Celebrating all Backgrounds through Picture Books – Cardinal Rule Press
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Celebrating all Backgrounds through Picture Books

One of the amazing things about stories is that it provides readers the opportunity to identify aspects of themselves within the characters, or learn about characters that live a completely different life than they do. Today’s blog post focuses on picture books with Indian-American characters. Keep reading to see our suggestions! 

American Desi by Jyothi Rajan Gopal, illustrated by Supriya Kelkar 

This story is about a young girl who is grappling with her identity: Is she American, or is she Indian? Can she be both at the same time? Read this book for an uplifting story that celebrates the bridging of two cultures together! 

Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps by Srividhya Venkat, illustrated by Kavita Ramchandran 

Each week when Varun goes to his karate lessons, his grandfather takes his sister Varsha to dance class. One day, Varun finds himself bored while waiting for Varsha to finish her lesson, so he looks into the dance classroom. He is mesmerized by bharatanatyam, the dance from India that his sister is training in. Varun practices some of the moves behind closed doors because he is confident that boys aren’t supposed to dance, but his grandfather is not so sure. Will Thatha convince his grandson, Varun, to dance in his footsteps? 

Holi Hai! by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Darshika Varma 

The festival of Holi is a day full of forgiveness and a rebirth with the start of spring. Holi is also known as the “festival of colors” as there is lots of singing, dancing, and throwing colored water and powder paint! Gauri is excited to splash colors on everyone to celebrate, until she doesn’t get her favorite color. How will she overcome her anger and celebrate Holi?

Bravo Anjali! by Sheetal Sheth, illustrated by Lucia Soto

Anjali is a gifted tabla player—playing the drum feels natural to her. One of the boys in her class gets jealous because Anjali is better than him, which makes her purposely mess up. Anjali realizes that the better she becomes, the meaner some of her peers treat her. This story is a great reminder to not let others discredit your work ethic and talents.

Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi, illustrated by Juana Martinez-NealNeela loves cooking with her mother amma  because it makes her feel closer to her grandmother paati who lives in India. Neela makes sure to learn about all the different types of tomatoes before she makes her grandmother’s famous tomato sauce. This story is a great example of celebrating culture through food!

Sara is pursuing a degree in Communication and Media at the University of Michigan, where she is also a member of the Michigan Dance Team. Reading has truly shaped her into the person she is today, which is why she is thrilled to be working with Cardinal Rule Press! In her free time, Sara loves spending time with her family and friends, cooking new meals, and reading.

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