Friday, December 2, 2022

7 Days of Books, Day 2 Our Diverse World

It's our second day of celebrating children's books with #7DaysOfBooks, and I'm excited to recommend titles that help readers learn about and engage in our beautifully diverse world, as well as connect with their own heritage.

Holiday lights in Seattle:

We have a treasure trove of giveaways today, and I hope you'll support our wonderful authors/illustrators by finding them online and learning about these and other books that they have created.

Luminara Holiday Lights, Utah 2021. Photo by SKWenger

My Paati's Saris 
by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illustrated by Art Twink (Koklia 2022). 

Inspired by an experience in her class one day when she shared her saris with her students, this beautiful book shows all the different meanings that the wearing of traditional saris by his grandmother holds for a young Tamil boy as he goes about his day with her. Meanings of color, song, environment, food, dance, music, family, and self pour from the page. This special story holds a universal theme for everyone regarding relationships and celebration of heritage, and I highly recommend it for all readers and all ages.

Priya Dreams of Marsala and Marigolds by Meenal Patel (Beaver's Pond Press 2019). 

I absolutely love this exploration of Indian culture told from the perspective of an Indian-American girl named Priya who longs to fill her Babi Ba's heart with memories of India, and how when she explains what she is making at school, her classmates join in to create the longest garland of paper marigolds ever. I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages, especially those who enjoy baking in the kitchen, picking flowers from the garden, and sharing in new experiences with others. The lyrical text and bright illustrations are a treasure to be relished with repeated readings.

All the Places We Call Home 
written by Patrice Gopo, illustrated by Jenin Mohammed (Worthy Kids 2022).

As a mama shares memories of her daughter's previous homes and those of family in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Jamaica before tucking into her own bed in America. This beautiful story will spark conversations of the homes of older family members and ancestors in all little ones. Highly recommended for the lyrical and gentle tones mixed with vibrantly soothing illustrations.

Diwali in My New Home
 written by Shachi Kaushik, illustrated by Aishwany Tondoon (Beaming Books). 

When a young girl named Priya faces the prospect of celebrating Diwali--the festival of lights--outside of India, she is saddened that no one seems to know about her favorite holiday. The lights, traditional clothing, decorations, and songs that were present for her in India are absent from her school and community. But as she and her family begin to make preparations to celebrate Lord Rama and the goddess Lakshmi, neighbors take notice and ask questions. Soon, the celebration for the victory of light over darkness extends to including new friends and neighbors. I highly recommend this book for all readers to spark curiosity and learning about diverse cultures and holidays that can be celebrated in our world.  

The Moon from Dehradun, A Story of Partitian 
by Shirin Shamsi, illustrated by Tarun Lar (Atheneum 2022).

This beautiful story about a family who was forced to flee their home in India after withdrawal of the British government in 1947, shows the power of resilience and hope in a young girl who turns despair over leaving behind a home and beloved doll into tender affection and understanding shown toward her baby brother and their new life in Pakistan. Inspired by the true-life events of her mother, author Shirin Shamsi hopes that The Moon from Dehradun will help build bridges of understanding, tolerance and respect on both sides of the border. I highly recommend this story for all readers, as it will spark discussions of empathy and learning for the conflicts experienced by the diverse populations of our world.

From the Tops of the Trees 
written by Kao Kalia Yan, illustrated by Rachel Wada (Carolrhoda Books 2021). 

This slice of life offers the perspective and experiences of a young girl named Kalia growing up in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand as a Hmong refugee. When Kalia asks her father what life is like outside the camp, he doesn't immediately have an answer. But by the following day, he finds a way to show her. This tender story shows the love between family members who wait for a way to a better life for themselves. An uplifting story for readers of all ages.

Brown is Beautiful by Supriya Kelpar, illustrated by Noor Sofi (Farrar Straus Giroux 2022).

In this wonderfully rich, lyrical text, young readers will see how brown, a color in nature that may not always be called out as a favorite, is shown as exquisite, strong, and worthy of celebration, from the tiniest ants to the tallest mountains. This story is also a celebration of self and identity, and by the end, readers will be identifying the wonderful attributes that lie within themselves and perhaps seeking affirmation in the natural sights they see around them. I highly recommend this book for all young readers and story times! It truly is a celebration of beauty in all.

Amah Faraway
by Margaret Chiu Greanias, illustrated by Tracy Subisak (Bloomsbury 2022).

In this lovely story, a girl gets to visit her grandmother in China after knowing her mainly through video chats. Gradually, through a series of different experiences around Taipei, Kylie reconnects with her Amah, and also changes from being shy and uncertain to curious and brave in her exhuberant exploration of this new place. I loved seeing the transition shown in this young girl embracing her heritage and culture, and then learning how to carry that connection with her Amah back home as they continued their weekly calls through video chats.

Namaste is a Greeting by Suma Sabramaniam (Candlewick 2022). 

This lovely and lyrical book explores the different meanings and spirit of namaste through the eyes of a young girl. Kindness, thoughtfulness, community, compassion--all are shown in this beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told story for readers of all ages. 

And now on to our prize giveaways! They are amazing!

Be sure to comment on the blog and earn extra entries with the rafflecopter for one of the following prizes. Prizes are shown in the side arrows of the rafflecopter. Good luck and thank you for participating!

1) A picture book manuscript critique from author Jyoti Rajan Gopal

2) A signed copy of Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Marsala from Meenal Patel to US address

3) Winner's choice, a copy of All the Places We Call Home to US address or an Ask Me Anything chat with Patrice Gopo

4) A copy of Diwali in My New Home and prize pack to US address from Shachi Kaushik

5) A copy of The Moon from Dehradun to US address from Shirin Shamsi


  1. The world is rich with diversity. Reading books that celebrate differences are important for all readers to learn, understand, and offer inclusivity.

    Sue Leopold

  2. Thank you for introducing me to some great, new PBs!

  3. This is a wonderful selection of books!

  4. I hope to add some of these to my collection!

  5. What a delightful list! Ive read most though thanks for introducing me to a few new ones.

    1. So happy to hear you found some new ones! Fabulous!

  6. What a beautifully diverse selection of picture books!

    1. Thank you, Srividhya! Good luck for the giveaway!

  7. I didn't realize that Patrice Gopo was a fellow Alaskan! I look forward to reading her work.

  8. these books look beautiful!! Can't wait to read them all!! I LOVED Diwali in my New Home and Amah Faraway!!

  9. You're featuring some truly beautiful books here! I've only read half! I must not be reading fast enough. 😍

  10. Wow! Such a great selection of books


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