Now I make this list fully recognizing that Holi is not a holiday that all South Asians or South Asian diasporic people celebrate, so I make this list with a secular heart - to celebrate Spring, great literature, and a community of writers I have been so honored to meet and read.
I'm listing here only MG and YA novels - there are many, many wonderful picture books out there of course - and I hope readers will list some in the comments! Even among MG and YA, I'm sure I'll forget someone (or many someone's) so please, please, add to the list!
Happy Holi, and Happy Reading!
1. Mitali Perkins: Bamboo People
I had the honor of interviewing Mitali Perkins for Stories are Good Medicine last year. Bamboo People, a story of two boy soldiers in Burma, has received many awards including being chosen as an ALA/YALSA Top 10 2011 Novel for Young Adults. Mitali is the author of several other MG and YA novels including Monsoon Summer, Secret Keeper, and Rikshaw Girl.
2. Neesha Meminger: Shine, Coconut Moon
It was an honor to celebrate Neesha Meminger's work on this blog. Shine, Coconut Moon, a story about growing up Sikh in post 9-11 America, made the Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children List, and was followed by the more recent Jazz in Love.
3. Marina Budhos: Tell Us We're Home
The story of three teen girls who are the daughters of maids, nannies and housekeepers in a suburban American town, the novel illuminates issues of race, class, immigration, and sexual awakening. Marina is also the author of several other books including the nonfiction Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science ( co-written with her husband, Marc Aronson), which was shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize in the YA category. (Marina's interview on this blog here)
4. Sheba Karim: Skunk Girl
Her interview on Stories are Good Medicine here.
5. Sarwat Chadda: Dark Goddess
The follow up to his novel Devil's Kiss (which I talked about on this blog here), Dark Goddess continues the story of Billi San Greal, half-Pakistani, demon-butt-kicking, modern teen girl Knight Templar. Yowza. Need I say more?
6. Rakesh Satyal: Blue Boy
The first novel for this editor at Harper Collins, who is also on the planning committee for the PEN World Voices Festival, Blue Boy tells the story of Kiran Sharma, a son of immigrants growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio who is having trouble getting the knack of social acceptance either among his classmates or his Indian America friends. That is, until he realizes that perhaps he's a god... This much lauded book is on my "next to be read" pile beside my bed and I can't wait to start it!
What South Asian diasporic kidlit novel/novelist did I forget? Is your favorite here?