cover image My Paati’s Saris

My Paati’s Saris

Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illus. by Art Twink. Kokila, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-32460-8

“My paati’s saris are stories./ They whisper the name/ of where they were made and/ how they came to be.” In the creators’ glad celebration of family, love, and gender-experimental play, a Tamil-speaking Hindu child finds joy and solace in their paati’s sari collection. Sporting short hair and shorts, the nameless child narrator describes both hiding in and wrapping themself in myriad fabrics and hues, then relays sensory details experienced with Paati, whose “pallu/ holds sweet-smelling jasmine/ and musky rose” as “we thread the flowers,/ a garland/ for morning puja.” When they venture out to market, the child stays nearby, tucked into the grandmother’s garment; at a party, they appreciate the way the patterned sari “SWIRLS. Peacocks preening/ lotus blooms peeking.” The next day, invited by the saris themselves to “EXPLORE, DARE, BE,” the protagonist drapes and tucks, pleats and folds Paati’s sari around themself, and is greeted with smiles: “My paati’s saris are/ my shelter, my home,” writes Rajan Gopal (American Desi). Brightly hued, maximalist illustrations from Twink (My Rainbow) tuck in a feline for readers to spot throughout while evoking movement across spaces domestic and public in a buoyant picture book about burgeoning identity and family lineage. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Wendi Gu, GreenburgerKids. (Nov.)