cover image Laxmi’s Mooch

Laxmi’s Mooch

Shelly Anand, illus. by Nabi H. Ali. Kokila, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984815-65-1

Laxmi, a softly round Indian American girl with golden brown skin and two black braids, narrates this body hair–normalizing tale. When Laxmi’s friends Zoe and Noah—a lanky blond and a plump yarmulke-wearing child—point out the “little hairs on your lip” during a game of animal make-believe, Laxmi hurries to the mirror. Suddenly self-conscious of her moochmustache in Hindi—Laxmi hides her upper lip, worries that kids are mocking her, and notices “hair all over my body”: arms, eyebrows, knuckles, and legs. Arriving home, she’s distraught—but her parents soon dispel her concerns with humor and heart. Debut author Anand’s dialogue feels both genuine and gentle, incorporating Hindi with ease (“Nahi! You know, we come from a long line of women with moochay”). Warm, expressive digital illustrations by Ali (All the Way to the Top), meanwhile, feature a hijabi teacher and classmates with varying skin tones and hair textures. A joyfully affirmative picture book with a winning first-person point of view. Endpapers feature a Hindi-English picture glossary. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Saba Sulaiman, Talcott Notch Literary. Illustrator’s agent: James Burns, the Bright Agency. [em](Mar.) [/em]