Kid Lit Titles ‘Always Anjali’ & ‘Meet Yasmin’ Teach Without the Preach For the Win

By Sailaja Joshi

From The Aerogram

Books about inclusion and valuing difference have never been more important, but how do you get kids to absorb the good stuff when they’re unwilling to be overtly educated? Fortunately, many kidlit authors know how to inform and persuade without permitting a hint of didacticism to creep into their storytelling. Two such South Asian American authors are Sheetal Sheth and Saadia Faruqi, whose books both feature adorable second graders, Indian American and Pakistani American respectively, and whose books make their case for inclusion without ever resorting to platitudes or heavy-handed lessons.

Always Anjali by actress-producer-author Sheetal Sheth is a lovely story about owning what makes you different. On the morning of her seventh birthday, Anjali gets the best gift ever — a new bike! She can’t wait to ride to the fair with her two BFFs Mary and Courtney. At the fair, there’s a stall selling personalized license plates. The other two girls scoop up theirs, but Anjali’s told to make do with Angela. As a disappointed Anjali walks away, one of the older boys begins to chant “Ann-Jelly! Can I get a peanut butter an-jelly with a dot on top?”

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