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The Tiffin

by Mahtab Narsimhan

ISBN: 9781770860391

Format: Trade Paperback

Size: 5.16" x 7.65"


The dabbawallas of Mumbai deliver box lunches — called tiffins — to whitecollar workers all over the vast city. They are legendary for their near-perfect service: for every six million lunches sent, only one will fail to reach its intended destination. The Tiffin is about that one time in millions when a box goes astray, changing lives forever.


When a note placed in a tiffin is lost, a newborn — Kunal — is separated from his mother. Twelve years later, Kunal lives as a virtual slave under the thumb of his foster father, Seth. With danger and oppression making it impossible to stay where he is, Kunal asks his friend Vinayak, an aging dabbawalla, to help him find his birth mother. Vinayak introduces Kunal to the tiffin carriers, and a plan is hatched. Along the way, Kunal learns what it means to be part of a family.

Price: $12.95

Ages: 10 to 13

Publication Date: August 31, 2011

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Tiffin, The


JUV013050 JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Orphans & Foster Homes

JUV030020 JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Asia

JUV039010 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Physical & Emotional Abuse (see also Social Themes / Sexual Abuse)

JUV039070 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Homelessness & Poverty

Shortlisted, 2013 SYRCA Snow Willow Award

Shortlisted, 2013 OLA Red Maple Fiction Award

Shortlisted, 2012 CLA Book of the Year for Children

Shortlisted, 2013 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award

Commended, 2011 Resource Links Year's Best

Commended, 2011 Quill and Quire Books of the Year (Books for Young People)


“[The Tiffin] is a great book about social consciousness … because it can show you that just because someone lives halfway around the world doesn’t mean they’re not dealing with the same issues you’re dealing with.”
National Post


“Melding the fantastically factual with fiction, Narsimhan sheds light on a relatively unknown part of Mumbai life while simultaneously creating a compelling quest that reads like a classic folk tale. Forgive the groan-inducing wordplay, but a novel this original is one in six million.” Starred Review
Quill & Quire


“Narsimhan recounts a marvellous, well-told story about what it means to belong … When all is lost (or even just one tiffin!), Narsimhan demonstrates how hope can survive!” Recommended.
CM Magazine

“I really enjoyed travelling to Mumbai in this story, and experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds of this populous city … this is a unique survival story that will captivate junior and intermediate students.”
— Maria Martella, Tinlids

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