About the Book:
Title: A Sari for Ammi
Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
Pub. Date: November 9, 2021
Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Sari for Ammi published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Making saris is a family affair for a young girl, her sister, Sadaf, and her mother (Ammi) and father (Abba). In fact, weaving has been a family trade for generations. One day, the very observant daughter recognizes that Ammi weaves the most colorful and gorgeous saris but she never keeps any of her beautiful creations for herself. When she asks why, Ammi responds “If we keep the saris, what will we eat?” Young readers learn that making saris is the the family’s job and the way they earn money for the things they need. As Ammi looks in the mirror wearing one of her sari, Prabhat captures her feelings that perhaps once, she wishes she could keep a sari as her own.
But what if they bought a sari for Ammi? The girl shares her idea of breaking their gullak (piggybank) with Sadaf. They decide to forego buying themselves things from the bazaar and use the money for Ammi. After the money is counted, a new problem arises. They do not have enough. The sisters need to work together to get more money.
First, they sell old junk like paper, bottles, and metal to Jhammu Kaka, the scrap dealer earning more money, but not quite enough for a sari. As they walk through a wheat field, they get another idea to help Amina Khala color thread. Do they finally have enough? “Just enough!” screams Sadaf.
And the sisters don’t just buy any sari. They purchase a sari that Ammi has weaved. What tugged at my heart is the sari they chose was the sari that Ammi was wearing while looking in the mirror. Prabhat’s vivid artwork shows Ammi’s pure joy in her smile and the single tear streaming down her cheek as she tightly hugs her daughters.
With themes of family, kindness, cooperation, and problem solving, A Sari for Ammi is a touching story that all children can relate to. What I love most is kids learn more about the culture and traditions of a rural Indian Muslim family and their lifestyle. Nainy seamlessly weaves Indian words into the text which are defined in a glossary and shares background about the history of making saris in Kaithoon, the Rajasthan town where the story takes place. The love that the sisters not only for their ammi but also for their whole family was evident in Nainy’s engaging plot and Prabhat’s bright and lively illustrations. I adored the way they collaborated to earn enough money to buy a sari. Their good deed will make readers want to pay it forward and show kindness to a loved one. Highly recommend A Sari for Ammi for home libraries, classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries!
Praise A Sari for Ammi!
“This delightful picture book shines a spotlight on a rural, underrepresented Indian Muslim community.”
About the Author:
Mamta Nainy is a children’s writer, editor, and translator based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of many children’s books, including A Brush with Indian Art, illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee, which won the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award in 2019; and Bioscope, illustrated by Shanti Devi, which was named to the IBBY Honor List in 2012. Follow the author on Instagram @mamtanainy.
About the Illustrator:
Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, India, who resides in the United States. She has a master’s degree in animation and digital arts from New York University. She has illustrated nearly a dozen picture books, including her recent book I Am Brown, written by Ashok Banker. She animates for TV and movies and creates content for social media websites such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat. Follow the artist on Instagram @sandhyaprabhat.