add to the humor…Enjoyable, engaging and emotionally resonant.” —Kirkus Reviews

“India’s voice is easygoing and enjoyable, and the chapter-book format, with one “adventure” per chapter, is reassuringly manageable; the plentiful marginal illustrations, in robust sketches with handwritten commentary, give the book an invitingly notebooky flavor, adding to its accessibility.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Although the material is very now, Charlotte’s child-centered style with freedom to explore reminds me of the classic books from my childhood from Harriet the Spy to Jenny Linsky and the Cat Club. Families with step-parents, breast cancer survivors (India’s mother is one), same-sex partners and/or adopted children will especially appreciate the inclusiveness of this contemporary story. Charlotte covers “The Big Issues” in an age appropriate manner without being judgmental. For example India has typical problems accepting her new stepfather, but his being gay is a not an issue (except to the nosy neighbor.)” —Sarah Laurance Blog

“In this early chapter book, India McAllister feels that her life is too full of contradictions. Her name is India but she was adopted from China. She’s a girl who loves science (woo-hoo!) but her best friend is a boy. She yearns for the cosmopolitan life, but she lives in a small town. In this first book (which stands alone but is the first in a series) India’s parents are divorced and she meets her dad’s new gay partner for the first time. Definitely something I’ll want to get my hands on.” –Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production

“A sequel will not be enough for those of us who have fallen in love with India McAllister…It’s sweet and funny, and the way India’s small but complicated family comes together in the end left me with a lump in my throat and a smile on my face.” –Amazon Customer Review

“Each character is perfectly described and sculpted so I can picture how they are in my mind and how they act. One of the most fun parts about this book is India’s voice. She narrates out of her own eye and has a young, funny essence to how she does it. I really like her crazy dog, Tofu, because I can completely relate to having one hyper, lovable, woofing yellow bundle of craziness in our house! India was a super fun read, and I would definitely recommend it to kids around the age of eight to ten. I think they would really enjoy reading this book, I know I did!” —Twelve-Year-Old Reader

“My youngest daughter is a serious Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, Flat Stanley, Geronimo Stilton, you-name-the-series-she’ll-read-it kind of kid. I wondered if India would fit the bill…One of my pet peeves with series books these days is the flatness to the characters. This is not to say they don’t have their own quirks, but rather, that they all seem to come from the same amorphous, fictitious middle America neighborhood. It’s a great marketing ploy, but gets a little boring after a while, at least for me…. She [India]  more than lived up to my expectations…all around these adventures is the enticing flavors of real setting, modern day family, and real life.  Go India!  Add to that the gentle illustrations with which Agell enlivens the pages, and it’s a winning combination. I cannot wait to read more.”  —Out There Blog


Blog Story: Get to the Point

Blog Story: Accidental Adventures of India McAllister

For a review that really made me smile, click here:

The Southern Poverty Law Center approves and India is honored. More HERE.

An interview about the writer’s life on Bethany Hegedus’s Blog.

Here is a guest blog about “why write about cancer?” in Reading for a Cure (see the post from 9/28/12)

India in Action!