Simi Stands Tall by Arti Sonthalia
Review,  Middle Grade

Simi Stands Tall by Arti Sonthalia – middle-grade fiction about dealing with change

Simi Stands Tall is lovely, heartwarming, and realistic middle-grade fiction about dealing with change in life and facing it with courage that all kids can relate to.

middle-grade fiction about dealing with change

Simi Stands Tall by Arti Sonthalia

Publication Date : June 26, 2023

Publisher : Puffin

Read Date : June 30, 2023

Genre : Middle Grade (8+)

Pages : 118

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclaimer – Many thanks to the publisher for a review copy.
This post contains affiliate links.


Simi has to join a new school in a new city. But the three-time academic award winner of Bhaarti Bhavan is suddenly a nobody at Newton International School. She discovers that a boy named Parth who dresses in shabby clothes and torn shoes is much smarter than her. The popular girl Alisa has a mean streak. Simi’s only confidant is her pet goldfish Goldie as she navigates annoying older siblings and her mother’s chemotherapy.

With so many changes in her life will Simi learn to choose her human friends wisely stand
up tall for herself and defend her real friends?


middle-grade fiction about dealing with change

Simi Stands Tall is a lovely middle-grade book about Simi, a ten-year-old girl who is struggling with the new school and learning to navigate the changes in life.

There is a lot going on in Simi’s life. Her mother has cancer and is going through chemotherapy. For better treatment their family changed city, house, and Simi’s school. Simi was a popular girl in old school and three times academic award winner but at her new school, she doesn’t have friends, there are different teaching methods, and she isn’t treated special like she was used to in old school. She desperately wants to prove how smart and brilliant she is and make friends, especially with the class’ popular girl, Alisa.

It was interesting to see how Simi would adapt to all the changes and how she will learn to recognize real friends.

Writing is gripping and easy for kids. I loved alternating chapters of Simi’s life and her chat with her pet goldfish which was like a diary only instead of writing down her thoughts in a diary Simi shared them with her fish.

Simi is a lovely kid but like most kids of her age and being the youngest as well as most brilliant in family, she was brat. She often was rude toward her sibling and didn’t get they were smart in their own fields. She is very proud of her academic awards and often flaunts it at house and school.

It was great to see her develop, the way she understood everyone has problems in life, every person is different and smart in their own way, to stand up not just for herself but also for her friends and learned to work in a team even with the person she doesn’t like. Friendship between Simi, Parth, and Vidhi, and Simi’s love for her fish is heartwarming.

I loved how author showed middle-grade girl’s life in house– with love and hate relationships with siblings- and in school – how kids feel when their image of being the best at something is shaken. I could understand how Simi felt when her teacher told her she should learn math from Parth, the smartest kid in the school. Also, how kids are attracted to popular groups, how difficult for them to identify who their real friends are, the stress of the competition, and how it is ingrained in kids that grades are most important but there is other life skills that is also most important to learn in school.

There is serious layers like, parent suffering from cancer and how it affects kids, a kid with divorced parents and struggles with financial condition and they face judgments in school, and losing a pet and loved one… but all these serious topics are well balanced with lovely moments with family and friends.

The quiz competition adds an interesting subplot in the book with many fun facts that kids would enjoy learning about. The illustrations are cute. The end is perfectly uplifting.

Overall, Simi Stands Tall is lovely, heartwarming, and realistic middle-grade fiction about dealing with change in life and facing it with courage that all kids can relate to.

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. β€œYou can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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