The word "kitaab" means "book" in many languages, and hence the name, Kitaabworld. Passionate about making South Asian children’s literature more accessible and easily available in the US, Gauri Manglik and Sadaf Siddique launched KitaabWorld in the fall of 2016.
Kitaabworld stemmed from a need for representation of South Asian children's literature in the mainstream. We advocate to spread awareness about South Asian culture, and provide resources for teachers, librarians and parents.
We fulfill our mission in three ways:
First, we are an independent publishing house, and run an online independent bookstore through which we facilitate discovery and distribution of South Asian children’s literature. We curate books from around the world which feature traditional, contemporary and re-imagined stories on and about South Asia. Our selection aims to showcase an authentic representation of the diverse elements of South Asian culture as well as mirrors the realities of growing up in the South Asian diaspora.We also focus on South Asian languages by providing resources that appeal to children.
Second, we have a content platform, where we routinely publish curated booklists on various South Asian topics, conduct author interviews and feature guest posts on various topics. We ran a campaign in early 2017 called 'Counter Islamophobia Through Stories' to showcase positive stories and representations of Muslims. We have co-authored the book, Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding through Children's and Young Adult Literature as an extension on ideas from the campaign.
Third, we collaborate with libraries, schools and other institutions to experience and learn about South Asian culture through literature. We conduct story times and school visits, as well as speaking engagements and educator workshops, some of which are mentioned here.
Check out this video on our first year anniversary!
A NOTE ON SOUTH ASIA
South Asia is a vast and diverse region, and includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and the region of Tibet. The South Asian community comprises of over a billion people, at least 20 languages and many religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Sikhism.
Even today many traditions still remain a part of people’s daily lives. Our products reflect key elements of South Asian culture such as art, dance, food, folk tales, history, religions, mythologies and traditions.