itemscope="" itemtype="" > Multicultural Summer Reads - Children' Book Review, Multicultural, Diverse, Inclusive Books, Hot Off The Press!

Multicultural Summer Reads

Summer is the perfect time to encourage our young readers to engage in books and reading. Some of the upcoming multicultural summer reads and newly released books help readers understand each other’s differences, origins, cultures thus bridging the gap between the people. We hope you all enjoy these multicultural reads just as we did.
100 chapatis
100 Chapatis, by Derek Mascarenhas,  Illustrated by Shantala Robinson
100 Chapatis, is a tender loving story where a grandpa, together with his grandson makes a one hundred chapatis, as they wait patiently for the arrival of a newborn baby at their home.

 Simon is impatient, he can’t wait until the newborn baby arrives. Simon’s grandpa, Pappa recalls making chapatis, as they waited on the day Simon was born. As Pappa and Simon continue the tradition, they follow the process step by step making thin flat rotis with wheat flour, called ‘Chapatis’. Neatly kneading the dough, then precisely rolling the chapatis, it sure takes a lot of tries until Simon gets the perfect rounded shape of a chapati.

The author ingeniously teaches the significance of patience as Simon waits for the arrival of the baby. Readers will know the value of persistence and self regulation as Simon makes several attempts, especially while learning a new skill, making a chapati. Young readers get a sneak peek into the making of this popular food item that is a staple in many Indian and South Asian households.

The book 100 Chapatis is a multicultural summer read which will surely relate with the young readers in several ways as they bond with a grandparent or wait for the arrival of a newborn, or even when they learn a new skill. We are sure this wonderful book will be an instant favorite among the readers.

A Dupatta is
A Dupatta Is…  , by Marzieh Abbas, Illustrated by Amu Chouhan
An impeccable portrayal of a piece of fabric, or a window into the south Asian culture, the book, A Dupatta Is…, is certainly an exceptionally delightful ode filled with vibrant illustrations.

Author Marzieh Abbas very adeptly uses a multisensory approach to decipher the exact meaning of a Dupatta, when she says, ‘A Dupatta is sound……. A Dupatta is scent.

The perfect use of figurative narration engages the youngest readers to get the exact glimpse of a Dupatta. The book is filled with eloquent details about the dupatta like matching Nani’s shalwar kameez, or relating to aromas of the cinnamon cardamom chai , and the one that blend in a henna stained hands of a beautiful bride. The precise portrayal of Dupatta piques readers interest to keep turning the pages to keep knowing more about the dupatta.

 In its true essence the book, A Dupatta Is…., genuinely engrosses the readers as it depicts the features of South Asian culture, specially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

A multicultural, multisensory book that garners the fun and functionality of a Dupatta, the book, A Dupatta Is, definitely is a must have in the library and on the bookshelf.

The Promise
by Bridget Hodder and Fawzia Gilani Williams, Illustrated by Cinzia Battistel
The Promise is story of two friends, set during the time when there was a peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Muslims in Morocco.

The story revolves around Hassan a Muslim boy and Jacob his Jewish friend in Al-Azan in Morocco.
Hassan and Jacob were best friends. They enjoyed playing together in Jacob’s family garden after school and petting each other’s pets.
They would visit each other’s home and would relish the delicious snacks and food prepared by their mothers.
Jacob’s garden was a favorite hanging spot, where even their families would enjoy refreshments in the evening. As their friendship grew day by day, Hassan and Jacob both vowed to keep the promise of taking care of the garden.
However, due to the growing violence against Jews in Europe, circumstances forced Jacob and his family to leave Morocco.
But the tender friendship that had grown over the years still nurtured in their hearts.
The Promise is a heartwarming story of the emotional ties between the two friends. A friendship that knows no boundaries, no religion or that is undeterred by any hate or war.
This book gives an account of the peaceful ties that once existed in the past between the two friends which led to the harmonious existence of both.

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Mehndi Boy, by Zain Bandali, illustrated by Jani Balakumar
Mehndi Boy is a wonderful story of a curious, creative and a sensitive young boy Tehzeeb, growing up in an Indo-Tanzanian culture, who loves to draw designs in his sketchbook.

Tehzeeb is introduced to the art of mehndi when at his favorite uncle Ayaz’s house, during his cousin Rahima’s wedding.
Intrigued by the mehndi he practices the art, learns from his mistakes, and gets better at it day by day. Before long he shares his beautiful art with his family and friends and continues doing it, despite the unpleasant comments by some kids. As he stays committed to his art, he dreams of becoming the best mehndi artist one day.
However, when his uncle Ayaz declares that mehndi is for girls and that boys do not do mehndi, his uncle’s words hit him hard. Heartbroken, Tehzeeb is overwhelmed with self-doubt and denial when pursuing his favorite art. Until, one day circumstances compel Tehzeeb to put his passion to test, when he saves the day during his cousin’s wedding.
Mehndi Boy is an enjoyable read, and we loved how the main character Tehzeeb, is motivated to pursue his passion by working towards it. The author Zain Bandali has adeptly portrayed Tehzeeb, as a thoughtful young boy who derives immense happiness by sharing his art with others.
The book teaches its readers to learn new things and that making mistakes is a part of a learning process. It is noteworthy to see how Tehzeeb looks for inspiration, & ideas around him like the patterns on a bridal dress and uses his creativity to transform mistakes into meaningful art. The book also highlights the role of adults, and the deep impact they can create on young minds. Most importantly, the book urges its readers to see beyond the stereotypical gender roles and practice openness to new ideas and thoughts.

Vee in between
Vee in Between, by Valerie Kaiyang Wood, Illustrated by Angela Poon
Vee in Between is a book about trans-racial adoption of a Chinese girl by white parents.

The book introduces Vee’s unique experience, and feelings of not belonging or struggling with cultural identity. Vee is an adoptee and her non biological parents are very loving. However, they cannot relate to Vee’s experiences as a person of Chinese heritage. Her parents share the story of her adoption, but Vee is grappled with questions of her identity, birth parents and cultural connection. One day, Vee confides in her Chinese dance teacher, who is apparently an adoptee herself. Vee expresses her emotions and concerns as she navigates her complex cultural landscape. It is then Vee realizes her biological heritage which helps her bridge the cultural gap with her parents. Vee finds herself in between, amid the two cultures. She welcomes the best of both cultures and praises her unique cultural identity.

The book Vee in Between provides a valuable insight into the challenges that arise in trans racial adoption. The book teaches how conversations with sensitivity and understanding can help the adoptee embrace the new culture while still maintaining the ties with their biological culture.

We thank NetGalley and Edelweiss for Digital Review copies of the books, in exchange of our honest review.

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