Finding diverse children’s books characters often feels like finding a needle in a haystack. The statistics are not really in favor of South-Asians as 70% of books feature white characters or animals. This makes it critical for us to feature desi authors who are slowly changing this paradigm. Books with refreshingly diverse characters are needed to be able to introduce South-Asian culture to kids.
Anjali Jariwala’s children’s book does two things at once – introduce desi characters, and also question the stigmatized cultural practices. Eating with hands being bad is deeply embedded in colonial thinking.
Talking with Anjali made it clear why creative parents like her can lead the revolution of decolonizing our lives. Imagine a world where our kids don’t have to code switch!
Enjoying culture with pride is one of the basic tenants of humanity to be enjoyed with a cup of chai. Just like this conversation! 🙂
As a reminder, Kitabi Qisse is a virtual gupshup with South-Asian authors, illustrators, and creatives. Check these videos on our Instagram page too, as we continue to promote diverse children’s books characters.
If you want to nominate a desi creator for this series, write to us here.
Anjali Jariwala is a business owner, host of Money Checkup podcast, and a mom. As a South Asian mom, Jariwala was spending a lot of time trying to find books for her daughter that featured characters who looked like her. While she found that many South Asian authors did a wonderful job bringing light to cultural holidays and religious traditions, Jariwala was still searching for something more. She wanted more books that highlight day-to-day South Asian cultural norms, so she decided to add to the collection by writing a book herself. Why We Eat With Our Hands is written and self-published by Jariwala and beautifully illustrated by Shelley Seguinot, in collaboration with Wise Ink and Modern Marigold Books, two companies owned by women of color. Anjali is an advocate for diversity and representation – both in the financial planning industry and children’s literature. This is Anjali’s first book. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Udai, and daughter, Nyla.