Interview with Margaret Greanias

Last Friday, I shared the heart-warming Maximillian Villainous. Today I am excited to share with you my interview with my dear friend and debut author Margaret Greanias.

Who are your creative influences – in books, art, or any other media?

Oh wow, this is a tough question! I have many creative influences when it comes to books, and I’m sure I can’t name them all because sometimes influence is a subconscious thing.

During my early years, my favorite authors and stories that I read over and over again were:

  • Tammi Sauer’s “Mostly Monsterly” and “Nugget and Fang” for the humor and full circle structure.
  • Bonny Becker’s “A Visitor For Bear” for the writing, humor, and voice.
  • Kelly Di Pucchio’s “Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet” and “Zombie in Love” for the humor.
  • Pat Zietlow Miller’s “Sophie’s Squash” and “Quickest Kid in Clarksville”
  • Michelle Knudsen’s “Library Lion” and “Big Mean Mike” for the storytelling and read-aloud ability.
  • Peter Brown’s “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” and “Children Make Terrible Pets” for turning concepts on their heads.
  • Tara Lazar’s “Little Red Gliding Hood” and “7 Ate 9” for clever wordplay.
    More recently, I’ve really enjoyed the lyricism of Megan Wagner Lloyd’s “Finding Wild” and Katherine Applegate’s “Sometimes You Fly.”
    Can you see any of these influences in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS?

As writers, we take in our surroundings and experiences and sometimes put it into our writing. Are there any details in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS that have come from your life?

Most of the details and actions in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS were inspired by real life. For example, the idea of writing about villains came because my kids were loving the Despicable Me movies. The idea of wanting a pet came from my own childhood experience of pining away for a dog.

Also, smaller elements of the story — from the way Max pesters his family to get what he wants to making the leprechaun trap — all were inspired by my kids and what they were doing at and around the time I was writing the story.

Were there any specific challenges you encountered during the process of writing this story? Any particular joys?
I encountered many challenges in writing MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS — it took two years from concept to ugly drafts to completion.

One challenge was creating a fresh story. I tried addressing this by mashing up two different concepts (villains and wanting a pet).

Another challenge was giving each family member a unique voice to distinguish them from each other especially since two family members (the dad and the grandfather) don’t have any action, only dialogue.

Another challenge was letting go of an ending I loved to find the right ending that worked best for the story. I initially had Max solving his problem and then the family rejecting his solution even though he met their requirements. I got the very astute feedback that the story should wrap up quickly once Max solves his problem. I always keep this feedback in mind even with current projects so that I don’t repeat the same mistake.

My biggest joy was when I found a way for Max to solve his problem in a surprising yet inevitable way (you’ll have to read the book to find out how he does it!). It gave me the same sort of satisfaction as solving a tough puzzle.

*******************************************
Some rapid fire questions.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?
Park ranger

Favorite pick me up snack/drink?
drink: green tea
snack: berries or stone fruit

If you could have any kind of animal as a pet, what would it be?
Of course, a bunny. 🙂

What book(s) is on your bedside table?
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargaretGreaniasAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargaretGreania
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/margaretgreanias/
Website: http://www.margaretgreanias.com

Thank you Margaret for stopping by today and sharing a bit about yourself. Wishing you many future successes!

Maximillian Villainous

I am so excited to tell you about this wonderful book by debut author Margaret Greanias. This is extra special since Margaret has been my critique partner and friend since 2011! I saw this book in its nascent forms and to see it today with sparkling text and colorful pictures– I’m in awe. <3 Come back next week for an interview with the author!

Title: Maximillian Villainous
Author: Margaret Greanias 
Illustrator: Lesley Breen Withrow (great interview at Kathy Temean’s blog)
Publisher: Running Press Kids, 2018
Editor: Julie Matysik
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Being Yourself

Excerpt:
When his father stole Santa’s sleigh, Max gave Santa keys to the family car.
When his grandfather robbed the Tooth Fairy, Max left her an apology and his piggy bank.

Synopsis (from Amazon website):
Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance.

Activities:

Why I Love This Book:
Warm-hearted Max and bunny are sure to win over readers young and old in this tale about staying true to yourself. My favorite parts are seeing the ways Max has subverted his family’s devious deeds in the opening pages and then his own blunders in trying to complete the tasks from his mother’s challenge. The ending is the perfect culmination proving to all he is a Villainous, and the reader will want to cheer Max on since he got what he wanted and he did it his way! The author has also done a magnificent job providing distinct character lines for the three older family members. Read for yourself:

“Oh, evil up already!” said his father.

“Thirteen generations of first-class villainy wiped out by a bunny,  said his grandfather.”

“If that bunny is still here tomorrow, I will launch him into space,” said his mother.

The childlike, colorful illustrations are endearing and joyous and compliment Max and bunny’s personality beautifully. I do like the addition of the baby sister. Could we get a sequel with the two siblings … that would be fun!  😉

The large trim size and bold colors make it perfect for group storytime or reading at home.


Find Maximillian Villainous at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0762462973
ISBN-13: 978-0762462971

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 – Part 3

Dear Faithful readers, thanks so much for stopping by for another South Asian Kidlit round-up! Last one for 2018. You can use the rest of this year to catch up on your reading since there are a whole bunch of new books coming out in 2019! If you would like to check-out past round-ups click on this link which will take you to my past South Asian Kidlit posts. Also stay tuned, since I will have some very exciting news of my own to share. 😉

The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

 




Title: Diwali Lights
Author: Rina Singh
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Category-Genre: Board Book – Concept Book

Synopsis: Every year in October or November, most Indians come together to celebrate Diwali.
All the stories of Diwali celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
Diwali is the biggest and the brightest of all Indian festivals. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is a central figure of the festival. Diwali is a time of great joy. Happy Diwali!

Bio: Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her Indo-Canadian heritage. Her book – A Forest of Stories has been translated in many languages. Her book – Diwali: A Festival of Lights was nominated for the Red Cedar Award. This is her third book with Orca. She lives in a blue house in Toronto. Surrounded by tall trees, birds, squirrels, a rabbit, and a fish pond in her garden, she hopes to write many more books for children.

Website: www.rinasingh.com
Twitter: @storiesbysingh
Instagram: @storiesbysingh



Title: A Dog Named Haku, A Holiday Story From Nepal  
Authors: Amish Karanjit and Nicole Karajit, co-authored with Margarita Engle
Illustrator: Ruth Jeyaveeran
Publisher: Lerner Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Two adventurous young boys search Kathmandu for a stray dog to feed during a dog-honoring festival.

Bios: 
Amish Karanjit is from Nepal, and currently works as a medical biotech research associate near San Francisco. A Dog Named Haku was inspired by events from his own childhood, and by his family’s survival after the 2015 earthquake.

Nicole Karanjit is a linguist and adult ELL instructor from California, currently working as a full-time mom and mixed-media artist near San Francisco.

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of picture books such as Drum Dream Girl and All the Way to Havana. She is currently the Young People’s Poet Laureate. Nicole is her daughter, and Amish is her son-in-law. They collaborated on A Dog Named Haku to provide two-year-old Maya Karanjit with a mirror book about her father’s culture.
Margarita Engle

Website: www.margaritaengle.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margarita.engle.1
Twitter: @YPPLaureate


Title: Super Satya Saves the Day 
Author: Raakhee Mirchandani
Illustrator: Tim Palin
Publisher: Bharat Babies
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Super Satya is ready to have a super day, including finally conquering the tallest slide in Hoboken. But her day takes a not-so-super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner. Will she be able to face her fears, help her friends and be the true hero everyone knows she is? Super Satya Saves The Day introduces Satya, a precocious Indian-American superhero.

Bio: Raakhee Mirchandani is an writer, editor, Jersey Girl and pediatric cancer crusader. Her work has appeared in Elle, Glamour, Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, New York Post, Redbookand HuffPo. She’s the Editor-in-Chief of Moneyish, published by Dow Jones. “Super Satya Saves the Day” is Raakhee’s first book and is inspired by her own fiery 4-year-old daughter Satya.

Website: www.raakstar.com
Twitter: @Raakstar
Instagram: @RaakstarWrites



Title: Shubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend 
Author & Illustrator: Nidhi Chanani
Publisher: Bharat Babies
Publication Date: October 2018
Category-Genre: Board Book-Bilingual, Animal Primer

Synopsis: As day turns to night, follow Bhai (brother) and Behan (sister) in their Indian farm home while they bid their animal friends a good night. Children will love this sweet sleep tale that builds their Hindi and English vocabulary. Every page includes Hindi language script, Romanized Hindi, and English language, which makes each language accessible to your whole family.

Bio: Nidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and writer. She was born in Calcutta and raised in suburban southern California. She creates because it makes her happy – with the hope that it can make others happy, too. In April of 2012, she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change.

Instagram: nidhiart
Twitter: @nidhiart
Tumblr: nidhiart
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nidhichananiartist



Title: Meet Yasmin 
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
Publisher: Picture Window Books/Capstone
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Category-Genre: Early Chapter Books

Synopsis: Yasmin is a spirited second-grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. Taking inspiration from her surroundings and her big imagination, she boldly faces any situation, assuming her imagination doesn’t get too big, of course! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers.

Bios:

Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer, essayist and interfaith activist. She writes for a number of publications including the Huffington Post, and is editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, a magazine for Muslim art, poetry and prose. Her adult short story collection Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan was published in 2015.

Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured in multiple publications worldwide. One of the books he illustrated is The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz, which won a Newbery Honor and other awards despite Hatem’s drawings of a farting dragon, a two-headed cat, and stinky cheese.

Saadia Faruqi
Website: www.saadiafaruqi.com
Facebook: @SaadiaFaruqiAuthor
Twitter: @SaadiaFaruqi
Instagram: @SaadiaFaruqi

Hatem Aly
Website: www.metahatem.com
Facebook: @MetaHatem
Twitter: @MetaHatem
Instagram: @MetaHatem



Title: Murder at the Grand Raj Palace 
Author: Vaseem Khan
Publisher: Redhook, Hachette Publishing
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Crime Fiction

Synopsis: When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead in India’s most iconic hotel the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Inspector Ashwin Chopra is called in – with his baby elephant sidekick – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead…

Bio: Vaseem Khan is the author of the Mumbai-set Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series. The first book The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra was a Times bestseller and an Amazon Best Debut. Born in London, Vaseem spent a decade working in India. He now works at University College London’s Department of Security and Crime Science.

Website: http://vaseemkhan.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VaseemKhanOfficial/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VaseemKhanUK



Title: A Spark of White Fire 
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult-Space Opera

Synopsis: Inspired by the Mahabharata, A Spark of White Fire tells the story of Esmae, an orphan and servant who enters a competition and reveals herself to be the lost princess of a kingdom on the brink of a civil war. With an unbeatable, sentient warship on her side, she sets out to end the war and restore the crown to the rightful ruler.

Bio: Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

Website: http://www.sangumandanna.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SanguMandanna
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sangumandanna

How to Code a Sandcastle

Title: How to Code a Sandcastle
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Sara Palacios
Publisher: Viking Books, 2018
Editor: Kendra Levin and Leila Sales
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Coding, Persistence

Excerpt:
There must be a coding trick I can use.
Aha! a LOOP!
When you need to repeat something in code, you can use a LOOP!
“Pascal, LOOP through this SEQUENCE:”

  1. Fill the pail with sand.
  2. Dump the sand on our spot.
  3. Pat the sand down.

Synopsis (from Amazon website):
From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.
All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever!

Activites:

  • Girls Who Code – Organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. Click to find out what programs are available in your area – clubs, immersion programs in tech companies, and more.
  • Hour of Code – try out one of the programming activities.
  • Game and Activity Ideas using coding constructs for the toddler set by Vicki and Babies to Bookworms. She’s done wonderful job!

Why I Like This Book:
What’s not to love. A book that can breakdown coding concepts in a funny, engaging way with amazing colorful illustrations! Be still my beating heart. I love the way the author has broken down the building of a sandcastle into clear and simple steps and is able to connect it to fundamental concepts in coding – sequence, loops, if-then-else. While coding in itself can be dry, the author and illustrator have  infused plenty of humor along the way. Gotta love the ending which is the beauty of code and robotics.

 

Click to Enlarge — Art courtesy of Viking Books for Young Readers

 

This book is a must for any classroom, school, and home library! Be on the lookout for How to Code a Rollercoaster!

Find How to Code a Sandcastle at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0425291987
ISBN-13: 978-0425291986

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

South Asian Kidlit 2018 – Part 2: Novels

Last week I posted Part 2: Picture Books. Today, I’m posting novels from Chapter Books to Young Adult. Lots of great reads!

The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For an abbreviated pdf version of this list click here. Feel free to share with librarians, booksellers, teachers, and book lovers everywhere.


Title: Power Forward
Author: Hena Khan
Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Category-Genre: Chapter Book

Synopsis:
From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader named Zayd Saleem with big dreams of basketball stardom. There are only a few small things in his way.

Bio:
Hena Khan is the author of Amina’s Voice, a Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and NPR Best Book of 2017, the Zayd Saleem: Chasing the Dream chapter book series, and several beloved picture books including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, It’s Ramadan, Curious George, and Night of the Moon.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/henakhanbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hena.khan.author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/henakhanbooks/
Website: https://www.henakhan.com/


Title: Ramadan: The Holy Month of Fasting
Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Nonfiction

Synopsis:
Ramadan: The Holy Month of Fasting explores the richness and diversity of the Islamic tradition by focusing on an event of great spiritual significance and beauty in the lives of Muslims. Rich with personal stories and stunning photographs, Ramadan demystifies the traditions and emphasizes the importance of diversity in a world where Islamophobia is on the rise.

Bio:
Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of the Khattak/Getty mystery series, which has been optioned for television. A British-born Canadian, she is a former adjunct law professor and the former editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl magazine. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Website: www.ausmazehanatkhan.com
Twitter: @AusmaZehanat
Facebook: @ausmazehanatkhan


Title: Amal Unbound
Author: Aisha Saeed
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Contemporary

Synopsis:
Bookish Amal loves learning and dreams of becoming a teacher one day until an accidental run in with a corrupt local landlord in her Punjabi village results in her being taken into his home as an indentured servant. Amal feels hopeless at first but learns to navigate her new life and wonders if perhaps, just maybe, she could change things for her town and take this landlord down once and for all.

Bio:
Aisha Saeed is an author, lawyer, educator and mother. Her debut novel was Written in the Stars (Penguin, 2015). She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three sons.

Twitter: @aishacs
Instagram: @aishacs


Title: Damselfly
Author: Chandra Prasad
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis:
In the wake of a crash landing on a deserted tropical island, a group of private school teens must rely on their wits and one another to endure. When their initial attempts to escape the island fail, the teens find they need to survive more than the jungle . . . they need to survive each other.

Bio:
Chandra Prasad’s first young adult novel, Damselfly, will be published this month by Scholastic. The author previously wrote novels for adults, including On Borrowed Wings, a historical drama set in early 20th century Yale University, and Death of a Circus, which Booklist called “Richly textured [and] packed with glamour and grit.” Prasad is also the originator and editor of Mixed, an anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience, which was published to international acclaim by W.W. Norton.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chandrabooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/207156.Chandra_Prasad
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chandra-Prasad/e/B001IQZHZS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chandra.prasad.1654


Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Romantic Comedy

Synopsis:
Winnie Mehta must learn to choose between free will and destiny as she struggles to gain control of her school’s film festival. Luckily, she gets a little help from a Bollywood movie star along the way.

Bio:
Nisha Sharma lives in New Jersey with her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew. MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE is her debut novel.

Website: www.nisha-sharma.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/nishawrites
Twitter: www.twitter.com/nishawrites


Title: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis:
Three South Asian American best friends pile into a car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way–from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints, each mile of the road bringing them closer to their own truths, and each other.

Bio:
Sheba Karim is the author of Skunk Girl and That Thing We Call a Heart. She is based in Nashville, TN.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shebakarimwriter
Twitter: www.twitter.com/shebakarim

Title: A Reaper at the Gates
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

Synopsis:
The highly anticipated third book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir’s EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger. Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides. Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender–even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.

Bio:
Sabaa Tahir is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult fantasy An Ember in the Ashes.  She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sabaatahir
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SabaaTahirAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sabaatahir/
Tumblr: http://sabaatahir.tumblr.com

South Asian Kidlit 2018 – Part 2: Picture Books

Sorry, this is a little late. Things have been busy, busy, busy. In my last round-up post, I mentioned it was a bumper crop year for South Asian books – picture books in particular. It turns out I missed a handful of books and decided to include them in Part 2. I had so many books that I had to break it down into two posts! Yowza! I never would have imagined I’d have so many books to share. This post is the first one which covers just picture books.

The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For an abbreviated pdf version of this list click here. Feel free to share with librarians, booksellers, teachers, and book lovers everywhere.


Title: Little Sid: The Tiny Prince Who Became Buddha
Author: Ian Lendler
Illustrator: Xanthe Bouma
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book-Buddhist Fiction

Synopsis: Little Sid weaves traditional Buddhist fables into a new tale of Siddhartha as a spoiled young prince, who gets everything he asks for, until he wants something that can’t be given– happiness. So he sets off on a journey of discovery and encounters mysterious wise-folk, terrifying tigers, and one very annoying mouse.

Bio: Ian Lendler is the author of the award-winning Stratford Zoo graphic novel series, as well as the picture books An Undone Fairy Tale, Saturday, and One Day A Dot. He lives near San Francisco, CA.

Website: IanLendler.com
Twitter: @ianlendler


Title: The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art 
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: Claire A. Nivola
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: February 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book – Non-Fiction

Synopsis: The incredible story of the world’s largest visionary environment: the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, kept secret by outsider artist Nek Chand for fifteen years.

Bio: Barb Rosenstock is a children’s book author who loves true stories. Her work includes The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein; The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré; and many others. Barb Rosenstock lives in Chicago.


Title: Ramadan
Author: Hannah Eliot
Illustrator: Rashin
Publisher: Little Simon
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Category-Genre: Board Book

Synopsis: In the ninth month of the year, when the first crescent moon rises in the sky, it’s time to celebrate Ramadan! In this lovely board book with illustrations from Rashin Kheiriyeh, readers learn that Ramadan is a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and a time to help others.

Bio:
Hannah Eliot is a children’s book editor who lives in Manhattan, New York. Her favorite activities include editing (of course), writing, painting, and doodling all over every piece of notebook paper she uses.

Rashin Kheiriyeh is an internationally recognized, award-winning author, illustrator, animation director, and painter who has published over sixty children’s books. She has a PhD in children’s book illustration from Tehran, Iran, and her MFA in graphic design from Alzahra University. She also studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Currently, she is an art professor at the University of Maryland.


Title: You’re Safe With Me
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Poonam Mistry
Publisher: Lantana Publishing (distributed by Lerner Books)
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis:
When the moon rises high and the stars twinkle, it is bedtime for the baby animals of the Indian forest. But tonight, when the skies turn dark and the night grows stormy, the little ones can’t sleep. SWISH-SWISH! CRACK-TRACK! FLASH-SNAP! goes the storm. Only Mama Elephant with her words of wisdom can reassure them. “You’re safe with me.”

Bio:
Chitra Soundar is an Indian-born British writer and storyteller. She is inspired by the rich epics and folktales of India, its diverse culture and its natural beauty. She has over 30 books in print worldwide and has been published by Otter-Barry Books, Walker Books and Red Robin Books.
Poonam Mistry is a UK-based illustrator of Indian heritage. Her work is heavily influenced by nature, folklore and traditional Indian art. With a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration, she produces artwork for clients around the world.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChitraSoundarAuthor/
Twitter: @csoundar
Instagram: @chitrasoundar
Twitter: @pmistryartist
Instagram: @poonammistryart


Title: Nimesh the Adventurer
Author: Ranjit Singh
Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini
Publisher: Lantana Publishing (distributed by Lerner Books)
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Nimesh is walking home from school. Except…there happens to be a shark in the corridor. And a dragon in the library! And why would crossing the road lead to the North Pole? A fun-filled story about a little boy with a BIG imagination, Nimesh the Adventurer will surely make even the dullest journey a dazzling adventure.

Bio:
Ranjit Singh is a British children’s book author of East Asian heritage. He uses words to reach out and inspire people in his community. This is his debut picture book.
Mehrdokht Amini is an Iranian-born illustrator who has won the Children’s Africana Best Book Award and been nominated for a Kate Greenaway Medal for her work on Chicken in the Kitchen (Lantana).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ranjittheauthor
Twitter: @RanjitTheAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mehrdokht.amini.1


Title: Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes
Author: Hena Khan
Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis:
From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes—and traditions—of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, this beautiful sequel to Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as on a parent’s lap being read to a child.

Bio:
Hena Khan is the author of Amina’s Voice, a Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and NPR Best Book of 2017, the Zayd Saleem: Chasing the Dream chapter book series, and several beloved picture books including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, It’s Ramadan, Curious George, and Night of the Moon.
Mehrdokht Amini is an Iranian-born illustrator who has won the Children’s Africana Best Book Award.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/henakhanbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hena.khan.author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/henakhanbooks/
Website: https://www.henakhan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mehrdokht.amini.1
Website: https://www.myart2c.com/


Title: Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet
Author: Elizabeth Suneby
Illustrator: Rebecca Green
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2108
Category-Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Motivation, science problem-solving skills and the help of a little sister—that’s what it takes for Iqbal to come up with an idea for his school’s science fair. If he wins, he can buy his mom a gas-fueled stove so during monsoon season she doesn’t have to cook over an open fire inside which is making her and the baby sick.

Bio: Elizabeth loves to play with words. Its how she thinks through ideas, learn new things — and earn a living. She write books, magazine articles, and websites.

Website: elizabethsuneby.com/books
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethKellnerSunebyWriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pressed4words 


Title: The Manic Panic
Author: Richa Jha
Illustrator: Mithila Ananth
Publisher: Creston Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture book

Synopsis: How can a family survive when the internet goes down? Clearly the parents have no solution. Luckily, their daughter knows exactly what to do!

Bio(s):  Richa Jha is an Indian author, publisher and picture book enthusiast. Her picture books have been nominated for several prestigious literary, industry and popular awards in India. She is an active member of the kidlit community.
When not illustrating books and dreaming up characters, Mithila Ananth can be found smelling books, collecting stationery, and relaxing with 90s cartoons. She likes happy endings. The Manic Panic is her first children’s book.

Richa Jha
Website: richajha.com
Facebook:@richajhabooks
Twitter: @RichajhaJha
Instagram: @richajharj

Mithila Ananth
Website: doodlekaari.com
Facebook: @Doodlekaari
Twitter: @doodlekaari
Behance: Doodlekaari


Title: Always Anjali
Author: Sheetal Sheth
Illustrator: Jessica Blank
Publisher: Bharat Babies
Publication Date: May, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Synopsis: When Anjali and her friends want to get matching personalized license plates, she can’t find her name. To make matters worse, she gets bullied for her ‘different’ name, and is so upset she demands to change it. When her parents refuse and she is forced to take matters into her own hands, she winds up learning to celebrate who she is and carry her name with pride and power. A timeless story about appreciating what makes us special.
Bio: Sheetal Sheth is an award-winning actress and producer, known for her provocative performances in a wide range of memorable roles on film and television. Sheetal puts a spotlight on under-represented groups, not only through her trailblazing work as an actor, but also by being an outspoken advocate. Sheetal served in President Clinton’s AmeriCorps, is currently on the advisory board of Equality Now, and is an ambassador for The Representation Project. This is her first children’s book.

Room In Your Heart

Title: Room In Your Heart
Author: Kunzang Choden
Illustrator: Pema Tshering
Publisher:  Kitaabworld, March 27, 2018
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-7
Theme: Kindness, Generosity

Opening Lines:
To the east of Thimphu and west of Trongsa, somewhere among the mountains high, lived an old woman in a little house.
A gray cat, a yellow dog and a brown speckled hen lived with her and shared her hearth.

Synopsis: (from Amazon website)
“Neypo shong gna? Is there room for me?” a wandering monk asks the old lady who lives on the hill. The question is repeated again and again as more and more visitors arrive. The kind lady welcomes them in one by one. But how will they all fit in her tiny little house?

This charming tale contains an important teaching about openness and generosity of spirit.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

A folktale that will delight and enlighten while opening the eyes and hearts of readers to Bhutanese life. In this tale, a charming old lady in a small one-room home offers hospitality to a monk, a messenger, a traveler and so on without even the slightest hesitation. She shares her meal with all of her guests even though it is not much “one got a single bit of turnip leaf, another a tiny piece of bone, another got a drop of soup” and the guests “savored their dinner and licked their bowls clean“. The appreciative guests wonder how the old lady could fit them all in, to which the monk answers with a wise saying which left this reader with a warm glow deep inside. The backmatter included some interesting facts about Bhutan. For instance, the GNH (Gross National Happiness) index that measures the nation’s prosperity is based on the citizens’ happiness.

The lyrical text paired with soft watercolors is a perfect combination for this tale of openness and love for all.

Find Room In your Heart at the following spots:
Kitaabworld | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0999547623
ISBN-13: 978-0999547625

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

Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

Festival of Colors

The Indian holiday of Holi is coming up next week, March 1 & 2, 2018 so it seemed appropriate to review this wonderful new picture book which introduces the holiday that will appeal to both newcomers to the holiday and those already familiar.

Title: Festival of Colors
Author: Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal (check out the interview with this mother-son duo at Children’s Book Podcast)
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Publisher:  Beach Lane Books, 2018
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Theme: Indian Holidays, Colors

Opening Lines:
Guavas are ripening. Lotuses are blooming. And Holi, the Indian festival of colors, is almost here.

Synopsis:
Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:
A wonderful, colorful, accessible way of introducing young children to the Indian holiday of Holi. The simple structured text gently guides the reader through the fabulous colors while keeping the reader wondering what the two young characters, Chintoo and Mintoo, will be doing with the collected flowers. We then see the kids prepare the colored powders, which the authors term as petal-powder {love}. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the viewing lens expands beyond Mintoo and Chintoo’s home to show the reader that Holi is something bigger than just their family. The lines for the section read:

Chintoo and Mintoo are ready too! <page turn>
And so are their parents. <page turn>
And their friends. <page turn>
And their neighbors. And then … <page turn>

The book then conveys the sentiment of Holi being about friendship, forgiveness, and fresh starts, not just within the family but extending to the community as well. An author’s note at the end provides a brief overview of the holiday.

The artwork is dynamic and vivacious and most importantly kid-appealing.

Take a look at this wonderful 3D animated book trailer.

Find Festival of Colors at the following spots:
Kitaab World | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1481420496
ISBN-13:  978-1481420495

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

Be Kind

I’m so excited to share this lovely book. It seemed like the perfect choice since Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week is coming up February 11-17, 2018.   

Title: Be Kind
Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Jenn Hill
Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press, 2018
Editor: Connie Hsu
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Kindness

Excerpt:
What does it mean to be kind anyway?
Maybe it’s giving.
Making cookies for Mr. Rinaldi, who lives alone.
Letting someone with smaller feet have my too-tight shoes.
(He might win races in them, too.)

Synopsis (from Amazon website):
When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

Activites:

  • Kindness lesson plan
  • Have kids do a Random Act of Kindness. Here is a link to my past blog post to get some ideas.
  • There are tons of other resources on the Internet. I recommend searching Pinterest. Here is a link to get you started.

Why I Like This Book:
What’s not to love. The succinct text, the musings of a young child, cheery illustrations, with a message of empathy and compassion. A charming book which shows that kindness can be done in the simplest ways with the potential to grow. The book can be used as a springboard for discussions at home and school about kindness and can be extended with a kindness activity.

Also, check out this adorable trailer where kids answer questions about kindness.

Find Be Kind at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1626723214
ISBN-13: 978-1626723214

South Asian Kidlit 2018 – Part 1

I am so excited to bring you this year’s crop of South Asian Kidlit books. There are so many books coming out this year that I will be breaking it down into three posts over the course of this year. And for the first time ever we have over 10+ picture books coming out in 2018!!! The publishing gods have been listening.

Today I bring you 11 titles (3 PB, 3 MG, 5 YA) that are being released from January thru March 2018. These books are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date. Come back in April for Part 2.

For an abbreviated pdf version of this list click here. Feel free to share with librarians, booksellers, teachers, and book lovers everywhere.


Title: Festival of Colors
Author: Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Synopsis: Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

Bio:
Surishtha Sehgal was a university professor for many years and now enjoys reading to children during story time. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes social responsibility among students, and she serves on the boards of two universities and a national arts center. She lives in Atlanta.

Kabir Sehgal started his class newspaper in second grade and has been writing ever since. A bestselling author of several books, he is also a jazz bassist and Grammy Award–winning producer. He lives in New York City.

Vashti Harrison is an artist and filmmaker from Onley, Virginia. She earned her MFA in Film/Video from CalArts and BA from the University of Virginia. Festival of Colors by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal is her first picture book.


Title: Holi Colors
Author: Rina Singh
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: February 13th, 2018
Category-Genre: Board Book – Concept Book

Synopsis: People in India welcome the arrival of spring by tossing colored powders known as gulal on friends, family and strangers.
Holi, the spectacular Festival of Colors celebrates the legendary love of Lord Krishna for his beloved, Radha. Amid the clouds of reds, blues, yellows and every color imaginable, the festival of colors and love has everyone singing and dancing in the streets. Happy Holi!

Bio: Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her
Indo-Canadian heritage. Her book – A Forest of Stories has been translated into many
languages. Her book – Diwali: A Festival of Lights was nominated for the Red Cedar
Award. This is her third book with Orca. She lives in a blue house in Toronto. Surrounded
by tall trees, birds, squirrels, and a fish pond in her garden, she hopes to write many more books for children.

Twitter: @rinasingh25
Instagram: rinasingh25



Title: Tales of India – Folktales from Bengal, Punjab & Tamil Nadu
Illustrations: Viplov Singh & Svabhu Kohli
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Folktales

Synopsis: This collection of 16 traditional tales transports readers to the beguiling world of Indian folklore. Transcribed by Indian and English folklorists in the nineteenth century, these stories brim with wit and magic. Fans of fairy tales will encounter familiar favorites—epic quests and talking animals—alongside delightful surprises—an irreverent sense of humor and an array of bold, inspiring heroines. Each tale in this book comes alive alongside exquisite artwork by a pair of contemporary Indian artists.

Bio: Viplov Singh and Svabhu Kohli are an independent artist duo who frequently collaborate to create stories in animation, film and illustration. Inspired by the earth’s ecology and myths, they create impressions intertwined with hints of fantasy. Located in the forests of Southern India they spend their days reading, exploring terrains and growing a forest in their front yard.

Instagram: viplov.singh & svabhu.kholi


Title: The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond – Book 1)
Author: Sayantani DasGupta
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Fantasy Adventure

Synopsis: On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey . . . until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . .

Bio: Sayantani DasGupta grew up hearing stories about brave princesses, bloodthirsty rakkhosh and flying pakkhiraj horses. She is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she’s not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador Retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse books.

Website: www.sayantanidasgupta.com 
Twitter: @sayantani16
Facebook: Sayantani DasGupta
Instagram: princesskiranmala


Title: The Night Diary
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Category- Genre: Middle-Grade – Historical Fiction

Synopsis: It’s 1947, and India, newly freed from British rule, has been divided into two countries, Pakistan and India. When her father decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family embark on a harrowing journey. Told through Nisha’s letters to her deceased mother, The Night Diary, is an intimate tale of India’s partition, and one girl’s search for home, for her own identity, and for a hopeful future.

Bio: Veera Hiranandani is the author of the upcoming The Night Diary, The Whole Story of Half a Girl, which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist, and the chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green. She teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VeeraHira
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veera.hiranandani
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veerawrites/

Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time 
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents / Disney Publishing Worldwide
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Synopsis: The first in an accessible, funny, and fast-paced fantasy adventure series based on Hindu mythology, about a twelve-year-old girl who sets a cosmic showdown in motion when she lights an ancient lamp on a dare. Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school.

Bio: Roshani Chokshi (www.roshanichokshi.com) is the author of the instant New York Times bestselling novel, The Star-Touched Queen, and its companion, A Crown of Wishes. Aru Shah and the End of Time, her middle-grade debut, was inspired by the stories her grandmother told her as well as Roshani’s all-consuming love for Sailor Moon.

Website: https://roshanichokshi.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roshanichokshi/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/roshani_chokshi

Title: Escape From Aleppo
Author: N.H. Senzai
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel.

Bio: N.H. Senzai is the author of Shooting Kabul, which was critically acclaimed and on numerous award lists. Publishers Weekly called it “hard hitting, emotionally wrenching.” Her second book, Saving Kabul Corner, was nominated for an Edgar Award. She is also the author of Ticket to India and Escape from Aleppo. Ms. Senzai lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Website: http://www.NHSenzai.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NHSenzaiAuthor/
Twitter: @NHasnatSenzai

Title: Love, Hate, & Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 18, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter and then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school. There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Bio: Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.

Website: http://www.samiraahmed.com
Twitter: @sam_aye_ahm
Instagram: @sam_aye_ahm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamiraAhmedAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8345582.Samira_Ahmed

Title: Dark Goddess
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Category-Genre: Yong Adult – Fantasy

Synopsis: After a fierce struggle that unseated the Azura Lord of Death and elevated Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, to his role, the realms of existence appear peaceful, and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored. But a new threat to humankind has already begun: a scourge of demons has been invading the Mortal Realm, and Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, the goddess of destruction, plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying all of humanity to do so. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

Bio: Amalie Howard is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 bestseller in gothic fiction, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller in Regency Romance, My Rogue, My Ruin, in the Lords of Essex historical romance series.

Website: http://www.amaliehoward.com
Twitter: @AmalieHoward
Facebook: @AmalieHowardAuthor
Instagram: @AmalieHoward

Title: A Girl Like That
Author: Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux BYR
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk-taker. She’s also a troublemaker whose romantic entanglements are the subject of endless gossip among her classmates. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

Bio: Tanaz Bhathena was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness, and Room Magazine. A Girl Like That is her first novel.

Website: http://www.tanazbhathena.com/

Title: Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling
Author: Arshia Sattar
Illustrator: Sonali Zohra
Publisher: Restless Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Classics / Hindu Epics

Synopsis: Ramayana—an unforgettable tale of love, adventure, flying monkeys and god acting in the world of humans—has been treasured by readers around the world for thousands of years. Now in an authoritative, gripping retelling by the renowned Ramayana scholar Arshia Sattar, readers have a new chance to explore this classic’s riches.

Bio:
Arshia Sattar has a PhD in classical Indian literature from the University of Chicago. Her translations from Sanskrit, The Ramayana of Valmiki and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara, have been published as Penguin Classics. She has also written books for children, including The Adventures of Hanuman.
Sonali Zohra studied fine art and photography and applies the principles of both to her work. From murals to illustration on ceramic, communication design, photography and illustration for books, whatever the medium, she tries to strike a balance between color, form and light.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danger.cat/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dangercatstudio/