Archive for ‘Middle-Grade Books’

January 16, 2018

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/

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July 25, 2017

South Asian Kidlit Books in 2017 – Part 2

Welcome back! Summer is flying by and we’ve got a lot of wonderful South Asian Kidlit books coming out in the next few months. It is wonderful to the see the breadth of South Asian books that are coming out from real-world stories, to contemporary, and fantasy. Last week, I was interviewed by Kristi at the Winged Pen about diversity in children’s literature. Come find out my thoughts on the current state and areas where I think there needs to be more focus.

Today I bring you nine titles (2 PB, 4 MG, 4 YA) that are being released in the second-half of 2017. What’s cool is that we have a few returnees! Folks that were featured in previous round-up posts! 🙂 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. Here are links to the previous South Asian Kidlit 2017-Part1 and 2016.

South Asian Kidlit books coming out in 2017. Picture books through Young Adult.

Title: Lines
Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus
Illustrator: Melinda Beck
Publisher:  Little Simon
Publication Date:  August 22, 2017
Category-Genre:  Picture Book

Synopsis: Think beyond shapes. Beyond colors. Beyond letters and numbers. With poetic text and beautiful illustrations, this board book shows us how individual pieces make up a whole. And not just a whole house or a whole town, or a whole city, but a whole universe.

Bio: Sarvinder Naberhaus immigrated from Punjab to the U.S. when she was four years old. Her first book, Boom Boom, was illustrated by Caldecott-honor winning artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine. Her second book, Blue Sky White Stars is illustrated by Caldecott-honor winning artist Kadir Nelson.

Website: www.sarvinder.com
Twitter: @SarvinderN
Facebook: Sarvinder Author

Title: Manjhi Moves a Mountain

Author: Nancy Churin
Illustrator: Danny Popovici
Publisher: Creston Books
Publication Date: >Sept. 1, 2017
Category-Genre: Non-fiction picture book biography

Synopsis: Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain is the true story of how everyone can make a difference if his or her heart is big enough.

Curriculum Guide:https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/68b71d_515070a02f9b496e9281ed433fce05f1.pdf
 
Bio: Manjhi Moves a Mountain, Nancy Churnin’s second picture book, is a fall 2017 Junior Library Guild selection and is featured in KitaabWorld.com. Nancy’s book debut, The William Hoy Story, is on multiple book lists, including the 2017 Texas 2×2 and Topaz Reading Lists and the 2018 Illinois Monarch Award Master List. Nancy is the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and lives in North Texas with her family.

Website: nancychurnin.com
Facebook: Nancy Churnin Children’s Books
Twitter: @nchurnin
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Churnin/e/B01CR5K762/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Title: Karma Khullar’s Mustache
Author: Kristi Wientge
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Category-Genre: MG- Contemporary

Synopsis: Karma is entering middle school and everything—from Daddy losing his job, to Mom working full time, to her best friend being preoccupied with the new girl, to discovering 17 hairs on her upper lip—is upside down. Karma has no one to turn to and must figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise.

Bio: Kristi Wientge grew up in Ohio and studied to be a teacher for children with special needs. Since graduating university she has spent several years exploring the world from China to England teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids. She’s spent the last 12 years raising her family in her husband’s home country, Singapore.

Twitter: @kwientge
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristiwientgeauthor/
Instagram: kristiwientge
Blog: http://www.kristiwientge.com/

Title: Rise of the Jumbies
Author: Tracey Baptiste
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy, Fairy Tale

Synopsis: Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

Bio: Tracey Baptiste is the author of RISE OF THE JUMBIES, a sequel to THE JUMBIES. Her other books include ANGEL’S GRACE and THE TOTALLY GROSS HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT. She volunteers with We Need Diverse Books, The Brown Bookshelf, I Too Arts Collective, and teaches in Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program.

Title: AHIMSA
Author: Supriya Kelkar
Publisher: Tu Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2017
Category: Middle Grade – Historical Fiction

Synopsis: In 1942 India, after Gandhi asks each family to give one member to the freedom movement, Anjali is devastated to think of her father joining the cause. But her father isn’t the one going. Her mother is.When Anjali’s mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.

Bio: Supriya Kelkar was born and raised in the Midwest. She learned Hindi as a child by watching three Bollywood films a week. After college she realized her lifelong dream of working in the film industry when she got a job as a Bollywood screenwriter. AHIMSA is her middle grade debut.

Twitter: @soups25
Instagram: @Supriya.Kelkar


Title: Pashmina 
Author & Illustrator: Nidhi Chanani
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Graphic Novel

Synopsis: Pashmina tells the story of an Indian-American girl who struggles to fit in at high school, then discovers more about her family’s history with the help of her mother’s magical pashmina.

Bio: Pashmina is Nidhi Chanani’s debut graphic novel. Nidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator and artist, and the owner of Everyday Love Art. Nidhi draws and dreams every day with her husband, daughter and their two cats in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

Title: The Library of Fates
Author: Aditi Khorana

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Publication Date: July 18th, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fantasy

Synopsis:  A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn. The Library of Fates is the story of two women – Princess Amrita and the oracle Thala, an escaped slave, who must band together to overthrow the ruthless emperor Sikander. To do this Amrita must find the Library of All Things which can reverse fates so that they can return to an earlier time. Caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, Amrita must decide whether to restore what was lost, or does another life – and another love – await?

Bio: Aditi Khorana has worked as a journalist, a researcher, and an entertainment research executive. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations and has an MA from the Annenberg School for Communications. MIRROR IN THE SKY was her first novel. Her second book is THE LIBRARY OF FATES, a feminist historical fantasy. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture.

Website: www.aditikhorana.com
Twitter: @aditi_khorana
Instagram: @aditi_khorana
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aditi.khorana.9


Title: Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story
Author: Sonia Patel
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Jaya Mehta detests wealth, secrets, and privilege, though he has them all. His family is Indian, originally from Gujarat. Rasa Santos, like many in Hawaii, is of mixed ethnicity. All she has are siblings, three of them, plus a mother who controls men like a black widow spider and leaves her children whenever she wants to. Neither Jaya nor Rasa have ever known real love or close family―not until their chance meeting one sunny day on a mountain in Hau’ula.

Bio: Sonia Patel is a psychiatrist who works with children and adults. She lives and practices in Hawaii. Her YA debut, RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT, received many awards, including: finalist for the Morris Award, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2016.

Twitter: @soniapatel808
Instagram: soniapatel808
Facebook: @SoniaPatelAuthor

Title: You Bring the Distant Near
Author: Mitali Perkins
Publisher: Macmillan / FSG
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult

Synopsis: This elegant young adult novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse.
Bio: Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India and immigrated to the USA with her family when she was seven. She’s the author of ten novels, including TIGER BOY, which won the South Asia Book Award, BAMBOO PEOPLE, and RICKSHAW GIRL (coming soon to the screen from Sleeperwave films.)
Instagram: @mitaliperkins
Title: Dare Mighty Things
Author: Heather Kaczynski
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Publication Date: Oct 10, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult –  Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down…even if it costs her everything.
Bio: Heather has a degree in biology and works in a military library near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where she buys books for children and teens. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and her young daughter.
June 7, 2017

Two Truths and a Lie Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

I can’t believe it is finally here! Only a few more weeks (Publication date: June 27, 2017) before you can get your curious hands on this wonderful book. A middle-grade non-fiction filled with quirky and interesting facts about plants, animals, humans and more … but wait some of the stories are FAKE! And you the reader has to figure out fact from fiction by doing some research. It is a book to get the gears turning in kids’ minds. If you want to know more about the book, check out this wonderful review at Librarian’s Quest.

Now on to the interview to learn a bit about how they worked on this book and details on the giveaway!


1) What was your inspiration or motivation to write this book?

LAT: The idea for the book was initially Joan’s, but what really got me excited about it was Facebook. Right about the time we started working on the proposal, it felt like every day my Facebook feed was showing me some new, unbelievable story that had me wondering, Is that really true? I had to go research so many stories to verify–or dispel–them before I felt like I could share them or leave a comment. It was becoming impossible to ignore that this is the world we now live in. And, there was clearly an endless stream of material!

2) How did you divide up the work?

AJP: We roughly go half and half across the board, and within that sphere we each choose our own stories. Sometimes there may be a bit of (virtual) arm wrestling involved when we’re both excited about one particular topic, but for the most part we each get very attached to stories we’ve stumbled across in our own research. I know I’ve always got a mental list of stories I’m dying to include in the next volume. It’s so hard to whittle down that list!
Also: Laurie is our resident non-fiction expert, so she takes on the brunt of the work when it comes to bibliographies and other technical goodness. She also loves photo research, while I’m much more likely to spend my time digging for punny titles J

LAT: Thankfully, it worked out perfectly. We make a great team!

3) What challenges did you face in working on this book?

AJP: Some of the stories are more obscure than others, and for the lesser known ones it can be harder to find reliable research material—not to mention photographic evidence. Occasionally there is a story that would be amazing to include but for some reason isn’t possible. But for me, the biggest challenge is choosing which stories to include: Our current idea spreadsheet has over 450 listings! How are we supposed to narrow that down to just 27 stories per issue?!

LAT: Agreed! Narrowing the stories down to just 27… AND then fitting them into the strict 3/3/3 structure. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle! (Which I’ll admit is one of the reasons I love doing these books, but it is definitely a huge challenge.) And, as Joan said earlier, we each have some favorite stories that we just have to include, so it takes quite a bit of juggling to make it all fit and make sense.

4) What was your favorite story to work on?

AJP: Oh, that’s impossible for me to say! I had a ton of fun with just about every one of them, although I suppose I might be partial to a little guy named Mike. An upcoming tale of bees-gone-rogue in book #2 is a personal favorite. The book scorpions are pretty neat. Oh, and also the … sigh. Carry on!

LAT: Truly an impossible question. So many of them instantly leap to the front of my mind! Zombie ants? Giant anaconda? Poop pills? The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus will always have a special place in my heart for several reasons. And plants! Plants are so amazing. That didn’t really answer your question, did it? J

5) How did you make the fake stories so darn believable? Embarrassed to say I did fall for them a few times.

AJP: This was the goal – I do confess that we get a delicious thrill every time we hear that this is the case! The fact is that the true stories are so unbelievable that the fake ones blend right in and are very hard to spot. There are also some terrific hoaxes already floating around out there, which are fun to take hold of and tweak a bit for inclusion in the book.

LAT: Hooray, mission accomplished! I think truth really is stranger than fiction, so we did have that on our side, as Joan said. Also, since many of our fake ones are based on existing hoaxes, they could sound familiar… Perhaps you read them on Facebook? That’s actually my greatest fear with these books, that people will remember that they read them but forget that they were actually false!

6) I understand this book is a part of a series. Can you tell us anything about the upcoming books?

AJP: They are coming, and they will be awesome! This is the kind of book series for which it seems there is an endless source of material. That idea spreadsheet I mentioned? It grows every week. I’m so excited to have two more books on the horizon, and I’m crossing fingers that we’ll get the chance to do many, many more.

LAT: Whereas the first book was about biology and life sciences, the second book will be all about social studies: history, geography, and culture. The third one… I’m going to keep that a secret for the time being.

About the Authors:

Ammi-Joan Paquette is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the Princess Juniper series, Nowhere Girl, Rules for Ghosting, and Two Truths and a Lie, co-written with Laurie Thompson. Her picture books include Bunny Bus, Ghost in the House, and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies. Joan is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award honor, and her books have been recognized with starred reviews and on a variety of “Best of the Year” lists. In her non-writing life, she is a senior literary agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Visit her on the web at www.ajpaquette.com .

A former software engineer, Laurie Ann Thompson writes for young people to help them better understand the world we live in and make it a better place for all. She strives to write nonfiction that encourages imagination and fiction the reflects universal truths, as see in Be a Changemaker, and inspiring how-to guide for teens; Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography of a man who changed perceptions of disability; My Dog is The Best; and the upcoming Two Truths and a Lie series for middle-grade readers (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette). Learn more at lauriethompson.com and on Twitter at @lauriethompson.

Giveaway:

For a chance to win this book, let us know two truths and a lie about yourself in the comments below. (here are mine: Jumped out of a plane. Danced for 24 hours straight. Gotten stranded on a Greek island for two days.) Deadline to enter is Monday, June 12th at 9pm PST. The contest is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

 

5-Jun Librarian’s Quest

7-Jun
Flowering Minds
Pragmatic Mom

11-Jun Geo Librarian

12-Jun Book Monsters

13-Jun Smack Dab in the Middle

14-Jun Bluestocking Thinking

15-Jun
Novel Novice
Library Lions Roar

16-Jun Archimedes Notebook

18-Jun Nerdy Book Club

19-Jun Cracking the Cover

20-Jun
Writers Rumpus
The Hiding Spot

21-Jun Maria’s Melange

23-Jun Unleashing Readers

24-Jun This Kid Reviews Books

February 17, 2017

South Asian Kidlit 2017 – Part 1

Hope everyone is keeping warm this winter. Here in California, we’re just trying to stay dry in one of the wettest winters ever. Not that I’m complaining. It’s better than the string of drought years. I am still working away on my picture books and have started working on a YA historical novel. Speaking of picture books, I would love to see more South Asian titles in that category. 😉

Last summer, I posted some fantastic South Asian children’s and young adult books that released in 2016. Thanks to the We Need Diverse Books movement, #ownvoices, #diversity, and a general interest in the publishing and reading communities there has been an uptick in books that contain diversity as well as by diverse authors. Today I bring you nine titles (1 PB, 4 MG, 4 YA) that are being released in the first-half of 2017. 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 July for Part 2 containing books being released in the 2nd half of 2017.
south-asian-kidlit-2017
bluesky

Title: Blue Sky White Starssarvinder-naberhaus-1200
Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread is sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson

Bio: Sarvinder Naberhaus immigrated from Punjab to the U.S. when she was four years old. Her first book, Boom Boom, was illustrated by Caldecott-honor winning artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine. She also has an upcoming board book, Lines.

Website: www.sarvinder.com
Twitter: @SarvinderN
Facebook: Sarvinder Author

amina

Title: Amina’s Voicehena-khan-low-res
Author: Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: The first year of middle school is tricky for stage-shy Amina, when her best friend Soojin starts talking about changing her name and, even worse, spending time with Emily—a girl that used to make fun of them! Amina’s older brother seems to be getting into a lot of trouble and when her uncle comes to visit from Pakistan, her parents try awfully hard to impress him. But when Amina’s mosque is vandalized, she find her voice, and learns that the things that connect us will always be stronger than the things that try to tear us apart.

Bio: Hena Khan is the author of several award-winning books including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, It’s Ramadan, Curious George, and Night of the Moon. She’s also written choose your own adventure style novels and books on space, spies, and more. Hena was born and raised in Maryland, where she still lives with her family.

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

the-gauntletTitle: The Gauntletkayemavatar
Author: Karuna Riazi
Publisher: S&S/Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Synopsis: A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

Bio: Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker, with a loving, large extended family and the rather trying experience of being the eldest sibling in her particular clan. Besides pursuing a BA in English literature, she is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and publishing intern. Karuna is fond of tea, Korean dramas, writing about tough girls forging their own paths toward their destinies, and baking new delectable treats for friends and family to relish.

Twitter: twitter.com/karunariazi

step-plate

Title: Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singhuma
Author: Uma Krishnaswami
Publisher: Tu Books/Lee & Low
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Historical Fiction

Synopsis: In Yuba City, California, in the spring of 1945, Maria Singh longs to play softball. But even as Maria’s world opens up, her parents—Papi from India and Mamá from Mexico—can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, nine-year-old Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world.

Bio: Uma Krishnaswami is the author of more than twenty books for young readers. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts. Born in New Delhi, India, Uma now lives and writes in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Website: http://umakrishnaswami.org
Blog: https://umakrishnaswami.org/blog-writing-with-a-broken-tusk/

finding-mighty

Title: Finding Mightysheela_chari_author_photo
Author: Sheela Chari
Illustrator: R. Kikuo Johnson
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Mystery

Synopsis: Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla’s necklace and the disappearance of Peter’s brother, Randall.

Bio: Sheela Chari is the author of FINDING MIGHTY (May 2017) and VANISHED, an Edgar Award nominee for best juvenile mystery, an Al Roker book pick on the Today Show, and an APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book. She has an MFA in Fiction from New York University and teaches writing at Mercy College. She lives in New York with her family.

Website: www.sheelachari.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheela.chari
Twitter: @wordsbysheela

soulmated_cover_500

Title: Soulmatedshaila_patel_3x4-5
Author: Shaila Patel
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Category-Genre: Yound Adult – Paranormal Romance

Synopsis: Irish empath Liam Whelan is forced to find his fated soul mate and is drawn to Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia–only she’s not an empath and would derail his father’s plans for when they did find “The One.” Laxshmi struggles with her own parental expectations in the form of ultimatums that leave her neither the option of pursuing dance as a career, nor an interest in her handsome new Irish neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny, or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price?

Bio: Shaila Patel is a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Her award-winning novel Soulmated debuts on 1/24/17. She enjoys traveling, craft beer, tea, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or connecting with other readers online.

Website: www.shailapatelauthor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShailaPatelWriter
Twitter: twitter.com/shaila_writes
Instagram: www.instagram.com/shailapatel94
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/shailapatel94

thatthingwecallheart-hc-e

Title: That Thing We Call a Heartshebakarim-sm
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: As Pakistani-American teen Shabnam falls for Jamie and begins to mend her friendship with her estranged best friend Farah, she learns powerful lessons about love and the true story of happened to her family during the 1947 Partition of India.

Bio: Sheba Karim’s first YA novel was Skunk Girl. Her third, The Road Trip Effect, will be out in 2018. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Nashville, TN.

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

when-dimple-met-rishi-front

Title: When Dimple Met Rishisandhya-menon-with-filter_443x375
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Category-Genre: Yong Adult –  Romantic Comedy

Synopsis: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Bio: Sandhya Menon is the author of the upcoming YA novels WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI (Simon Pulse/May 30, 2017) and THE STORIES WE TOLD (Simon Pulse/Summer 2018). She was born and raised in India on a steady diet of Bollywood movies and street food, and pretty much blames this upbringing for her obsession with happily-ever-afters, bad dance moves, and pani puri. Sandhya currently lives in Colorado, where she’s on a mission to (gently) coerce her husband, son, and daughter to watch all 3,220 Bollywood movies she claims as her favorite.

Twitter: http://bit.ly/sandhyatwitter
Instagram: http://bit.ly/sandhyainsta
Facebook: http://bit.ly/sandhyamenonbooksfb

saints-arc-cover

(not final cover art)

Title: Saints and Misfitssajpic-copy
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: Saints and Misfits follows Janna Yusuf, a geeky, hijabi Arab-Indian-American girl, as she navigates high school and the possibility of first love—even though Muslim girls aren’t supposed to date, right? She’s trying to figure herself out, along with her place in the world, especially if that means revealing a shattering secret that just might send ripples through her tight-knit Muslim community.

Bio: S. K. Ali was born in south India. She lived there until the age of three, at which point she found herself in Montreal, Canada. After a brief stint learning how to read, write and paint, all in French, she made her way to Toronto, where she ended up getting a degree in Creative Writing.

Twitter: @sajidahwrites
Website: skalibooks.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15615126.S_K_Ali

November 2, 2016

Dear Mrs. Naidu

dear-mrs-naiduTitle: Dear Mrs. Naidu
Author: Mathangi Subramanian
Publisher: Zubaan Books, 2015
Pages: 286
Genre: Contemporary, Multicultural
Themes: Activism, Friendship, Economic Diversity
Ages: 10 and up

Synopsis (Zubaan Books website):

Twelve-year-old Sarojini’s best friend, Amir, might not be her best friend anymore. Ever since Amir moved out of the slum and started going to a posh private school, it seems like he and Sarojini have nothing in common. Then Sarojini finds out about the Right to Education, a law that might help her get a free seat at Amir’s school – or, better yet, convince him to come back to a new and improved version of the government school they went to together. As she struggles to keep her best friend, Sarojini gets help from some unexpected characters, including Deepti, a feisty classmate who lives at a construction site; Vimala Madam, a human rights lawyer who might also be an evil genius; and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, a long-dead freedom fighter who becomes Sarojini’s secret pen pal. Told through letters to Mrs. Naidu, this is the story of how Sarojini learns to fight – for her friendship, her family, and her future.

Why I Like This Book:

This book is a window into another world, another lifestyle, one filled with hardship, friendship, and community coming together to improve the education for the lower class students. I love the main character Sarojini, who shows that even a 12-year old, a girl full of heart and courage CAN make a difference.

The story is told in epistolary style. Sarojini is writing letters to a deceased Mrs. Sarojini Naidu as part of a school assignment. Mrs. Sarojini Naidu was an activist and freedom fighter during India’s struggle for independence from the British. As the story unfolds, we see the young Sarojini gain strength. She makes friends with the Deepti the new girl from the construction site, and together they are the heart of the Child Rights Club.  Their fight is to make their government school a better place for kids — by advocating for a playground, clean drinking water and more. But gathering support from the community and the local government is a challenge.

I enjoyed the realistic representation of the neighborhood Aunties and the headmaster of Sarojini’s school. While the Aunties initially dissuade the girls and remind them of the dangers of talking to the press, they eventually come to help the Child Rights Club. The headmaster we learn has lost faith in the government from a previously failed attempt, hence the reason he has become jaded.

While this book was published for the Indian audience, I do think there is an audience for this book in the United States. It’s not just for children of Indian ancestry but for any child that is interested in learning about other cultures and what life is like elsewhere. Adults may need to provide some background information on the following topics – fight for Indian independence, slums, government vs private schools in India, views on Hindu-Muslim relations. Short glossary of common words – roti (thin bread), dosa (South Indian rice paper roll), Amma (mother), Appa (father).

Read the Author’s Note to find out the extent of research the author undertook. Impressive.

I highly recommend this book for any middle-school collection.

Find Dear Mrs. Naidu at the following spots:
Kitaab World | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 9383074981
ISBN-13: 978-9383074983

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