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Our Favorite South Asian books in 2017

KitaabWorld Favorites New releases

This was a bumper year for South Asian books! We were very excited to see the diversity of books in many different genres - from fantasy young adult novels to new and impressive picture books, there were many to choose from! 

Here are some of our favorite South Asian books published in 2017, along with some fun world stories! Tell us yours in the comments below.


Board Books

10 Noisy Rickshaws: Take in the familiar sights and sounds of South Asia in this lively board book. With mooing cows, honking scooters, yummy samosas and colorful rickshaws, this counting book is sure to brighten up your day! 

Das Din: This quirky book with fun flaps, characters and pull tabs are just what we need to make learning Hindi fun! Learn your numbers from one to ten in rhyme and you'll be singing ek se das in no time!

Rapunzel: An Indian twist to this well known tale makes for a great read. With diverse characters and visuals that reflect the Indian countryside and aesthetic, this book will have everyone chanting 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair' to a Bollywood inspired beat! 

Picture Books

10 Gulab Jamuns: Here's a tasty treat about a much-loved sweet! Two brothers are looking forward to the delicious meal their mother has prepared for her guests, but dessert is proving hard to resist! Find out if they last till their guests show up!

A is for Ajrakh: The A to Z of Block Printing: A different take on the alphabet that looks at different aspects of block printing on textiles, a famous Indian handicraft. The book looks at the different styles, motifs, dyes, and the craftspeople that bring these beautiful designs to life.  

A Village is a Busy Place: This brightly illustrated book is teeming with life! Open it up fold by fold and take a peek into a tribal village of the Santhal people. With questions and pointers, created as a scroll painting, this book will keep readers young and old busy for hours!

Hanuman Moves a Mountain: This retelling of the well-known story of how Hanuman used his extraordinary strength to lift an entire mountain, is a parable of strength, loyalty and devotion. 

Hic!: What's the best way to get rid of hiccups? A young girl tries and tests many remedies to stop her hiccups and gets into some absurd and hilarious situations!

Malala's Magic Pencil: A thoughtful picture book written by Malala Yousafzai on her hopes to create a better world initially by erasing an smell of garbage from her city, or getting an extra hour of sleep, to more important issues of fighting for peace. 

Manjhi Moves a Mountain: The hope of a better future empowered Dashrath Manjhi to create a path through the mountain. This tale of determination and the power of one person to create change is sure to inspire young and old.  

The Elephant's Garden: A fantasy story about young Jasmine who wants to find the identity of the thief gobbling up fruit from her garden. Her surprise discovery leads her to her biggest adventure. 

Chapter Books and Middle Grade

Ahimsa: A young girl watches her mother's involvement with the Ahimsa or Non-Violent movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Once her mother is jailed, Anjali must step in to continue her mother's work and contribute to the Indian freedom movement.

Amina's Voice: Entering middle school, Amina is confronted with many new questions: does she have to change who she is to be accepted? This tale of learning to take pride in one's identity will resonate with kids everywhere. 

Amma Tell Me About the Golden Temple: Amma and her children take a trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and learn about Sikhs and the values of Sikhism that encompass love, equality and service.

Karma Khullar's Mustache: Middle grade brings out all the doubts in young Karma. With changes at school with her best friend, and at home with her Dadima's death and her stay-at-home dad, Karma is also finding it hard to accept her changing body. 

Step Up to the Plate Maria Singh: Maria is biracial daughter of and Indian dad and Mexican mom, who longs to play on the baseball team. She has an encouraging coach, but the prejudices of the 1940s impact Maria and her family in troubling ways. 

The Boys Who Fought: The Mahabharata for Children: India's leading mythologist, Devdutt Pattnaik simplifies the Mahabharata for children. Learn about the epic battle between the five Pandava brothers and their 100 Kaurava cousins, as they explore issues of justice, faith and family.

The Gauntlet: In this fantasy novel, a board game comes menacingly to life trapping Farah's brother Ahmed. Farah and her friends must use all their skills to defeat the magical Lord Amari, but will they succeed before time runs out?

Young Adult

 A Torch Against the Night: Sabaa Tahir's second book following An Ember in the Ashes, continues Elias and Laia's perilous journey into the heart of the Martial Empire. Dark unearthly forces and danger threaten them at every step, and will keep you hooked till the very end.

Saints and Misfits: This superb debut by SK Ali asks difficult questions with no easy answers. Janna Yusuf is oscillating between what her heart and head tell her. She's dealing with a heavy secret, changing friendships and she can't date, but when a cute boy called Jeremy takes an interest in her, she begins to question her beliefs. 

The Lines We Cross: Randa Abel-Fatteh's latest novel tackles issues of white supremacy head on, through the alternating view points of Michael and Mina. Though on opposite sides of the debate, once they begin to know each other, they must choose their own path and be true to their own politics.

You Bring the Distant Near: Mitali Perkins' heart warming story focuses on three generations of women and their immigrant experience. Told through alternating teen voices this tale of love, loss, friendship and the ties of sisterhood is a must read. 

When Dimple Met Rishi: Dimple and Rishi's parents have arranged for them to get married and while Dimple resists, fate conspires to bring them together and even fall in love! A heart-warming story which brilliantly weaves together romantic drama and dilemmas of a young Indian teenager girl in an authentic and relatable way! 

World Books

Around the World in a Bathtub: A fun romp through the bathtubs around the world! From communal bath houses, a dip in the stream to bucket baths - see how kids slash and play and also get squeaky clean!

A World of Cookies for Santa: Santa gets a global feast on Christmas Eve! From ginger-tea in the Philippines, to honey-spice cookies in Russia and sweet potatoes ones from Malawi, this book is a treat! 

Around the World in Numbers: A fun read on statistics from around the world that feature numerical facts on global landmarks, cities and from the outer reaches of space to the depths of the ocean floor.


This is How We Do it: A look at the day in the lives of children from seven countries - Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda and Russia that show us how similar we all are. 

Here's a throwback to the other 2017 releases

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