5 Children's Books that are inspired by South Asian Women

By Sailaja Joshi

As a South Asian Mom, I'm always looking for new, inspirational books to share with my daughter and son that reflect our Indian heritage. This month, we're celebrating women's history month and I wanted to create a round-up of books that share the unique stories of South Asian women throughout history. My goal as a mom, it to expose my little ones to share the stories of as many inspirational characters as possible. That way, they know that the sky is the only limit when it comes to achieving their goals. 

These books span a range of ages and represent many of the different countries within South Asia. We'd love to hear from you about some of your favorite South Asian historical figures.  Who knows, maybe it'll become our next book! 

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Children's Books Inspired by South Asian Women from History

Sita's Ramayan (age, 10+): While there are many (many!) retelling of the epic Hindu poem Ramayana, we love this particular story because it's unique vantage point. Told from the perspective of Sita, this young adult book does a phenomenal job of helping to show the power of Sita. Looking for more stories inspired by the Ramayan? Check out these.

Sarla in the Sky (age 6+) We would be remiss if we didn't include our first early reader in this mix. Sarla in the Sky shares the story of Sarla Thakral, India's first female pilot. The team at Bharat Babies was first inspired by Sarla's story when we read about her in Better India. Inspired, there was nothing that could stop our author Anjali Joshi from sharing this story of an amazing South Asian woman! Read more about Sarla Thakral here. 

Malala: Activists for Girls Education (age, 5+): With so many books about Malala Yousafzai out there, it was difficult for us to pick just one more. Thinking about the age of my kiddos, I select this beautifully illustrated book, available via our friends at Kitaab World. When it comes to South Asian women, it's easy to see why Malala is a hero, as someone who stood up for women's rights and education. Looking for more books about Malala? Check out this great list here! 

Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of Education (age, 5+):  Inspired by the real-life story of Razia Jan, a CNN hero who founded the Zabuli Education Center for Girls just outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. This illustrated book helps to share that story and the determination of Razia who must convince her father and brother that her education matters. Read more about Razia Jan here. 

Kasturba (age 5+)
We love this tail of Gandhi's wife, Kasturba, told through the eyes of little Nina. Often thought of as just Gandhi's wife, this wonderfully illustrated book helps to illustrate just how powerful of a political figure she was. Read more about Kasturba Gandhi here.  

What children's books that feature South Asian women from history are you reading to your little ones this month? Share those stories below!