South Asian Kidlit Newsletter - Winter 2023

Hi Everyone,
Welcome to all the new subscribers! Happy to have you here. I hope you all had a good autumn season.
I can't believe it is already November. I recently did my first set of in-person school visits. They were such a joy. If you are interested in having me visit your school, here are my offerings

I I am so excited to share the cover of my next book I'M AN AMERICAN. If you would like to learn about the journey, read my blog post at the Nerdy Book Club.

The winter list is always the shortest list of the year, but this time it is shorter than usual. Not to worry there are many books coming out later this year.  

If you would like to see back issues, you can find them on my South Asian Kidlit Page.

Happy Reading!
And don't forget to VOTE!

P.S. Feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues. Non-Members you can sign-up for the South Asian Kidlit Newsletter here:
Author Spotlight
Mitali Banerjee Ruths was born in New York, grew up in Texas, and now lives in Canada with her partner, three kids, and their dog Tux. Mitali is the author of the Scholastic chapter book series, THE PARTY DIARIES illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel and the picture book ARCHIE CELEBRATES DIWALI illustrated by Parwinder Singh.
Q: What aspects of childhood do you like to capture in your writing?

What I try to capture mostly, I think, are feelings. I had BIG feelings as a kid. I kept a diary. I can’t remember how that started, but I’ve always been into diaries. 

I had so many diary phases – the diary with a tiny lock and key, the diary with a furry cover, the diary with handmade paper and gold deckle edges.  

I wrote about all the things I cared about and thought about—school, friends, books, jokes, TV shows, random fun facts, ideas, and song lyrics. I answered quizzes from magazines. I made lists. I made collages out of origami paper and pages from National Geographic

My diary was a way to workshop my feelings and be weird and creative and expressive. It was a way to process and think about what was going on around me. I think my writing tries to capture that feeling of a diary—written by a nerdy desi kid from Texas. 
Q: What experience or observation of the world compelled you to write AWESOME ORANGE BIRTHDAY?

I have three kids, and I actually read a lot of Scholastic Branches books with them, so I knew about the books and the format. They’re so great for early readers! I felt inspired. I came up with an idea for a main character, Priya Chakraborty, who happens to be Bengali American like me, and she wants to start a business to plan parties and help endangered animals. I think my subconscious drew from memories, feelings, and interests I had growing up. 

THE PARTY DIARIES are about a desire to DO something meaningful – to take action, make thoughtful choices, protect wildlife, raise awareness, and inspire our local communities. And seriously, I’m inspired by Priya and her friends.

They were all brought to life, by the way, with the incredible talent of Aaliya Jaleel. She is a dream illustrator for these books. I can’t wait for y’all to see Aaliya’s amazing illustrations in AWESOME ORANGE BIRTHDAY. They are so, so good!
You can find out more about Mitali on her website and Instagram account.
Happy #1 Book Birthday Review!
My Thoughts
This book is a warm, calming, soothing delight with it's exquisite illustrations and gentle rhyme. Peek into one South Indian family's goodnight routine in this intergenerational household.

2022 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

NCTE #WOWDozen Poetry Book

2021 Betsy Bird's 31 Days, 31 Lists Rhyming Picture Books
Winter 2023 List
Today's list covers books releasing in January thru February of 2023. The books listed below are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author or illustrator, contains a South Asian main character, or involve South Asian culture. 

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Winter 2023 list at 
Affiliate disclosure: If you order a book from Bookshop using links in this newsletter, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Picture Books
Title: Milloo's Mind: The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women's Education
Author: Reem Faruqi
Illustrator: Hoda Hadadi 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
ISBN: 9780063056619
Category-Genre: Picture Book - Non-Fiction
Community Represented: Pakistani
Maryam was a trailblazer for women’s education and the author is her granddaughter, creating a personal, inspiring tale. Perfect for fans of Malala’s Magic Pencil and She Persisted!
Milloo lives in a time when school is considered unnecessary for girls. But to Milloo, education is essential. When Milloo reads, her thoughts dance. Milloo courageously dreams of becoming a teacher, but in fifth grade her parents tell her she has had enough school. Milloo is heartbroken but finds a way to achieve her educational goals, graduating high school and college with honors. When she’s married, Milloo’s husband tells her to stay home, but she does not let that stop her. She decides to open a school in her house and later opens more schools around Karachi, Pakistan, fulfilling her dreams.
Title: Moon's Ramadan
Author/ Illustrator: Natasha Khan Kazi
Publisher: Clarion Books/Versify
Publication Date: February 28, 2023
ISBN: 9780358694090
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Muslim
A lyrical and delightfully illustrated modern classic about Ramadan, one of the world’s most widely celebrated holidays. Cleverly blending glimpses of different countries’ celebrations with the corresponding phases of the moon, Moon’s Ramadan makes Ramadan accessible and exciting for all readers.
Additional Picture Books
January Releases
Title: The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name 
Author: Sandhya Parappukkaran
Illustrator: Michelle Pereira
ISBN: 9781419761584
Comm Rep: South Indian-Australian
Title: Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship
Author: Ibtihaj Muhammad & S.K. Ali
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
ISBN: 9780759555709
Comm Rep: Muslim-American
Early Reader & Early Chapter Books
Title: Awesome Orange Birthday (Party Diaries #1)
Author: Mitali Banerjee Ruths
Illustrator: Aaliya Jaleel 
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: January 3, 2023
ISBN: 9781338799613
Category-Genre: Early Chapter Books
Community Represented: Indian-American
Priya is excited to plan her aunty’s birthday party. She will donate the money she makes to help the cutest endangered animal on the planet, the quokka! But the party is this Saturday! With so many items on her to-do list, can she get it all done in time? Priya sends out handmade invitations, makes DIY decorations, and sets an orange-only snacks menu -- including pumpkin samosas! Will Priya’s very first party be a success?
Additional Early Reader & Early Chapter Books
February Releases
Title: Pancake Superhero
Author: Megan Wagner Lloyd
Illustrator: Abhi Alwar 
ISBN: 9780593378441
Middle Grade Books
Title: Bunny Bonanza (Must Love Pets #3)
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
ISBN: 9781338783483
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade
Community Represented: Pakistani-American
Imaan and her friends London and Olivia really think they're getting the hang of this whole pet-sitting business thing. So when a client needs the girls to watch an adorable rabbit named Doc, they jump at the chance. Watching a rabbit hop around seems easy compared to what they've done for their last few clients. But this isn't any rabbit-- Doc is in training to be a trick rabbit-- one that can run obstacles and perform for an audience. London has the bright idea that Doc can be entertainment at an upcoming neighborhood street party. It will be good practice for Doc-- and great advertising for Must Love Pets! What could go wrong?
Young Adult Books
Title: A Million to One
Author:  Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 13, 2022 (Yes, I know it's a 2022 book, but I missed it for the previous list and it's pitched as "Titanic gets and Ocean's 8 makeover" !
ISBN: 9780062916327
Category-Genre: Young Adult- Historical Fiction - Heist
Josefa is an unapologetic and charismatic thief, who loves the thrill of the chase. She has her eye on her biggest mark yet—the RMS Titanic, the most luxurious ship in the world. But she isn’t interested in stealing from wealthy first-class passengers onboard. No, she’s out for the ultimate prize: the Rubiyat, a one of a kind book encrusted with gems that’s worth millions. Josefa can’t score it alone, so she enlists a team of girls with unique talents: Hinnah, a daring acrobat and contortionist; Violet, an actress and expert dissembler; and Emilie, an artist who can replicate any drawing by hand. They couldn’t be more different and yet they have one very important thing in common: their lives depend on breaking into the vault and capturing the Rubiyat. But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes. While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer…
Title: The Love Match
Author: Priyanka Taslim
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: January 3, 2023
ISBN: 9781665901109
Category-Genre: Young Adult - Rom-com
Community Represented: Bangladeshi-American
Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.
Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.
But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.
Copyright © 2022 Darshana Khiani Author, All rights reserved.

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