Dazzling Doll Clothing

About a year ago, I stumbled upon Seqquin on Etsy. They have the most gorgeous Indian doll clothes I’ve ever seen. I was never a kid that played with dolls but who knows maybe I would have had I owned a brown-skinned doll with sparkly Indian clothes that mirrored the outfits I wore for Diwali and weddings. I had to have a doll with a sari that matched the main character in my debut HOW TO WEAR A SARI. Thankfully Seqquin was able to make the sari. Love!!

Seqquin is a small shop founded by the granddaugher-grandmother duo, Rhea Singh (a budding teenage designer) and her Nani. Come learn a bit more about them in this interview and don’t forget to check out their store! They make wonderful gifts for the upcoming holidays!

Can you tell us a little bit about your company Seqquin and how it came to be?
The company Seqquin started in 2013 when I was upset over the fact that the Diwali season was coming up and my American Girl Dolls couldn’t wear Indian clothes like me. After telling my Nani, she made a matching lehenga for my doll. We then realized how many other girls were feeling how I did and created an etsy shop, originally Rhea’s Doll Boutique!

The Indian doll dresses are gorgeous!! The colors, the styling, the workmanship. Where do you get your inspiration?
We use inspiration from our own clothes and what we see in our community! We also look at popular trends and famous designers! All designs are done by us and we get our fabrics and trims from India.

Can you tell us about you and your Nani’s process for designing and stitching the outfits? 
The process starts with figuring out what to make. We look at our inventory and what’s popular in fashion and our shop and decide what type of outfit to make. We then design the outfit making sure to take into account the fabrics and trims we want to use. After designing, we cut and stitch the outfit. We then take photos of the outfit and store it safely.

How long does it take to make an outfit?
It can take us about a week.

Do you take custom orders?
We don’t always take custom orders but occasionally if we have time and materials we will!

What do you see in the future for Seqquin?
In the future we see further diversifying the kinds of dolls that we make clothes for!


Here are some fun quick questions.
What is your favorite fabric?
Rhea: Silk
Nani: Silk

What is your favorite color?
Rhea: Blue
Nani: Red or Pink

What is your favorite type of Indian outfit to wear?
Rhea: Lehengas!
Nani: Saris

Where can people find you online?
Our shop! https://www.etsy.com/shop/Seqquin
Instagram: @seqquindolls

Transition to South Asian Kidlit Newsletter

Thank you so much for stopping by over the years. As you know over the past few years I have been focusing more and more on South Asian Kidlit titles. A little over a year and a half ago, I started the South Asian Kidlit Newsletter which contains the same list of books that are in the South Asian Kidlit Round-up Blog Posts plus an mini-interview with a South Asian creator.  During this time I have been duplicating the information for the newsletter and the blog, which seemed okay initially. However, now we have nearly 30 books! (yeah!!)  So in the effort of saving me some time, I will no longer be doing the blog posts, but on the South Asian Kidlit page I will link to the respective season’s newsletter.

You can sign-up for the South Asian Kidlit Newsletter here.

Take Care  🙂

Cover Reveal for Unbelonging

I connected with Gayatri Sethi several years ago over our East African South Asian roots. My admiration for her knowledge and insight regarding racism, anti-Black issues in South Asian culture, and activism has grown the more I get to know her. She is a truly remarkable person.

It gives me great pleasure to share that @mangoandmarigoldpress is launching its twenty first book and second young adult book! Unbelonging is a compilation of free verse & prose intended for a Young Adult audience written by Gayatri Sethi with cover art by Divya Seshadri.

Where do those relegated to the margins find belonging?

In her luminous debut Unbelonging, Gayatri Sethi deftly interweaves verse, memoir, and a bold call to action as she recounts her experience searching for home in the diaspora.

Drawing upon her life story as a Tanzanian-born-Punjabi turned American educator and mother of biracial children, Sethi tells an intimate tale of stepping into her power while confronting misogyny, racism, and empire.

Spanning decades and continents– from Partition to the Black Lives Matter movement, South Africa to Atlanta– Unbelonging tells urgent truths, inspires critical self-reflection, and emboldens its readers to pursue radical forms of justice, compassion, and solidarity.

As part of a giving initiative, @mangoandmarigoldpress will offer sponsored copies (as part of the preorder campaign) of Unbelonging to minoritized students and educators considering this book for inclusion in syllabi, book clubs, professional development or campus programming. You can sponsor a copy for just $10!

The expected ship date is August 2021.

Early Praise for Unbelonging

In this sweeping ode to her ancestors and the homelands intimately tied to her identity, Gayatri infuses a blended stylistic narrative with symphonious self-reflection and an incisive call to action. Unbelonging is a mesmerizing debut about truth and naming, colonization and kinship, and a poetic meditation on what it means to be human. – Anjali Enjeti, Author SOUTHBOUND and THE PARTED EARTH

Unbelonging is a breathtaking, heartfelt, necessary poetry collection. A love letter to the diaspora, Unbelonging embraces readers while challenging them to confront their unspoken privileges. You will leave this book in deep reflection of your own history and identity. You will leave this book closer to your own roots, in touch with your heart and ready to forge a more inclusive future. -Jasmin Kaur, author of when you ask me where I’m going and if I tell you the truth

Gayatri Sethi is an exemplar; a fearless poet with the rare insight to grasp the imperative of addressing anti-Blackness to contextualize her own experiences of xenophobia, racism and gender bias on these shores. Listen carefully—her voice is a gift for this moment and beyond. –Camille Collins, author of The Exene Chronicles

And now for the cover reveal!

Title: Unbelonging
Author: Gayatri Sethi
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press, August 2021

Pre-Order Link: https://mangoandmarigoldpress.com/unbelonging

South Asian Kidlit 2021 – Spring

I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe.

Congratulations to Archaa Shrivastav for receiving the Stonewall Book Award for WE ARE LITTLE FEMINISTS: FAMILIES.

Today’s list covers books releasing from March through May of 2021. The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author or illustrator, contains a South Asian main character, or involve South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Spring 2021 list at Bookshop.org.

Title: Bindu’s Bindis
Author: Supriya Kelkar
Illustrator: Parvati Pillai
Publisher: Sterling Books
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-1454940203
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

This charming picture book is about a little girl who loves her bindis (and the many creative shapes they come in!). The bindis are also a connection to her Nani who lives in India. When Nani comes to visit Bindu and brings the bindis to her, it is just in time to wear something new to the school talent show. Bindu and Nani work together to shine their brightest and embrace their sparkle, even when they stand out from the crowd.

Title: Laxmi’s Mooch
Author: Shelly Anand
Illustrator: Nabi H. Ali
Publisher: Kokila
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-1984815651
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

A joyful, body-positive picture book about a young Indian American girl’s journey to accept her body hair and celebrate her heritage after being teased about her mustache. Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over–on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns that hair isn’t just for heads, but that it grows everywhere, regardless of gender.

Title: Birds of a Feather
Author: Sita Singh
Illustrator: Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593116449
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Mo has always felt a little different. While all the other peacocks grew bright, bold, beautiful feathers in rich greens and vibrant blues, Mo’s feathers grew in a snowy white. And even though Mo’s friends try to include him in their playtime, Mo doesn’t like to be reminded that he’s different from his friends. But when a storm threatens to ruin the group’s annual celebration, Mo must learn to stand tall, strut his stuff, and shake his brilliantly glowing tail feathers–in a way only he can–to help his friends and set things right.

Title: Fatima’s Great Outdoors
Author: Ambreen Tariq
Illustrator: Stevie Lewis
Publisher: Kokila
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
ISBN: 978-1984816955
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: South Asian – American

Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories–and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like.

Title: Amira’s Picture Day
Author: Reem Faruqi
Illustrator: Fahmida Azim
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-0823440191
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Muslim-American

Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is?
Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story.

Title: Hannah and the Ramadan Gift
Author: Qasim Rashid
Illustrator: Aaliya Jaleel
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593114667
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Muslim-American

It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place.

Title: Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers
Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Chaaya Prabhat
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
ISBN: 978-1623541293
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!
For the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, Bina is determined to make beaded bracelets for her brothers all by herself. She finds out which colors her brothers like and dislike and sets to work. Working with her every-other-one beading pattern causes Bina to discover something new about patterns–and her brothers.

Title: Halal Hot Dogs
Author: Susannah Aziz
Illustrator: Parwinder Singh
Publisher: Little Bee Books
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1499811575
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Musa has the perfect idea for his special Jummah treat, but things don’t go according to plan. Will Musa be able to get a yummy Jummah treat for his family? Every Friday after Jummah prayer at the masjid, Musa’s family has a special Jummah treat. They take turns picking out what the treat will be, but recently the choices have been . . . interesting. Week one, Mama made molokhia. It’s perfect for sharing, but gives us molokhia teeth for days! Week two, Baba burned the kufte kebabs on the grill. Week three, Seedi made his favorite riz b’haleeb-creamy rice pudding with pistachio sprinkled on top with an unexpected ingredient. Last week, Maryam brought jellybeans. . . . Finally, it’s Musa’s turn to pick, and he picks his favorite-halal hot dogs! But actually getting to eat this deliciousness turns into a journey riddled with obstacles. Will he ever get his favorite tasty treat?

Title: Hair Twins
Author: Raakhee Mirchandani
Illustrator: Holly Hatam
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-0316495301
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

Every morning Papa combs through his daughter’s waves like he does his own — parting it down the middle, using coconut oil to get all the tangles out. Some days he braids her hair in two twists down the side of her face. Other days he weaves it into one long braid hanging down her back, just like a unicorn tail. But her favorite style is when he combs her hair in a tight bun on the top of her head, just like the joora he wears every day under his turban. They call this their hair twin look!

Title: We Move the World
Author: Kari Lavelle
Illustrator: Nabi H. Ali
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-0062916853
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Non-Fiction


An inspiring and empowering picture book about the small things kids do that have the potential to change the world! Meet some of the world’s most beloved movers, shakers, scientists, activists, dreamers and doers—in this inspirational book by debut author Kari Lavelle, who gently reminds us that before folks like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sylvia Townsend were activists and trailblazers, they spoke their first words, took their first steps, and dreamed about the future. We Move the World introduces these folks and more from the past and present as models for what every childhood first can lead to. From first steps to solving puzzles and learning the alphabet, all the small things are only the beginning. They can lead to future activism and innovation that just might change the world!

Title: She Can You Can
Author: Garima Kushwaha
Illustrator: Anastasia Damani
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press
Publication Date: May 2021
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Non-Fiction
Community Represented: Indian/Indian-American

An alphabetic book that catalogs the lives of inspirational Indian women. From A for the scientist Anita Goel to Z for the prolific performer Zohra Seghal; this book celebrates Indian and Indian-American women who have paved the way for generations to come and who have forever redefined what it means to be enterprising, confident and most importantly, fearless.

Title: Nina Soni, Master of the Garden
Author: Kashmira Seth
Illustrator: Jenn Kocsmiersky
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
ISBN:  978-1682632253
Category-Genre: Chapter Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

It’s Take Your Child to Work Day, and Nina, Kavita, and Jay are all going to work with Mom, a landscape architect, to learn how to start a garden. Naturally that’s not enough for Nina, who quickly develops big plans for a business selling the vegetables she plans to grow. But her plans don’t include managing the problems that inevitably arise, including rabbits, slugs, mosquitos, and more!

Title: She Persisted: Virginia Apgar 
Author: Sayantani DasGupta and Chelsea Clinton
Illustrator: Gillian Flint and Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593115770
Category-Genre: Chapter Book – Non Fiction Biograph

There weren’t many women who tried to become doctors when Virginia Apgar went to medical school—but she didn’t let that stop her. After a professor discouraged from becoming a surgeon, she became an anesthesiologist instead and created the famous Apgar test to check the health of newborn babies. It’s a test that’s still used in hospitals across the world today!

Title: Gopi Diaries: Finding Love (Book #2)
Author: Sudha Murty
Illustrator: Sandhya Prahbat
Publisher: Harper Children’s
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-9390351619
Category-Genre: Chapter Book
Community Represented: Indian

In this second book in the bestselling Gopi Diaries series, Gopi is stronger, bigger, more confident than the little pup he was in the first book, but he is also cheekier and more mischievous! He faces new situations, new challenges, even new dog companions with endless energy and spirit. And then comes the day when he faces the biggest surprise of them all…

Title: Just Be You: Ask Questions, Set Intentions, Be Your Special Self, and More
Author: Mallika Chopra
Illustrator: Brenna Vaughan
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0762471225
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Self-Help Guide

An engaging, easy-to-read guide for young kids to learn tools that will help them live a good life. The United States and other nations are quickly becoming aware of the importance of children’s ability to be independent and meet challenges head on; parents are eager for resources that help kids learn how to navigate life on their own. Just Be You will help kids become focused on growth mindset by self-reflection, setting intentions for their lives, and being of service to themselves, their families, and the global community. Designed specifically with kids ages 8-12 in mind and with full-color illustrations throughout, Mallika’s book offers mindful exercises to help young people explore and find their voice. Mallika believes that if children learn early on to reflect, to be comfortable with uncertainty, to contribute in a way that’s unique to them, and to feel good about the journey, they will lead healthier, more adjusted, and happier lives.

Title: Amina’s Song
Author: Hena Khan
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534459885
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Contemporary
Community Represented: Pakistani-American

It’s the last few days of her vacation in Pakistan, and Amina has loved every minute of it. The food, the shops, the time she’s spent with her family—all of it holds a special place in Amina’s heart. Now that the school year is starting again, she’s sad to leave, but also excited to share the wonders of Pakistan with her friends back in Greendale. After she’s home, though, her friends don’t seem overly interested in her trip. And when she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story. How can Amina share the beauty of Pakistan when no one wants to listen?

Title: Aru Shah and the City of Gold
Author: Roshani Choksi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-1368013864
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Aru Shah and her sisters–including one who also claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter–must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras. Aru has just made a wish on the tree of wishes, but she can’t remember what it was. She’s pretty sure she didn’t wish for a new sister, one who looks strangely familiar and claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter, like her. Aru also isn’t sure she still wants to fight on behalf of the devas in the war against the Sleeper and his demon army. The gods have been too devious up to now. Case in point: Kubera, ruler of the city of gold, promises to give the Pandavas two powerful weapons, but only if they win his trials. If they lose, they won’t stand a chance against the Sleeper’s troops, which will soon march on Lanka to take over the Otherworld. Aru’s biggest question, though, is why every adult she has loved and trusted so far has failed her. Will she come to peace with what they’ve done before she has to wage the battle of her life?

Title: The Sinister Substitute
Author: Preeti Chhibber
Illustrator: James Lancett
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338587197
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Superheroes

Kamala, Doreen, and Miles are back at Avengers Assembly for a new semester! When Captain Marvel announces she’s adding staff to the school, the students aren’t sure who could possibly join — but it looks like Cap went above and beyond, and the school is full of new teachers!
With all these new teachers, it’s hard to keep track of who’s teaching what, and what they’re supposed to be learning. And some of these teachers are really not acting like heroes at all, but more like… super-villains? All that new staff has created a lot of confusion that is ripe for exploiting! Someone is impersonating students and teachers, using lies and deception to break up the new generation of heroes. Can Doreen and her friends get to the bottom of this scandal? Or will this be the end of the Avengers Assembly?

Title: Rea and the Blood of Nectar
Author: Payal Doshi
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press
Publication Date: May 2021
ISBN: 9781645437635
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy


It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found. It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal to an otherworldly realm of Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?

Title: Force of Fire
Author: Sayatani DasGupta
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338636642
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Pinki hails from a long line of rakkhosh resisters, demons who have spent years building interspecies relationships, working together to achieve their goal of overthrowing the snakey oppressors and taking back their rights. But she has more important things to worry about, like maintaining her status as fiercest rakkhosh in her class and looking after her little cousins. There is also the teeny tiny detail of not yet being able to control her fire breathing and accidentally burning up school property. Then Sesha, the charming son of the Serpentine Governor, calls on Pinki for help in defeating the resistance, promising to give her what she most desires in return — the ability to control her fire. First she’ll have to protect the Moon Maiden, pretend to be a human (ick), and survive a family reunion. But it’s all worth it for the control of her powers . . . right?

Title: That Thing About Bollywood
Author: Supriya Kelkar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534466739
Category-Genre: Middle Grade
Community Represented: Indian-American

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating. Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset! The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal. Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?

Title: American Betiya
Author: Anuradha D. Rajukar
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 9 , 2021
ISBN: 978-1984897152
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Community Represented: Indian-American

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in–his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art–make him her mother’s worst nightmare. They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver’s troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself–and what’s really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

An honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. Braiding together themes of sexuality, artistic expression, and appropriation, she gives voice to a girl claiming ownership of her identity, one shattered stereotype at a time.

Title: Ravage the Dark
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
ISBN: 978-0759555334
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

For seven long years, while she was imprisoned on a debtor’s ship, Amaya Chandra had one plan: to survive. But now, survival is not enough. She has people counting on her; counting on her for protection, for leadership, for vengeance. And after escaping Moray by the skin of her teeth, she’s determined to track down the man who betrayed her and her friends. Cayo Mercado has lost everything: his money, his father, his reputation. Everything except his beloved sister. But he’s well on his way to losing her, too, with no way to afford the treatment for her deadly illness. In a foreign empire also being consumed by ash fever, Cayo has no choice but to join Amaya in uncovering the mystery of the counterfeit currency, the fever, and how his father was involved in their creation. But Cayo still hasn’t forgiven Amaya for her earlier deception, and their complicated feelings for each other are getting harder and harder to ignore. Through glittering galas, dazzling trickery, and thrilling heists, Cayo and Amaya will learn that the corruption in Moray goes far deeper than they know, and in the end the only people they can trust are each other.

Title: The Theft of Sunlight (Book #2 Dauntless Path)
Author: Intisar Khanani
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-0062835741
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

Children have been disappearing from Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. Snatched from the streets, never to be seen again—or returned with unspeakable trauma. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule. Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers herself, and even the kingdom itself.

Title: Bruised
Author: Tanya Boteju
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534455023
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Community Represented: Sri-Lankan-American, LGBTQ+

To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart. So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get. The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.

Title: Misfit in Love
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads/ S&S Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534442757
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Community Represented: Arab-Indian-American, Muslim-American


In this fun and fresh sequel to Saints and Misfits, Janna hopes her brother’s wedding will be the perfect start to her own summer of love, but attractive new arrivals have her more confused than ever.

Janna Yusuf is so excited for the weekend: her brother Muhammad’s getting married, and she’s reuniting with her mom, whom she’s missed the whole summer. And Nuah’s arriving for the weekend too. Sweet, constant Nuah. The last time she saw him, Janna wasn’t ready to reciprocate his feelings for her. But things are different now. She’s finished high school, ready for college…and ready for Nuah. It’s time for Janna’s (carefully planned) summer of love to begin—starting right at the wedding. But it wouldn’t be a wedding if everything went according to plan. Muhammad’s party choices aren’t in line with his fiancée’s taste at all, Janna’s dad is acting strange, and her mom is spending more time with an old friend (and maybe love interest?) than Janna. And Nuah’s treating her differently. Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, two newcomers—the dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth—have Janna more confused than ever about what her misfit heart really wants. Janna’s summer of love is turning out to be super crowded and painfully unpredictable.

Title: Zara Hossain is Here
Author: Sabina Khan
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338580877
Category-Genre: Young Adult
Community Represented: Pakistani-American

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.

Title: Counting Down with You
Author: Tashie Bhuiyan
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1335209979
Category-Genre: Young Adult
Community Represented: Bangladeshi-American

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything. Karina is my girlfriend. Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back. T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

Title: The Marvelous Mirza Girls
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-0062845481
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Community Represented: Pakistani-American, Muslim-American, Indian

To cure her post-senior year slump, made worse by the loss of her aunt Sonia, Noreen decides to follow her mom on a gap year trip to New Delhi, hoping India can lessen her grief and bring her voice back. In the world’s most polluted city, Noreen soon meets kind, handsome Kabir, who introduces her to the wonders of this magical, complicated place. With the help of Kabir—plus Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints—Noreen discovers new meanings for home. But when a family scandal erupts, Noreen and Kabir must face complex questions in their own relationship: What does it mean to truly stand by someone—and what are the boundaries of love?

Title: Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
ISBN: 978-1645672579
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Romantic Comedy
Community Represented: Bangladeshi-British

Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan―she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate―Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl. Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math

Title: Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math

Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Archana Sreenivasan
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, October 27, 2020
Book Type: STEM, Multicultural
Ages: 5-8

Opening Lines:

Long ago there lived a kind rajah who ruled over vast lands. He loved music, and gathered the finest players and singers to perform in his court. But the rajah had no interest in planning or calculating, and did not manage his kingdom’s food stores and accounts. And so his people suffered.


In ancient India, a boy named Bhagat travels to the Rajah’s city, hoping to ensure his family’s prosperity by winning a place at court as a singer. Bhagat carries his family’s entire fortune–a single coin and a chain of seven golden rings–to pay for his lodging. But when the innkeeper demands one ring per night, and every link snipped costs one coin, how can Bhagat both break the chain and avoid overpaying? His inventive solution points the way to an unexpected triumph, and offers readers a friendly lesson in binary numbers–the root of all computing.


Why I Like This Book:

An engaging and informative book that is sure to get those curiosity gears turning. What a clever way of explaining the complex topic of the binary numbers.

The story follows Bhagat on his journey to the city to win favor with the king. However, he only has seven golden rings and must find a way to judiciously use those rings on lodging without over paying. Through ingenuity he develops a method (binary system) to do just that! His cleverness earns him a position as the king’s adviser.

I loved the author’s folktale-sy narrative style that reminded me of one of my favorite picture books, One Grain of Rice, a book that also involves Indian folklore and math. The art is colorful, charming, and delightful. There is extensive backmatter explaining the decimal and binary number systems. This is a must for classrooms and libraries.

Find Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math at the following spots:
IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads
ISBN-13: 978-1885008978

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

South Asian Kidlit 2021- Winter

Happy New Year!! Hoping 2021 brings better things to you and your loved ones.

My kids are itching to know when can we go on vacation and if they will be able to attend sleep-away camp in the summer. I’m wondering whether I will I be able to have a physical launch party for my debut in June. Who knows? I’m just going with the flow.

My picture book HOW TO WEAR A SARI is available for pre-order! If you are planning to order a copy, then please consider purchasing from your favorite local independent bookstore. They really need your help during these difficult times. You can also add my book to your “Want to Read” list on Goodreads. Thanks for your support!

Today’s list covers books releasing in January and February of 2021. The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author or illustrator, contains a South Asian main character, or involve South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Winter 2021 list at Bookshop.org.

Title: Rise Up and Write It: With Real Mail, Posters, and More!
Author: Nandini Ahuja
Illustrator: Anoosha Syed
Publisher: HarperFestival
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063029590
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Social Justice
Community Represented: Indian-American

When Farah Patel realizes that the butterflies have disappeared from her neighborhood, she discovers that it’s likely because there aren’t enough flowers to attract them. She can’t help but think, “This isn’t right.” Luckily enough, Grove Hills is looking for ideas on what to do with the empty lot next door. And Farah has the perfect one—make it into a community garden to bring back a little green to their block! But when Farah finds out that she isn’t the only one with a plan for the future of Grove Hills, she’ll have to turn to her community for help. Open the six envelopes inside to follow along with the story Farah as she rises up and brings her neighborhood together. The book comes complete with a pull-out letter to the mayor, a ready-to-sign petition, a community meeting poster, a protest sign—and more!

Title: Bindiya in India
Author: Monique Chheda
Illustrator: Debasmita Dasgupta
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press
Publication Date: January 2021
ISBN: 978-1645437130
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian

Bindiya in India is the story of a young Indian-American girl’s first trip to India for an Indian wedding. Weaving together Hindi and English, the children’s illustrated book takes place in the 1990s. Follow Bindiya as she meets her extended family for the first time, celebrates Indian wedding traditions, and creates memories and bonds to last a lifetime.

Title: Home is in Between
Author: Mitali Perkins
Illustrator: Lavanya Naidu
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-0374303679
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet. Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cooking luchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books. Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home?

Title: Yasmin the Librarian / Recycler / Scientist / Singer
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
Publisher: Picture Book Windows
Publication Date: January 1, 2021
Librarian: 978-1515883722
Recycler: 978-1515882619
Scientist: 978-1515882602
Singer: 978-1515882626
Category-Genre: Early Chapter Books
Community Represented: Pakistani-American

Librarian: It’s library day, and Yasmin is the helper! She loves shelving books, but suddenly, Yasmin discovers that her own special book is missing. How will she find it among all the other books?

Recycler: Yasmin is thrilled about her school’s new recycling program. But getting her friends to pitch in is no easy task! Will some creative thinking get Yasmin’s friends to be good recyclers?

Scientist: Everyone seems to have an idea for the science fair except for Yasmin! After some failed experiments, Yasmin’s snack break with Nani inspires an idea. Together they use kitchen science for sweet success!

Singer: Yasmin is excited to attend a wedding party. But when the singing starts, Yasmin is too shy to join in. She finds a quiet spot to hide. So how does Yasmin suddenly find herself in the spotlight?

Title: Cooking Club Chaos! #4 (Phoebe G. Green)
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Illustrator: Christine Almeda
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593096963
Category-Genre: Chapter Book

Phoebe’s best friend, Sage, has the same lunch every day: a turkey sandwich, a cheese stick, and a bag of popcorn. Phoebe doesn’t understand why he won’t try new things, and is determined to convince him to. She and Camille come up with the perfect solution: a cooking club to show Sage how many exciting foods there are! But will it be enough to convince Sage? Or will it spoil their friendship?

Title: City of the Plague God
Author: Sarwat Chadda
Publisher: Disney/Rick Riordan Presents
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
ISBN: 978-1368051507
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh populate this high-stakes contemporary adventure in which all of Manhattan is threatened by the ancient god of plagues.
Thirteen-year-old Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping at his parents’ deli in the evenings. But all that is blown to smithereens when Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds the secret to eternal life.Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn’t know it, and that’s about to get him and the entire city into deep, deep trouble.
Sik’s not in this alone. He’s got Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on his side, and a former hero named Gilgamesh, who has taken up gardening in Central Park. Now all they have to do is retrieve the Flower of Immortality to save Manhattan from being wiped out by disease. To succeed, they’ll have to conquer sly demons, treacherous gods, and their own darkest nightmares.

Title: Red, White, and Whole
Author: Rajani LaRocca
Publisher: Harper Collins/Quill Tree
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN:  978-0063047426
Category-Genre: Middle Grade
Community Represented: Indian-American

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.

Title: Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame
Author: Supriya Kelkar
Publisher: Lee&Low/Tu Books
Publication Date: February 24, 2021
ISBN:  978-1643790404
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Historical
Community Represented: Indian

In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in–and certain death on her husband’s funeral pyre–only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people.


Title: Untold: Defining Moments of the Uprooted
Editors: Gabrielle Deonath and Kamini Ramdeen
Contributors: MK Ansari, Apoorva Verghese, Jessie Brar, Kimberly + Anantha, Nupur Chaudhury, Pooja Kumarhia Patel, Priyal Sakhuja, Subrina Singh, Amrisa Niranjan, Hena Wadhwa, Julie Lalwani, Meera Estrada, Nova Aftab, Radhika Patel, Ravleen Kaur, Rita Sengupta, Shimul Chowdhury, Gabrielle Deonath, Raksha Muthukumar, Anita Wadhwani, Chandra Coats, Duriba Khan, Neha Patel, Nina Malagi, Nisha Singh, Rajvir Gill, Saahil Mehta, Radhika Menon, Aishwarya Sukesh
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press
Publication Date: January 2021
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Anthology

Untold: Defining Moments of the Uprooted is a collection of real stories that explores the South Asian experience in the U.S., U.K., and Canada through the lens of identity, being, and relationships. Thirty emerging voices share deeply personal moments of immigration, infertility, divorce, mental health, suicide, racism, colorism, LGBTQIA+ issues, and more all while balancing the push and pull of belonging to two cultural hemispheres. Every story sheds light on the authentic truths of living as womxn with hyphenated identities that have been only whispered-until now.

Title: Rise of the Red Hand
Author: Olivia Chadha
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 978-1645660101
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

A rare, searing portrayal of the future of climate change in South Asia. A streetrat turned revolutionary and the disillusioned hacker son of a politician try to take down a ruthlessly technocratic government that sacrifices its poorest citizens to build its utopia.


Title: If I Tell You the Truth
Author: Jasmine Kaur
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 978-0062912640
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary – Verse

Kiran flees her home in Punjab for a fresh start in Canada after a sexual assault leaves her pregnant. But overstaying her visa and living undocumented brings its own perils for both her and her daughter, Sahaara.
Sahaara would do anything to protect her mother. When she learns the truth about Kiran’s past, she feels compelled to seek justice—even if it means challenging a powerful and dangerous man.
A heartrending story told in prose, poetry, and illustration weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter’s lives.

Cover Reveal for Bravo Anjali!

Years ago I read Always Anjali by Sheetal Sheth. It was the book I wish I had for myself or even my daughters. Such a delight to see a South Asian character-driven story about a young girl wanting to feel like she fit in. In this story it meant finding a license plate with her name. Ironically, my older daughter’s name is Anjali and even though she was “too old” to read picture books (in her mind only) she loved it. Shalini my younger daughter was appalled at how the author miraculously got all of didi’s characteristics in that book. Shalini is now on the search for a book with her name in it. 🙂

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that @mangoandmarigoldpress is launching its twentieth book and second book in the Anjali series, Bravo Anjali. This marks the first ever children’s picture book series featuring a South Asian hero! (psst … that means there’s a third book in the works too!)

For Anjali, playing the tabla is something that comes naturally. She loves the feel of the drum beneath her fingers and getting lost in the music. But when the boys in her class give her a hard time for being better than them, she messes up on purpose. When her teacher announces a contest where the winner will get to perform with him at his next concert, Anjali is perplexed. Winning the contest would be a dream for Anjali. But it seems like the better she gets, the meaner some of the kids are. In this follow up to Always Anjali, Anjali realizes that she should never let anyone make her feel bad for being good at something. An important story for all children to remember to ‘never dim their light.’

With this launch, @mangoandmarigoldpress is also continuing our #1001DiverseBooks program to help not only bridge the diversity gap but also the accessibility gap in children’s literature. With each new book launch, Mango and Marigold Press is committed to also raise the funds to donate 1001 books to literacy and advocacy nonprofits that are working across the country to help those in need.

And what would a cover reveal be without some goodies!? Check out this AMAZING swag you can get when you order in the next couple of weeks:

  • Pre-order now through November 17, 2020 to receive: an 11×17 poster, stickers, pins, and a signed bookplate from the author, Sheetal Sheth
  • Pre-orders from November 18-November 24, 2020 will receive stickers, pins, and a signed bookplate from the author, Sheetal Sheth
  • Pre-orders from November 25-December 16, 2020 will receive stickers and pins

Pre-order link for Bravo Anjali: mangoandmarigoldpress.com/bravoanjali

Here is what folks are saying:

My kids and I love “Bravo Anjali!” I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a kid. I never saw myself represented in the books I read as a brown girl learning and performing a classical Indian instrument. It’s full of small, sharply observed moments that caught at my heart for how they detail the myriad ways we make ourselves small and silent. I wanted to cheer for Anjali as she let her light shine in all its glory. – Anoushka Shankar, Sitarist and Composer

In this gorgeously rendered tale, our beloved Anjali learns something it took me thirty years to understand: there’s nothing wrong with shining brightly. I will carry the heart of this book with me wherever I go.- Nic Stone, American New York Times best-selling author of Dear Martin

The expected ship date is September 2021.

And now time for the cover!!


Title: Bravo Anjali!
Author: Sheetal Sheth
Illustrator: Lucia Soto
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press, September 2021

Pre-Order Link: https://mangoandmarigoldpress.com/bravoanjali

Sheetal Sheth:
Sheetal Sheth is an acclaimed actress, producer, author, and activist. She is known for her provocative performances in a wide range of memorable roles on film and television. She has starred in over 20 feature films and many TV shows and is a favorite in the independent film world, having won five best actress awards on the film festival circuit. She has earned a loyal, international following. Sheetal began her career at a time when few South Asians were making their living as actors. Despite being told she’d have to change her name to work, her successful career has trail-blazed paths for other women of color across media. Sheth supports marginalized communities not only through her own pioneering work as an actor, but by also appearing at workshops and panels and speaking directly to issues facing those communities. She is known as an outspoken advocate and has delivered talks and keynotes at festivals and charity galas. She’s had op-eds published on CNN, The Daily Beast, and Thrive Global. She served in President Clinton’s AmeriCorps and is currently on the advisory board of Equality Now and an ambassador for CA First Partner, Jennifer Newsom’s, The Representation Project.
IG: @beneaththesheetz
Twitter: @sheetalsheth


Lucia Soto:
Lucia was born in a seaside town in northwestern Spain and grew up in a sunny town in the Mediterranean. She has lived in different places and is now based in London, where she lives with her husband and a tiny palm tree. She went to Art School graduating in Design and Plastic Arts and, after a few years working as an Art Director in a busy advertising agency, decided to pursue her lifelong passion for drawing and she has never looked back.

She is interested in people and their stories through time and this is a major influence in her work. She finds inspiration in art and illustration from the early 20th century, vintage travel magazines, and the light of the Mediterranean as the landscape of her childhood.

Aside from drawing, Lucia loves Julie London, Art Deco, overdressing, and walking everywhere. She spends her days drawing things that are half nonsense and a half all sense, the stuff that makes her life silly and beautiful.
IG: @luciasoto_com

South Asian Kidlit 2020 – Fall

Dear Readers, thank you for reading these quarterly round-up posts. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to these diverse books. During these unprecedented times with so much variability in our day-to-day lives, being able to spread the word about great children’s books has been a balm. I couldn’t do this without you, my wonderful readers. Thank you. 🙂

I am excited to share my cover reveal for my debut picture book HOW TO WEAR A SARI coming in June 2021. You can find a short interview with me and the cover here. You can add it your Goodreads list.

Congratulations to South Asia Book Award Winners: Meena Patel for PRIYA DREAMS OF MARIGOLDS AND MASALA (picture book), Padma Venkatraman for THE BRIDGE HOME (middle-grade), and Mitali Perkins for FORWARD ME BACK TO YOU (young adult)! Check out the full list of honor and highly commended books.

Today’s South Asian Kidlit Roundup covers books releasing from September through December of 2020. The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author or illustrator, contains a South Asian main character, or involve South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Fall 2020 list at Bookshop.org.

Title: Binny’s Diwali
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Illustrator: Nidhi Chanani
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338364484
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

Binny is excited to talk to her class about her favorite holiday. But she struggles to find the words. Taking a deep breath, she tells her classmates about the fireworks that burst like stars in the night sky, leaving streaks of gold and red and green. She shares with them delicious pedas and jalebis. And she shows them clay lamps, called diyas, which look so pretty all the children ooh and aah.

Title: The Nut That Fell From the Tree
Author: Sangeeta Bhadra
Illustrator: France Cormier
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1525301193
Category-Genre: Picture Book

A playful, lively story about one acorn’s difficult path to becoming a tree.
In the style of The House That Jack Built, here’s a cumulative, rhyming tale that follows an acorn on an arduous journey, as one animal after another steals it, drops it or tosses it, sending the acorn inside an old shoe, high above the trees and down to the bottom of a stream. But in the end, the rat, goose, bear and more turn out to simply be the conduits that help the acorn eventually land on a hillside, where the warm sun helps it grow into another grand oak tree, which now holds the house where Jack (Jill’s grandson) plays.

Title: Waiting Together
Author:  Danielle Dufayet
Illustrator: Srimalie Bassani
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-0807502792
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Waiting is not easy! And waiting can take a long time. Like waiting on the drip, drip, drip of rain to stop or the ding of the timer for cookies to be done baking. But there’s one thing that can make waiting go a little bit faster – a friend! A perfect read aloud, this book encourages readers to enjoy every kind of wait.


Title: Wildlife on Paper: Animals at Risk Around the Globe
Author: Kunal Kundu
Publisher: West Margin Press
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
ISBN: 978-1513264356
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Non-Fiction

From the Peary caribou in Northwest Canada to the Galapagos Penguin in Ecuador, the Royal Bengal Tiger in India to the Hawksbill Sea Turtle in Australia, this book celebrates the rich diversity of wildlife on almost every continent. Each of the sixteen exquisitely handcrafted paper sculptures come with interesting trivia and facts about where the animal lives and how it survives in its habitat and interacts with nature. Also included is a map of where each creature lives on the globe, plus a list of helpful resources and the author’s favorite nature conservation organizations.

Title: Raja’s Pet Camel: The Magic of Hope
Author:  Anita Nahta Amin
Illustrator: Parwinder Singh
Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1733035941
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian

Smashed Pots! Broken Fences! Raja loves his new pet: a mischievous, date-loving baby camel named Kamal. But his father is fed up and determined to sell it at the next fair. Will Raja find a way to keep Kamal or will they lose each other forever?


Title: Sugar in Milk
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Illustrator: Khoa Le
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-0762495191
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Social Justice
Community Represented: Parsi-American

A young Parsi girl in modern times comes from India to live in America with her extended family. She feels so alone-like she’s not wanted-but then is told a story by her aunt about a group of Persians who were ousted from their country due to religious persecution and who sailed to the Western shores of India in search for a new home. The king of the region in India did not want to let them in and explained (using a glass of full milk) that the community was simply too full to let them in. The Zoroastrian king of the Persian refugees then dumped some sugar into the milk, stirred until it dissolved, and explained to the king that not only would his people integrate well into their society but they would also help sweeten their culture. The Indian king lets them in and they prosper. And, in the end, the young girl realizes that she, too, is being accepted by those in her neighborhood and that she can finally start feeling a part of this new American society.

Title: Bindiya in India
Author: Monique Chheda
Illustrator: Debasmita DasGupta
Publisher: Mango and Marigold Press
Publication Date: October 2020
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian/Indian-American

A young Indian American girl’s first trip to India for an Indian wedding. Weaving together Hindi and English, the children’s illustrated book takes place in the 1990s. Follow Bindiya as she meets her extended family for the first time, celebrates Indian wedding traditions, and creates memories and bonds to last a lifetime.


Title: A Jedi You Will Be
Author: Preeti Chhibber
Illustrator: Mike Deas
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-1368057240
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and learn how to use the Force in this hilarious and stylized picture book narrated by everybody’s favorite Jedi Master, Yoda!


Title: Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math
Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Archana Sreenivasan
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
ISBN: 978-1885008978
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian


In ancient India, a boy named Bhagat travels to the Rajah’s city, hoping to ensure his family’s prosperity by winning a place at court as a singer. Bhagat carries his family’s entire fortune–a single coin and a chain of seven golden rings–to pay for his lodging. But when the innkeeper demands one ring per night, and every link snipped costs one coin, how can Bhagat both break the chain and avoid overpaying? His inventive solution points the way to an unexpected triumph, and offers readers a friendly lesson in binary numbers–the root of all computing.

Title: Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White
Author: Saumiya Balasubramaniam
Illustrator: Eva Campbell
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
ISBN: 978-1773062587
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American

Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything ― the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.

Title: Rain Before Rainbows
Author: Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Illustrator: David Litchfield
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-1536212839
Category-Genre: Picture Book

In this heartfelt story about courage, change, and moving on, a girl and her companion fox travel together away from a sorrowful past, through challenging and stormy times, toward color and light and life. Along the way they find friends to guide and support them, and when the new day dawns, it is full of promise. With gorgeous, richly realized illustrations and immense hope at its heart, Rain Before Rainbows holds out a ray of sunshine for anyone looking for light.

Title: A Passport to Pastries!
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Illustrator: Christine Almeda
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593096949
Category-Genre: Chapter Book

Phoebe and her family are going to Paris with Camille’s family, and Phoebe can’t wait to see the sights and discover new foods! But when she arrives, things aren’t quite as she expected. When she can’t muster up the courage to try eating snails even though Camille loves them, Phoebe starts to wonder if she really is as adventurous as she thought. But more importantly, can she and Camille still be friends even if they don’t like the same things?


Title: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel Sheela Chari
Author: Sheela Chari
Publisher: Walker Books US
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-1536209563
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Mystery
Community Represented: Indian-American

Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up—after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help—smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems—and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.

Title: A Thousand Questions
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062943200
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Contemporary
Community Represented: Pakistani-American/Pakistani

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.
The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?
Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.

Title: Flying Over Water
Author:  N. H. Senzai, Shannon Hitchcock
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338617665
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Contemporary
Community Represented: Syrian-American/Refugee

Twelve-year-old Noura Alwan’s family is granted asylum in the United States, after spending two years in a Turkish refugee camp, having fled war-torn Aleppo. Twelve-year-old Jordyn Johnson’s family has volunteered to help the Alwan family through their church.
The girls’ lives intersect at Bayshore Middle School where Jordyn serves as the Alwan children’s school ambassador. Noura knows that her family is safe from the civil unrest in her home country, but is not prepared for the adversity she now faces on American soil. Jordyn is sympathetic to Noura’s situation, but there are other members of their Florida community who see the refugees’ presence to be a threat to their way of life.While the president’s Muslim ban tests the resolve and faith of many, it is friendship that stands strong against fear and hatred.

Title: The Silvered Serpents
Author: Roshani Choksi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
ISBN: 978-1250144577
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God. Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all. As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined. A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Cover Reveal for untold:defining moments of the uprooted

I am so excited to share that Mango & Marigold Press has partnered with Brown Girl Magazine to launch its sixteenth book (and first young adult book ever!) untold: defining moments of the uprooted, which is perfect for anyone 16+.

untold: defining moments of the uprooted is a collection of real stories that explores the South Asian experience in the U.S., U.K., and Canada through the lens of identity, being, and relationships. Thirty emerging voices share deeply personal moments of immigration, infertility, divorce, mental health, suicide, racisi\m, colorism, LGBTQ+ issues, and more all while balancing the push and pull of belonging to two cultural hemispheres. Every story sheds light on the authentic truths of living as womxn with hyphenated identities that have been only whispered-until now.

With this launch, @mangoandmarigoldpress is also continuing its #1001DiverseBooks program, to help not only bridge the diversity gap but also the accessibility gap in young adult literature. With each new book launch, Mango and Marigold Press is committed to also raise the funds to donate 1001 books to literacy and advocacy nonprofits that are working across the country to help those in need. Some of their past partners include Behind the Book, the Children’s Book Consul, the City of Cambridge, the City of Somerville and several more.

They need your help to make their vision a reality. Will you be a part of the change to end the diversity gap AND accessibility gap? When you pre-order your copy of untold: defining moments of the uprooted, you can also sponsor a copy for our nonprofit partner for only $10!

For all pre-orders placed between July 21st through July 28th, 2020 you will receive an immediate excerpt from the three of the 30 stories. Here’s a sneak peak of the three stories.

  • ‘BEING’: Poor Obstetric Outcome
  • ‘IDENTITY’ Coming Out Again (And Again)
  • ‘RELATIONSHIPS’ The Good Guy

The expected ship date for the anthology is January 2021.


Early Praise for Untold Stories

“These deeply personal, stirring, poetic accounts will knock the wind out of you. This collection lifts the veil from the South Asian diaspora, illuminating lived experiences that have for too long been considered taboo.” — Padma Lakshmi, 

“A fascinating collection of deeply personal essays, each author shares what is at once a relatable and unique journey through complex identities, acceptance, and the most unifying theme — our desire for love.” — Kal Penn, actor, writer, producer 

“Too often, only a certain type of South Asian story is allowed to enter the Western cultural lexicon. ‘untold’ is a battering ram that breaks through those barriers and offers something more.” — Sopan Deb, New York Times writer and author of Missed Translations: Meeting The Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me

“A vivid, vital, and necessary contribution to the understanding of the South Asian diaspora. The range and depth of its narratives will resonate for ages to come.”  — DJ Rekha, producer, curator, and activist

“These moments will leave your heart aching and feeling inspired, all at the same time. But more than anything else, they will empower you to pick up the phone, grab a pen, or get behind your laptop to bravely tell your own story.”  — Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code


And now for the cover reveal!!


Title: untold: defining moments of the uprooted
Editors: Gabrielle Deonath and Kamini Ramdeen
Contributors: MK Ansari, Apoorva Verghese, Jessie Brar, Kimberly + Anantha, Nupur Chaudhury, Pooja Kumarhia Patel, Priyal Sakhuja, Subrina Singh, Amrisa Niranjan, Hena Wadhwa, Julie Lalwani, Meera Estrada, Nova Aftab, Radhika Patel, Ravleen Kaur, Rita Sengupta, Shimul Chowdhury, Gabrielle Deonath, Raksha Muthukumar, Anita Wadhwani, Chandra Coats, Duriba Khan, Neha Patel, Nina Malagi, Nisha Singh, Rajvir Gill, Saahil Mehta, Radhika Menon, Aishwarya Sukesh
Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press, January 2021

Pre-Order Link: https://mangoandmarigoldpress.com/untold

South Asian Kidlit 2020 – Summer

I hope you and your families are safe and healthy. A lot has happened in the last few months. This most certainly will be a defining year in history books. I am energized by the coming together of people to protest systemic racism and police brutality. I will no longer be sitting back. I will be reading books to educate myself, having conversations about anti-Blackness sentiment within the South Asian community, and taking concrete steps to help move the needle.

If you are interested in being an ally then please read this excellent article: Performative Allyship Is Deadly (Here’s What to Do Instead)

Here are two lists I recommend for finding books on anti-Racism and anti-Blackness.

Adult Reading List curated by Loyalty Bookstore

Reading List for Kids 0-12. I also recommend sharing “Black Joy” books with kids.

Together, let’s be the change!

Now on to the latest in South Asian Kidlit.

  • Congratulations to Aisha Saeed and Anoosha Syed for receiving a 2020 APAAL Picture Book Honor for BILAL COOKS DAAL from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association.
  •  Congratulations to South Asia Book Award Winners: Meena Patel for PRIYA DREAMS OF MARIGOLDS AND MASALA (picture book), Padma Venkatraman for THE BRIDGE HOME (middle-grade), and Mitali Perkins for FORWARD ME BACK TO YOU! Check out the full list of honor and highly commended books.

South Asian stories are hitting mainstream entertainment.

  • NEVER HAVE I EVER is a coming-of-age comedy series about the life of a modern first-generation Indian American teenage girl, inspired by Mindy Kaling’s own childhood. On Netflix.
  • MIRA, ROYAL DETECTIVE is an animated mystery-adventure children’s television series inspired by Indian culture and customs. Disney Junior. See the first episode on YouTube.

Today’s South Asian Kidlit Roundup covers books releasing from June through August of 2020. The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author or illustrator, contains a South Asian main character, or involve South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Summer 2020 list at Bookshop.org.

Title: Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea
Author: Meena Harris
Illustrator: Ana Ramírez González
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  June 2, 2020
ISBN:  978-0062937407
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Inspired by a true story
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert Maya Harris.
One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground! This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.

Title: A Gift for Amma
Author: Meera Sriram
Illustrator: Mariona Cabassa
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2020
ISBN: 978-1646860616
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian
In this #OwnVoices book inspired by the author’s hometown of Chennai, India, a girl explores the vibrant rainbow of delights in a southern Indian street market as she searches for a gift for her amma (mother). Endnotes explain all the items on sale and introduce readers to markets around the world.

Title: Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
Author: Simran Jeet Singh
Illustrator: Baljinder Kaur
Publisher: Kokila
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
ISBN: 978-0525555094
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Non-Fiction
Community Represented: Indian
Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that wouldn’t allow him to play cricket with his friends or carry him to school miles from his village in Punjab. But that didn’t stop him. Working on his family’s farm, Fauja grew stronger to meet his own full potential.
He never stopped striving. At the age of 81, after a lifetime of making his body, mind, and heart stronger, Fauja decided to run his first marathon. He went on to break records all around the world and became the first person over 100 to complete the grueling long-distance race.

Title: Monster and Boy
Author: Hannah Barnaby
Illustrator: Anoosha Syed
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. BYR
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
ISBN: 978-1250217837
Category-Genre: Chapter Book
When Monster (who lives under the bed) meets Boy (who sleeps in the bed), Boy starts to scream―and Monster promptly swallows him. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
Told with a warm, cozy voice, the story is brought to life with adorable two-color illustrations. Filled with adventure and humor, this chapter book is perfect for sharing with kids just aging out of picture books and for newly independent readers.

Title: American as Paneer Pie
Author: Supriya Kelkar
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
ISBN: 978-1534439382
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Contemporary
Community Represented: Indian-American
As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian. When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha. To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school. When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.

Title: Orientation (Marvel’s Avenger’s Assembly #1)
Author: Preeti Chhibber
Publisher: James Lancett
Publication Date: Scholastic Inc.
ISBN: August 4, 2020
Category-Genre: 978-1338587258
Community Represented: Middle Grade – Superheroes
Kamala Khan was an average middle school kid. That is, until a cloud called a Terrigen Mist swept through the New Jersey waterfront and activated her super powers! After taking on the persona of Ms. Marvel, she’s been fighting crime in Jersey City, and has caught the eye of some pretty well-established super heroes. But that’s not always a good thing…
After Kamala is caught by news cameras taking on a super villain — and accidentally destroying a building along the way — she gets a letter from Captain Marvel herself! It’s great that she’s fighting crime and sticking up for people, but maybe a regular school isn’t the best place to learn how to do that. If she wants to continue as Ms. Marvel, she’s going to need to take on some new extracurricular activities — mainly, training with other young super heroes alongside the Avengers!
Now Kamala is the new kid at the Avengers Institute. Her classmates are all kids like her, they have special powers, but most of them have gotten into some trouble or drawn attention to themselves. The big news at the Avengers Institute this year? An academic decathlon in which students will group up into teams and compete against each other in super heroics. Kamala and her friends Miles and Doreen will have to go up against a team led by some kids who fight less than fair — and have some trouble with the concept of “fighting for good” — in this funny, action-packed look at some ordinary middle school kids who just happen to have some extraordinary powers.

Title: Hunted by the Sky
Author: Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
Publication Date: June 23, 2020
ISBN: 978-0374313098
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.
Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl―Gul―in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance―and discovers a magic he never expected to find.
Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort…a world with secrets deadlier than their own.

Title: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
Author:  Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
ISBN: 978-1534416819
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Romantic Comedy
Community Represented: Indian-American
Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.
Samir Jha might have a few…quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.
Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.
When Samir’s internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he’ll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky’s a weirdo, but he can survive a summer with her if there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

Title: A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel
Author: Sabaa Tahir and Nicole Andelfinger
Illustrator: Sonia Liao
Publisher: Archaia
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
ISBN: 978-1684155248
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy – Graphic Novel
Elias, Helene and Tavi are Fivers –in training to become elite military recruits for the Martial Empire at Blackcliff Academy. When they’re sent on a dangerous mission to steal a heavily-guarded poison on Isle South, they soon find themselves up against surprising enemies — including other recruits. As the true horror of their assignment is revealed, these three will begin to confront the harrowing realities of Martial rule, their place in the system . . . and the choices they must make to survive.

Title: More Than Just a Pretty Face
Author: Syed M. Masood
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  August 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-0316492355
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Romantic Comedy
Community Represented: Pakistani-American
Danyal Jilani doesn’t lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he’s funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn’t approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. What does matter is the opinion of Danyal’s longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged marriage prospect.
When Danyal gets selected for Renaissance Man, a school-wide academic championship, it’s the perfect opportunity to show everyone he’s smarter than they think. He recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time Danyal spends with her…the more he learns from her…the more he cooks for her…the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.

Title: Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062894625
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.


Title: The Knockout
Author: S.A. Patel
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date:  August 18, 2020
ISBN: 978-1635830590
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Community Represented: Indian-American
A rising star in Muay Thai figures out what (and who) is worth fighting for in this #ownvoices YA debut full of heart. If seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar is going to alienate herself from the entire Indian community, she might as well do it gloriously. Shes landed the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open which could lead to a spot on the first-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Despite pleasing her parents, excelling at school, and making plans to get her family out of debt, Kareena’s never felt quite Indian enough and her training is only making it worse. Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit Patel, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride shall have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused on the big fight. Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history if she has the courage to go for it.

(Disclaimer: The link to Bookshop.org is an affiliate link. Purchases made through the link results in a small commission to me at no cost to you.)