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South Asian Kidlit Newsletter - Winter 2022


A Happy Belated Diwali to those who celebrate! I would like to offer my humblest apologies for the lateness of this edition of the newsletter. The past two months have been trying in dealing with an issue for one of my kids. Things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better. 

There is a global supply chain problem that is currently affecting the publishing industry. The dates listed for the books are current as of this past week. They are subject to change. 

If you would like to see back issues from the last five years, you can find them on my South Asian Kidlit Page.

Wishing you all a peaceful, joyous, and rejuvenating holiday season.

Happy Reading!
Winter 2022 List
Today's list covers books releasing in January thru February of 2022. 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. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

For a list of today’s books, check out my South Asian Kidlit Winter 2022 list at Bookshop.org.
Title: Holi Hai! 
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Darshika Varma
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Publication Date: January 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780807533574
Category-Genre: Picture Book - Holidays
Community Represented: Hindus
Synopsis:
Gauri is excited to splash colors on everyone for Holi. But when she doesn't get her favorite color, Gauri gets mad. Will she find a way to overcome her anger and join in the festivities?
Title: Peacock and Sketch
Author: Allan Peterkin
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
Publisher: Magination Press
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
ISBN: 9781433832796
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Synopsis:
A gorgeous peacock hatches an escape from the zoo in search of fame, only to realize that it's not all that it's cracked up to be, and that instant stardom can be tough and beauty is more than feathers deep.
Title: Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week
Author: Mitali Perkins
Illustrator: Khoa Le
Publisher: WaterBrook
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9780593234877
Category-Genre: Picture Book - Religous
Community Represented: Christian
Synopsis:
Little Wind and the trees of Jerusalem can't wait for Real King to visit. But Little Wind is puzzled when the king doesn't look how he expected. His wise friend Bare Tree helps him learn that sometimes strength is found in sacrifice, and new life can spring up even when all hope seems lost. This story stands apart for its imagination, endearing characters, and how it weaves Old Testament imagery into Holy Week and the promise of Jesus's triumphant return. While the youngest readers will connect to the curious Little Wind, older children and parents will appreciate the layers of meaning and Scriptural references in the story, making it a book families can enjoy together year after year.
Title: Dancing Devi
Author: Priya Parikh
Illustrator: N. Dejeshwini
Publisher: Modern Marigold Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9781735031934
Category-Genre: Picture Book
Community Represented: Indian-American
Synopsis:
Devi knows that she's a good dancer. In fact, she's one of the best Bharatanatyam dancers at her dance school. So she's very upset when she learns she's lost the big dance competition. Her mom is a perfect dancer and Devi needs to be, too. Devi vows to practice her facial expressions and footwork until her dance is flawless, but no matter how much she practices, she keeps making mistakes. Come along with Devi as she learns that failure is an important part of learning and growing.
Title: Omar Rising
Author: Aisha Saeed
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780593108581
Category-Genre: Middle Grade - Contemporary
Synopsis:
Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a game changer, providing him—the son of a servant—with an opportunity to improve his station in life. He can't wait to experience all the school has to offer, especially science club and hopefully the soccer team; but when he arrives, his hopes are dashed. First-year scholarship students aren't allowed to join clubs or teams—and not only that, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. At first Omar is dejected—but then he gets angry when he learns something even worse—the school deliberately "weeds out" kids like him by requiring them to get significantly higher grades than kids who can pay tuition, making it nearly impossible for scholarship students to graduate. It's a good thing that in his favorite class, he’s learned the importance of being stubbornly optimistic. So with the help of his tightknit new group of friends—and with the threat of expulsion looming over him—he sets out to do what seems impossible: change a rigged system.
Title: The View From the Very Best House in Town
Author: Meera Trehan
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
ISBN: 9781536219241
Category-Genre: Middle Grade
Community Represented: Neurodivergence
Synopsis:
Sam and Asha. Asha and Sam. Their friendship is so long established, they take it for granted. Just as Asha takes for granted that Donnybrooke, the mansion that sits on the highest hill in Coreville, is the best house in town. But when Sam is accepted into snobbish Castleton Academy as an autistic “Miracle Boy,” he leaves Asha, who is also autistic, to navigate middle school alone. He also leaves her wondering if she can take anything for granted anymore. Because soon Sam is spending time with Prestyn, Asha’s nemesis, whose family owns Donnybrooke and, since a housewarming party gone wrong, has forbidden Asha to set foot inside. Who is Asha without Sam? And who will she be when it becomes clear that Prestyn’s interest in her friend isn’t so friendly? Told from the points of view of Asha, Sam, and Donnybrooke itself, this suspenseful and highly original debut explores issues of ableism and classism as it delves into the mysteries of what makes a person a friend and a house a home.
Title: Golden Girl
Author: Reem Faruqi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9780063044753
Category-Genre: Middle Grade - Contemporary
Community Represented: Pakistani-American
Synopsis:
Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, reading Weird but True facts, and hanging out with her best friend, Zaina. However, Aafiyah has a bad habit that troubles her—she’s drawn to pretty things and can’t help but occasionally “borrow” them.

But when her father is falsely accused of a crime he hasn’t committed and gets taken in by authorities, Aafiyah knows she needs to do something to help. When she brainstorms a way to bring her father back, she turns to her Weird but True facts and devises the perfect plan.

But what if her plan means giving in to her bad habit, the one she’s been trying to stop? Aafiyah wants to reunite her family but finds that maybe her plan isn’t so perfect after all. . . 
Title: The Ivory Key
Author: Akshaya Raman
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9780358468332
Category-Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy
Synopsis:
Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya may be siblings, but they've never been close or even liked each other that much. Torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken, only one thing can bring them back together: the search for the Ivory Key, a thing of legend that will lead the way to a new source of magic. Magic is Ashoka's biggest export and the only thing standing between them and war with the neighboring kingdoms—as long as their enemies don't find out that the magic mines are nearly depleted.
The siblings all have something to gain from finding the Ivory Key, and even more to lose if they don't. For Vira, the Ivory Key is the only way to live up to the legacy of her mother, the beloved former maharani. Ronak plans to get out of his impending political marriage by selling the Ivory Key to the highest bidder. Kaleb has been falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, and this is the only way to clear his name. And Riya needs to prove her loyalty to the Ravens, the group of rebels that wants to take control away from the maharani and give it to the people. With each sibling harboring secrets and conflicting agendas, figuring out a way to work together may be the most difficult task of all. And in a quest this dangerous, working together is the only way to survive.
Title: Salaam, with Love
Author: Sara Sharaf Beg
Publisher: Underlined
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9780593482629
Category-Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Community Represented: Pakistani-American
Synopsis:
Being crammed into a house in Queens with her cousins is not how Dua envisions her trip to New York City. But here she is, spending the holy month of Ramadan with extended family she hasn’t seen in years.
Dua struggles to find her place in the conservative household and to connect with her aloof, engaged-to-be-married cousin, Mahnoor. And as if fasting the whole day wasn’t tiring enough, she must battle her hormones whenever she sees Hassan, the cute drummer in a Muslim band who has a habit of showing up at her most awkward moments.
After just a month, Dua is surprised to find that she’s learning a lot more than she bargained for about her faith, relationships, her place in the world—and cute drummers. . . .
Title: Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions
Author: Navdeep Singh Dhillon
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
ISBN: 9780593109977
Category-Genre: Young Adult - Romantic Comedy
Community Represented: Indian-American, Sikh
Synopsis:
Sunny G's brother left him one thing when he died: His notebook, which Sunny is determined to fill up with a series of rash decisions. Decision number one was a big one: He stopped wearing his turban, cut off his hair, and shaved his beard. He doesn't look like a Sikh anymore. He doesn't look like himself anymore. Even his cosplay doesn't look right without his beard.
Sunny debuts his new look at prom, which he's stuck going to alone. He's skipping the big fandom party—the one where he'd normally be in full cosplay, up on stage playing bass with his band and his best friend, Ngozi—in favor of the Very Important Prom Experience. An experience that's starting to look like a bust.
Enter Mindii Vang, a girl with a penchant for making rash decisions of her own, starting with stealing Sunny's notebook. When Sunny chases after her, prom turns into an all-night adventure—a night full of rash, wonderful, romantic, stupid, life-changing decisions.
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