How to Find What You’re Not Looking For is a historical novel set in the years after the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court ruling and references important historical events of the time, including the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite’s nightly news broadcasts, the Summer of Love, and music by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. At school, Ariel struggles with dysgraphia and is bullied because she is Jewish. Her sister, Leah, runs away with Raj, a recently immigrated Indian man, but her family rejects the marriage because Raj is not Jewish. Ariel questions behaviors she deems contradictory and expresses her thoughts through poetry. Throughout the novel, Ariel bravely asks the adults in her world difficult questions that compel them to interrogate their actions and beliefs, demonstrating that activism is not just publicly marching in the streets, but also confronting the everyday acts of racism and antisemitism that we often witness within our own families and communities.
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Award: 2022 Winner Book for Older Children