Books on India – ES

Picture Books

A Gift for Gita. By Rachna Gilmore. Illus. by Alice Priestley. 2002. Tilbury, paper, $7.95 (9780884482390). Grade 2-3

After Gita’s family immigrates to the U.S., Gita’s father receives a job offer back in India. Gilmore’s simple words and Priestley’s softly colored pencil art show each family member’s response to the news and the underlying pull between countries, all portrayed from a child’s viewpoint. *

Chachaji’s Cup. By Uma Krishnaswami. Illus. by Soumya Sitaraman. 2003. Children’s Book Press, $16.95 (9780892391783). K-Grade. 3

In his comfortable home in the U.S., an Indian boy, Neel, listens to his great-uncle tells stories about Hindu deities and his family’s flight from their home in 1947, after India and Pakistan divided. The richly colored paintings evoke the joy and melancholy of the family story. *

Mama’s Saris. By Pooja Makhijani. Illus. by Elena Gomez. 2007. Little, Brown Young Readers, $ 16.99 (9780316011051). K-Grade 3

An East Indian American daughter pleads with her mother to be allowed to wear one of her mother’s colorful saris in honor of her seventh birthday. **

Monsoon. By Uma Krishnaswami. Illus. by Jamel Akib. 2003. Farrar, $16 (9780374350154). PreS-Grade. 2

In a parched Indian city, a girl and her family wait for the end-of-summer rains. The girl’s poetic language captures both her longing and her relief when the monsoon finally arrives, all depicted in Akib’s sun-baked art. A final note provides details about the nature, geography, and dangers of monsoon rains. *

My Dadima Wears a Sari. By Kashmira Sheth. Illus. by Yoshiko Jaeggi. 2007. Peachtree, $16.95 (9781561453924). PreS-Grade. 2

As Rupa and her sister admire their grandmother’s sari collection, they listen to the special history behind each piece of cloth. Jaeggi’s delicate watercolors extend the story’s intergenerational tenderness in scenes of the loving family unfurling the luxurious lengths of fabric together. *

My Mother’s Sari. By Sandhya Rao. Illus. by Nina Sabnani. 2006. North-South Books, $14.95
(978-0735821019). K-Grade.3

A young girl describes all the things she does with her mother’s sari. Includes simple instructions on how to wear a sari. **

Excuse Me, Is This India? By Anushka Ravishankar. Illus. by Anita Leutwiler. 2004.Tara Books, $14.95

(978-8186211564). K-Grade. 3

A young girl has an amazing dream about the sights and sounds of India After Her aunt Anna returns from a trip there, bringing her a special quilt. **

Selvakumar Knew Better. By Virginia Kroll. Illus. by Xiaojun Li. 2006. Shens, $17.95 (9781885008299). K-Grade. 3
Based on a true account of a family dog that saved a child in southern India during the 2004 tsunami, this picture book brings the disaster close through an amazing rescue story. The words and realistic illustrations are neither sentimental nor sensational, and a lengthy author’s note provides more information about the region’s tragedy. *

*Annotations taken from: “Read-Alike: Kashmira Sheth’s Monsoon Afternoon”.
By Gillian Engberg, in Booklist, October 15, 2008


Chapter Books 

Blue Jasmine. By Kashmira Sheth. 2004. Hyperion Book CH, $15.99 (9780786818556). Grade. 5-8

When twelve-year-old Seema moves to Iowa City with her parents and younger sister, she leaves friends and family behind in her nativeIndia but gradually begins to feel at home in her new country.

Climbing the Stairs. By Padma Venkatraman.2008. Putnams Juvenile, $16.99 (9780399247460 ). Grade.5-8

In India, in 1941, when her father becomes brain-damaged in a non-violent Protest march, fifteen-year-old Vidya and her family are forced to move in with her father’s extended family and become accustomed to a totally different way of life.

The Conch Bearer. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 2003. Roaring Brook Press, $16.95 (9780761319351). Grade.5-8

Twelve-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell that possesses mystical powers and sets out on a journey to return the shell to its rightful home many hundreds of miles away.

Homeless Bird. By Gloria Whelan. 2000. HarperCollins, $15.95 (9780060284541). Grade.5-8

Thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage and must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s customs or find the courage to oppose tradition.

Keeping Corner. By Kashmira Sheth. 2007. Hyperion Books, $15.99 (9780786838592).Young Adult

In India in the 1940s, thirteen-year-old Leela’s happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Gandhi’s social and political reforms.

Looking for Bapu. By Anjali Banerjee. 2006. Wendy Lamb Books, $15.95 (9780385746571). Grade.3-6

When his beloved grandfather dies, eight-year-old Anu feels that his spirit is near and will stop at nothing to bring him back, including trying to become a Hindu holy man.

Tusk and Stone. By Malcolm J. Bosse. 1991. Front Street. Boyds Mills Press, $15.95 (9781886910010). Grade.5-8

After dacoits attack his caravan and he loses his identity as a Brahmin, Arjun resigns himself to his new life, becomes an elephant driver, and searches for his kidnapped sister.

Younguncle Comes to Town. By Vandana Singh. 2006. Viking Juvenile, $16.99 (9780670060511). Grade.3-6

In a small town in northern India, three siblings await their father’s youngest brother, Younguncle, who is said to be somewhat eccentric.