“Nothing changes because of our doing. It’s all in the hands of the gods.”
- Saraswati's Way

If the gods wanted Akash to have an education, he is told, they would give him one. But Akash has spent his entire twelve years poor and hungry. So he decides to take control of his own life and try for a scholarship to the city school where he can pursue his beloved math. But will challenging destiny prove to be more than he has bargained for? 

paperback edition

paperback edition

Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux © 2010, ISBN 978-0-374-36411-3, ages 11-14, grades 5-8.


  • 2010 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Asia/India/Middle East
  • Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choice 
  • NCSS Notable Social Studies Tradebook for Young People
  • Bank Street College -Best Children’s Book of the Year


“This rare combination of math and culture is a boon for discussions and makes this stand out.” -Kirkus Review, October 15, 2010

“With skillfully integrated cultural details (further explained in an appended glossary and author’s note) and a fully realized child’s story, Schröder presents a view, sobering and inspiring, of remarkably resilient young people surviving poverty without losing themselves.” -Booklist, December 2010

“Twelve-year-old Akash dreams of studying mathematics. Knowing his prospects for a good education are dim, he flees his small desert village in India for Delhi, becoming one of the many children scavenging the streets for food and shelter. Akash is an appealing hero for this urban survival story, driving the tale through dangerous situations and unlikely comrades to a happy conclusion.” -Horn Book, January 2011

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Learn more about my other books, The Dog in the Wood and My Brother's Shadow.