Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Indian. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Indian.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about Indian, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Lali’s Feather to popular sellers like Festival of Colors to some of our favorite hidden gems like Manjhi Moves a Mountain.
We hope this list of kids books about Indian can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.
Youngsters can learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from a “New York Times”-bestselling mother-and-son duo. Full color.
Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from happy sunny yellow to courageous red. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?
From C for chai to Y for yoga, this fresh, rhyming alphabet book takes young readers on a spirited journey to discover the people, places, lifestyles, and language of India. Lush illustrations from debut illustrator Hazel Ito bring to life the beauty, wonder, and diversity of this vast and vibrant country.
From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home. Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again. Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?
Thread of Love - Three siblings enjoy the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan—a celebration of the special relationship between brothers and sisters—in this vibrant reinterpretation of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping) from New York Times bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal. It’s time for the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan, the celebration of the special lifelong relationship shared by brothers and sisters everywhere. Join two sisters as they lovingly make rakhi—thread bracelets adorned with beads, sequins, sparkles, and tassels—for their brother. And then see their brother present them with toys and sweets and special gifts! New York Times bestselling authors Surishtha and Kabir Sehgals’ irresistible text, set to the tune of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping), will have little ones singing along while they learn about Indian culture. And the vibrant illustrations by Zara Gonzalez Hoang will have readers wishing they could step right into the characters’ colorful crafting world. This enchanting picture book includes instructions for making rakhi!
Outside In - “A compassionate story of homelessness and friendship, recycled art and community.” —Kirkus Reviews A twelve-year-old boy living on the streets of Chandigarh, India, stumbles across a secret garden full of sculptures and sees the possibility of another way of life as he bonds with the man who is creating the garden in this searingly beautiful novel—based on a true story. Twelve-year-old Ram is a street boy living behind a sign on a building’s rooftop, barely scraping by, winning games of gilli for money, occasionally given morsels of food through the kindness of Mr. Singh, a professor and father of his friend Daya. But his prowess at gilli (an outdoor game similar to cricket) is what gets him into big trouble. One day, when he wins against some schoolboys fair and square, the boys are infuriated. As they chase Ram across town, he flings his small sack of money over a factory gate where no one can get it, and disappears into the alleyways. But someone does get the money, Ram discovers when he sneaks back later on to rescue what is his—a strange-ish man on a bike who also seems to be collecting…rocks? Ram follows the man into the jungle, where he finds something unlike anything he’s seen—statues, hundreds of statues…no, thousands of them! Gods and goddesses and buildings, all at half scale. What is this place? It seems that the rock collecting man, Nek, has built them all! When Nek discovers that Ram has followed him, he has no choice but to let the boy stay and earn back the money Nek has already spent. How else can he keep him quiet? For his creations lie on land that isn’t technically his to build on. As Ram and Nek hesitantly become friends, Ram learns the true nature of this hidden village in the jungle, as well as the stories of Shiva and Lord Rama, stories of gods and goddesses that in strange ways seem to parallel Ram’s…and Nek’s. Based on the true story of one of India’s most beloved artists and modern day folk heroes, Nek Chand was a real man—a man displaced from his home in the midst of war and conflict; a man who missed his home so terribly he illegally reconstructed his entire village in miniature out of found objects and rock, recreating mosaic statues and sculptures spanning acres of jungle. Though Ram is a fictionalized character, Nek’s artwork is real. Intertwined with mythology and the sociopolitics of India, this is an exquisitely wrought, unexpected, and singular tale about the connection of community and how art can help make us human.
Shubh Diwali! - Diwali has arrived! Rangoli art decorates the floor and strings of flowers hang around the doors. Now it’s time to ring the bells, light the lamps, and welcome the new year with family and friends. A sweet introduction to the Hindu festival of lights.
Mahatma Gandhi: My First Mahatma Gandhi - This board book version of _Mahatma Gandhi_—from the critically acclaimed, mulitimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the incredible life of the father of India. As a young teenager in India, Gandhi led a rebellious life and went against his parents’ values. But as a young man, he started to form beliefs of his own that harked back to the Hindu principles of his childhood. Gandhi began to dream of unity for all peoples and religions. Inspired by this idea, he led peaceful protests to free India from British rule and unite the country—ending violence and unfair treatment. His bravery and free-thinking made him one of the most iconic people of peace in the world, known as Mahatma, meaning “great soul.” Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this amazing activist, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa’s Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.
In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.
The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends.
Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery—and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita’s birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of.
Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth’s endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.
Even though she only left Mumbai a few months ago, Shivani isn’t feeling like such an outsider anymore. She likes her new school. She finally has a best friend. But when her mother volunteers for the school’s annual fundraiser, Shivani is sure she will completely embarrass her. Especially if she cooks one of the “stinky” dishes that Shivani loves but is too ashamed to eat in front of her friends. On the day of the fair, the moment Shivani walks into the gym she knows her worst fears have come true: the unmistakable scent of Indian spices is in the air. But then she sees that dozens of people are lined up at her mom’s stall. It’s the most popular one!
This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively.
Lali finds a little feather in the field. Is it lost? Lali sets out to find feather a home, but one bird after another rejects it. The feather is too small for Rooster, too slow for Crow, and too plain for Peacock. Once Lali decides to keep the little feather and discovers all the things she can do with it, the other birds begin to recognize its value.
Farhana Zia’s charming tale employs an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.
Tara Takes the Stage - There are many ways this story can go. YOU decide what happens next. And if you don’t like how it ends? Just start again! The Yes No Maybe So series is an interactive reading experience about friendships, family, and all the feelings. Every day before and after school, Tara Singh helps her parents at their Indian sweet shop, but the only business Tara is interested in is show business. When a local theater announces a casting call for The Wizard of Oz, Tara is determined to wear the ruby slippers. As she prepares for the audition, Tara is distracted by some unexpected drama: There is Rohan, the delivery boy her parents hired. Hiro, her forever crush, who wants to rehearse with her. And Desmond, a shy theater nerd who has started lighting up her heart. Can Tara win the part and get the guy? You have the power to choose what happens…and the chance to choose differently next time!
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