Hello, friends! Our book today is The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, written by Supriya Kelkar and illustrated by Alea Marley, a lovely tale of courage and connection in the face of change.
Harpreet loves to wear his patkas (head coverings often worn by Sikh children) in every color of the rainbow. He even wears certain colors to express his feelings: he likes to wear yellow when he’s cheerful, pink when he’s celebrating, or red if he needs a little bit of extra courage. That is, until the day his parents give him some big news: his mother has gotten a new job across the country, and they will have to move to new town. Harpreet is devastated, and his choice in patkas reflects this; instead of bright, happy colors, he now sticks to blues and grays, and eventually white – for when he feels shy – every day at his new school. His parents attempt to cheer him up, but Harpreet feels alone and like an outsider amongst his class. But an unexpected find in a snowdrift may help him to make a new friend, and inspire him to change his colors.
Fantastic. This truly special book does a wondrous job of weaving together so many elements of story, emotion, and representation, and succeeds on all fronts. Sikhism is yet another fairly underrepresented faith in modern kidlit, which makes such a universal story a particularly special gift for children and families who practice the faith. Harpreet‘s tale truly is universal, one of the difficulties of change or feeling different, having and expressing a myriad of emotions, and finding ways to open up to new friendships and relationships. For those unfamiliar with Sikhism, there’s a great afterward that gives readers a brief introduction to the faith. The illustrations are colorful, charming, and have an excellent command of light and dark, resonating nicely with the tone of the story. This is a fabulous story for any little bookworm struggling with change, and for readers who yearn for representation, a gem of a book. The length was great, JJ loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)