A Sari For Ammi (Mamta Nainy)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Sari For Ammi, written by Mamta Nainy and illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat, a beautiful tale of family love.

In the village of Kaithoon in India, the unnamed narrator lives with her mother (Ammi), her father (Abba), and her sister Sadaf. The entire family works together to run the family’s business, making and selling saris in the haat (bazaar), but it’s Ammi who is the true talent, skillfully weaving intricate and beautiful patterns into the material, sometimes taking months to complete even one sari. Yet despite her beautiful work, Ammi only wears old salwar-kameez, never keeping her work so as not to eat into the family’s profits. The narrator becomes determined to purchase one of her mother’s beautiful saris as a gift, and enlists Sadaf’s help. Together, the girls embark on money-making endeavor that explores their town’s unique culture. Can they pull together enough for Ammi’s gift?

Touching. This lovely tale of two daughters’ devotion to their mother weaves together elements of Indian culture and the history of Kaithoon, a town known for its particularly unique and intricate saris, made using a special weaving process passed down through generations. Bold text emphasizes important topics and Hindi words, yet leaves the definitions to a backmatter glossary, keeping the text conversational and engaging. The colorful digital artwork is as bright and intricate as Ammi’s saris, giving great charm to the girls, their family, and their neighbors and community. And the story of the girls’ sacrifice and work to buy a gift for their mother is quite moving, showing both a youthful, guileless spirit of kindness as well as a realistic peek at the economics of a working-class family, a surprisingly underrepresented group in picture books. The length is great for a storytime, and JJ loved the artwork and learning the Hindi vocabulary. Overall, we liked this one a lot – an endearing tale of family love that opens a door to a special place and culture. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)