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Children's Fiction Friendship

Mission Mumbai

A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets

by (author) Mahtab Narsimhan

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2021
Friendship, Humorous Stories, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7



Two friends, one deep alliance, the trip of a lifetime!



Travel to the colourful and chaotic streets of India from the comfort of your home in this hilarious and heartfelt story about friendship and family.

When aspiring photographer Dylan Moore is invited to join his best friend, Rohit Lal, on a family vacation to India, he jumps at the chance to escape his parents’ bitter fighting and go on an exciting journey just like his Lord of the Rings heroes, Frodo and Sam — except with less walking and lots of amazing food and photo ops.

How hard can it be for a street-smart New Yorker to navigate India?

Turns out, really hard. Mumbai is nothing like New York City, as Dylan discovers in his daily encounters with intense heat, massive crowds, filthy streets, and strange customs. He loves it all, and it’s a great distraction from what’s happening at home, but he’s always one step away from disaster, despite warnings from Rohit and his mom. And when Ro’s family problems threaten to cut the trip short, it seems like the two friends can’t agree on anything anymore.

Will their separate goals pit them against each other, or can they set aside their differences in this epic quest for friendship and adventure?


About the author

Mahtab Narsimhan is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including Silver Birch Award winner The Third Eye. Her novel, The Tiffin (Dancing Cat Books, 2011), was nominated for numerous awards in Canada and was recently published in the United Kingdom and Taiwan. Mission Mumbai is her publishing debut in the United States. Mahtab is a native of Mumbai, India, and lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit her online at

Mahtab Narsimhan's profile page

Excerpt: Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets (by (author) Mahtab Narsimhan)


We zoomed through the streets of the city as it stirred to life. In front of dilapidated huts, made entirely of recyclable material, stoves were already lit, heating up steaming pots of food. Women squatted on sidewalks, totally at home in this open-air kitchen. I was amazed at how comfortable they looked, living on the street. Sufficiently awake by now, I started clicking away on my Nikon, pausing every few seconds to wipe my sweaty hands on my shorts.

            Shortly after, we arrived at Victoria Terminus. It was the equivalent of Grand Central Station in New York City, but it couldn't have been more different. Nothing had prepared me for the explosion of sight, sound, and color. Even at 6:45 the place was packed. People jostled us, calling out to one another as they hurried toward the dusty white-and-blue carriages waiting patiently along the length of the station. Sweating porters with unimaginably heavy loads balanced on their heads loped by. They were followed by families probably on their way to the country for vacations. The pungent smells of samosas, fresh ink, and pee lingered in the air. I stood there and gaped, enveloped in a frenzy of human activity unlike anything I'd seen before. There also lingered a twinge of panic. If I got lost here, how would I find my way back home? Why had I refused to carry the cell phone Mom had offered?


Editorial Reviews


Praise for Mission Mumbai:

“An adrenaline-charged exploration of Mumbai with two likable guides.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Dylan and Rohit are on a voyage of discovery that explores their emotional lives as well as the spellbinding streets of Mumbai, making this a very entertaining and rewarding book to read.” — National Reading Campaign

“The boy’s situation, in which a friendship that jogged along well in one setting strains at the seams in another, rings true, and the fact that the tension manifests in sulkiness and sniping rather than a set-to augments the credibility.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“At its best, this novel paints an uncompromising picture of the harsh realities of poverty and Western privilege and provides readers with a striking illustration of India’s customs and cuisine. Both Dylan and Rohit are believable characters, and their mounting conflict will make sense to readers.” — School Library Journal

“It’s a dazzling combination of characters, atmosphere, plot and humour.” — Canlit for Little Canadians


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