Mira in the Present Tense

Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic, and outspoken family in which it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie’s health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her. An incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance—and often injustice—of life and death. But at its heart, it’s a celebration of friendship, culture—and life.

  • 288 Pages
  • 5.50" x 8"
  • 9780807551516
  • May 2015

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 9780807551509
  • May 2015

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  • Readers will enjoy watching Mira gather strength through writing in her diary and confronting her fears.

    - Publishers Weekly

  • The story is told in Mira’s voice, and readers will be affected by her growing awareness and sophisticated, often philosophical musings about religion, family, and growing up.

    - School Library Journal

  • Puberty, first-love and a grandparent’s death figure in this gentle coming-of-age debut from the U.K., winner of Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize in 2011…Movingly portrayed in realistic detail, (Nana Josie’s) looming death and Mira’s sorrow are the novel’s strong suit.

    - Kirkus Reviews

  • This is a gentle coming-of-age story built around a heartbreaking event. Mira, a compelling narrator with an artist’s eye for detail, benefits from a lifetime surrounded by people who love her. Her story resonates with truth (despite the secrets) and joy (despite the sorrow).

    - Booklist

  • It is Mira’s awakening as a young woman, artist, and writer that welcomes readers into the novel. The real and sometimes raw emotions will ring true for readers.

    - VOYA

  • Mira in the Present Tense…is a lyrical, more serious novel about another “Hin-Jew,” this one British and focused less on “the Indian Jewish thing” than on the awfulness of turning 12.

    - The New York Times

  • Mira’s character is so likeable and Brahmachari perfectly captures preteen emotions as she deals with major issues.

    - Library Media Connection, starred review

Awards & Accolades

  • 2014 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2013

Common Core



  • Accelerated Reader Points: 11
  • ATOS Level: 5.5