Title: Adventures of the Tornado Kid
Author: Rakesh Malhotra
Publisher: Net Worlding Publishing
Ask any parent or child and they will most likely agree that today’s society is rushed, fast-paced, unemotional and stressed out. In Rakesh Malhotra’s Adventures of the Tornado Kid ~ Whirling Back Home Toward Timeless Values, the author tries to reconnect society’s communication skills involving family, friends and community.
This one hundred and ninety-eight page paperback book has a simple drawing of two silhouetted young children holding hands watching a tornado in the distance on the front jacket. The book is targeted to young children through middle school ages, with the needed assistance of parents or adults who want to participate and be involved in volunteerism too. There was no profanity or awkward, scary or sexual scenes.
The story is about eleven year old James and his family and friends. On the morning that it is his birthday, he anticipates an exciting day but his own parents and brother forget his special day. Even though he is acknowledged for his birthday at school, he is sad and discouraged about his despondent family. While in class, the teacher asks suggestions for the upcoming fifth grade volunteer project and James wants it to be special this year. Hours later, while James, his best friend Alisha and his friends have to hunker down in the school halls, a tornado destroys their town, leaving a wake of debris and destruction to many homes.
Due to the disaster, James suggests the class project to be to aid and assist in helping the community clean up and repair homes, yards and streets damaged from the tornado. However, he thinks his parents are too busy to contribute to the project and his brother is too lazy and selfish. Frustrated, he spends several days and nights at Alisha’s house instead of his own, comparing how her family is so much more thoughtful, compassionate and loving.
Without giving away the ending, this hands-on book for both child and parent breaks down the story into five separate relational areas: responsibility, compassion, integrity, peace and love. After the story ends, there are almost sixty pages of parental guidance and participation that includes definitions of the five areas with quizzes, several activities, challenges and references.
With many of today’s children being raised without supervision, having hard-to-find quality role models and being brought up with insecurities, this short story’s five global values are passed down in a way that makes children want to improve society, build communities and volunteer to make our world a better place. There is plenty of room for the author to write similar stories in this venue of engaging children to contribute to improving society.