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A girl called Genghis Khan

2019

by Michelle Lord and Shehzil Malik

"Meet Maria Toorpakai Wazir, a Pakistani girl who loved sports and longed for the freedom that boys in her culture enjoyed. She joined a squash club to pursue her dream, and was taunted, teased, and beaten—but still continued playing. Then, when Maria received an award from the President of Pakistan for outstanding achievement, the Taliban threatened her squash club, her family, and her life. Although forced to quit the team, she refused to give up. Maria kept practicing the game in her bedroom every day for three years! Her hard work and perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles will inspire all children." -- publisher

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Brave with beauty

2019

by Maxine Rose Schur

This is the extraordinary story of Queen Goharshad, a 15th-century monarch, who many historians now believe was the one of the most powerful women in world history. Ruling from the Timurid artistic and cultural center of Herat in western Afghanistan, Queen Goharshad ushered in a remarkable period when poetry, music, calligraphy, painting, and the sciences flourished as never before. A poet and an architect, she designed some of the most beautiful structures ever built on earth. --publisher

Biography

India (On the Way to School)

2019

by Anna Obiols and Subi

India is waking up to a beautiful day. Ramjed and his favorite monkey, Gigi, are on their way to school. What wonders will they see along the way? Readers of this charming book will follow Ramjed and his furry friend on their morning adventure. They'll travel through a bustling marketplace, pass by a Hindu temple, and even meet an elephant. They'll also learn about food, music, games, religion, clothing, etiquette, and daily life in the beautiful country of India. Stunning illustrations will pull even reluctant readers into this endearing story. This adorable book will entertain readers while introducing them to the vibrant culture of India.

Beautiful Life

Malala Yousafzai

2019

by Karen Leggett Abouraya and Susan L. Roth

Growing up in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai loved books and school. But in 2009, the Taliban came to power and closed all schools for girls. Malala, just eleven years old, began to speak and blog about the right of all children to receive an education. Soon fighting broke out and Malala's family fled the Swat Valley. After the fighting ceased, they returned home, and Malala continued to speak out. That's when she was shot by a Taliban gunman, but her life-threatening injury only strengthened Malala's resolve. In 2013, just nine months after being attacked, Malala addressed the United Nations about the right of every child to receive an education, and in 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At age seventeen, she was the youngest person ever to receive this honor. This book is more than a biography of a brave, outspoken girl who continues to fight for the millions of children worldwide who are not able to go to school. It is also a testament to the power of education to change the world for girls and boys everywhere.

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Title also available in Spanish in Bates catalog

BOOK DISCUSSION:

In our ongoing efforts to inform your thinking about multicultural picture books and book selection, the Diverse BookFinder now provides author/illustrator interviews on select book pages. We hope this is helpful for our users!

Author/Illustrator Bio.:

Meenal Patel is an illustrator, designer and children’s book author. She loves to draw moments of childhood wonder, strong women, and textures in nature. Making art is her happy place. It’s the moment when she can look inward, find joy and then push that joy outward in the form of making something. She hopes that joy reaches someone else. She is the author and illustrator of Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala and Neela Goes to San Francisco. Visit www.meenalpatelstudio.com to learn more about her work.

How would you describe this book’s contribution to the multicultural picture book world?

This book offers a glimpse into a child's and adult's experience in a multi-cultural and multi-generational home. It's also about having pride in all the different pieces of your identity and the power of sharing all those pieces with others.

What do you see as the mission of this book? Is it meeting its mission?

My hope is that this book helps kids see themselves as heroes and that they have the power to make a difference in someone else's life through their actions and empathy. Kids need those opportunities to see themselves as heroes, to celebrate what makes them unique, and to feel connected to other people. I also hope that it gives kids with a similar lived experience an opportunity to have their experience acknowledged and celebrated. And of course, on the flip side, it's for kids who do not have these experiences so that they can gain some understanding.

Has this book (either through its creation or through its reading) changed how you see things? If so, how?

Making this book was an emotional process because I'm deeply connected to elements in the story. My family is from India but I was born and raised in the United States. I went to India with my parents a few years ago for the first time as an adult. I had always wanted to see the country where my family is from with my parents. India is a full-sensory place and I was so inspired by the people, colors, patterns, food, and sounds. I was also struck by how so much felt familiar to things in my life growing up, and at the same time, so many things felt foreign. After that trip, I knew I wanted to make a picture book with India as a part of it.

I stewed on what the story would be for about a year and a half on and off. Initially, I thought it would be something related to all the amazing sensory moments that make up that extraordinary place. I started coming up with ideas for the storyline and writing but nothing felt right. Ultimately, I scrapped everything and started over. I took some time to journal about that trip to India and what it meant to me. I wrote about all the things that felt familiar from my childhood. I had to dig really deep to find this story. But then as I wrote it, pieces of it fell out of me and felt really honest. It came from a really honest place and hopefully that means people will connect to it on an emotional level. This story became something really different from what I had set out to make and I think that’s for the best.

It's been nice to see kids connecting to the idea of using their keen observations skills to understand what someone else might be feeling and to try to do something nice for that person. I've been really surprised at the emotional response that I've gotten from adults, which makes me think that maybe the intense emotion I felt while making this book is coming through to them. There have been a number of adults who have told me the book made them tear up or cry because it struck a chord in their own experience, how they wish they had a book like this when they were growing up, how they are so happy that their child will grow up with a book like this. It has been really lovely to see kids and adults connect to the story in different ways.

What should people know before reading this book? Or what might readers be curious about after reading this book?

I think it's great to approach any book with curiosity. The opening and closing of this book are unconventional for a children's book but I think it works if the reader approaches it with openness.

Readers may wonder about the meaning of marigolds in the story. I included back matter that talks about marigolds and other elements in the story. Marigolds carry different meanings for cultures all around the world. The use of garlands and meanings of specific flowers vary throughout India and are used in ceremonies by different religions. In Gujarat and other regions, some people hang fresh marigold and mango leaf garlands at the entrance of homes, shops, and even on trucks for festive occasions. They are a symbol of honor and luck. Beyond that, the smell keeps bugs away!

A tangle of Brungles

2018

by Shobha Viswanath and Culpeo S. Fox

A coven of witches stirs up a spell using a quiver of cobras, a lounge of lizards, a mess of iguanas, and other animal ingredients. From publisher: "One of the things we wanted to do with A Tangle of Brungles was to portray witches in the manner they are represented in Indian folklore – the ‘dayan’ (or daayan) has feet that face the other way, for example. We also consciously avoided showing them sporting tall pointy hats or broomsticks. The head witch wears a forehead ornament that is commonly worn in India during special occasions. There are other subtle things – for example, cooking in a large pot out in the open is a practice often followed during Indian festivals that are of a celebratory nature, e.g. Pongal, the harvest festival. As for Brungle, we wanted to portray him as a handsome, dapper character whose casually slung scarf and dark sunglasses are reminiscent of Indian movie stars in posters."

Folklore

Many of the cover images on this site are from Google Books.
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