Explore South Asia with eight breathtaking children's books
Published on: 14 August 2022
Donna and Vikesh Amey Bhatt have written a fascinating, engaging history of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Britain: Lands of Belonging, beautifully illustrated by Salini Perara. Here, they recommend eight inspiring books set in South Asia, or featuring South Asian characters.
Donna and Vikesh Amey Bhatt and the cover of Lands of Belonging
Looking to be transported off to a faraway land, or to just wanting to swot up on your Hindu gods? These children's books all have South Asia to thank for their unique storytelling.
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
The food, the outfits, the parties! For those who don’t celebrate Eid, it’s something that the more you know about, the more you’d love to be involved. We love this collection of short stories and can never hear enough about the celebration.
Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira
Unfortunately, neither of us can claim to be South Asian super girls, so our ambition to be featured in such a brilliant book is looking unlikely, but this is a very underrated title. It’s full of people you either already love, forgot you loved, or just discovered that you can’t get enough of.
Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman and Divya Srinivasan
A princess with pearly eyes is given talking lessons by a big tiger. There isn’t much not to like about this surreal fable.
Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan and Saffa Khan
Inspired by prose in the Quran, this picture book leaves us very shiny-eyed whenever we read it. It is beautifully and boldly illustrated, with each page reading a parent’s wish for their child using the word ‘Inshallah’, meaning ‘If Allah wills it’. We love when our son asks to read this one together.
Rapunzel by Chloe Perkins and Archana Sreenivasan
A lovely and simple board book for young children that retells the classic story in a way that makes you think, ‘Wasn’t Rapunzel always Indian?’
The Girl who Lost a Leopard by Nizrana Fazook
We love this adventure story set in Sri Lanka (one of our all-time favourite places, but that’s for another time). Nizrana has such a talent for truly gripping storytelling, and we can’t wait to read more.
The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel
You would be forgiven for not knowing all the Hindu gods, there are quite a few! For anyone wanting to know more, this is a brilliant place to start. Sanjay Patel is an Academy Award nominated animator, and his illustrations and annotations give you all the information you need to know, while making you laugh too!
Ranas of Mewar by Amar Chitra Katha
This is the story of an ancient dynasty that would essentially take you about twenty Wikipedia searches to fully understand. This is a brilliant graphic novel that will save your workload.
Got a South Asian story to recommend? Let us know on Twitter!