Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education–when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her. Women in countless countries continue to endure the limitations of illiteracy. Unjust laws have suppressed the rights of girls and women and kept many from getting an education and equal standing in society. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.
Rina Singh is an internationally published children’s author and has written fifteen books for children including A Forest of Stories, which has been translated in several languages. She has written an award-winning biography on the Inuit artist, Pitseolak Ashoona. Her most recent publications are Holi Colors, Diwali: Festival of Lights and Nearly Nonsense, and Guru Nanak. Her upcoming book A Meeting in the Sky is a World War II story. Holi Colors got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.
Rina has done readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada, including TD Children’s Book Week in 2012 and 2018. In 2014, she also presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and Reading for the Love of it in Toronto (2015).
She is an Ontario Certified Teacher and has taught visual arts, drama, and creative writing in Toronto for 25 years. She is also a tdsbCREATES mentor artist for Spoken Word.
She lives in a blue house in Toronto. Surrounded by birds, pesky squirrels, a rabbit and goldfish in an outdoor pond, she dreams of writing more stories for children. She also loves elephants but to meet them she has to travel to far away places.
Ellen Rooney, who also illustrated Her Fearless Run, loves illustrating and designing nature-related work. She has her BFA from the University of Victoria. A painter, printmaker, and collage artist, she resides in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband.
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