The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
By Supriya Kelkar (Author), Alea Marley (Illustrator), Simran Jeet Singh (Afterword)
Format Hardcover Picture Book
Harpreet Singh loves his colors—but when his family moves to a new city, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?
Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from pink for dancing to bhangra beats to red for courage. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—smoothing it out and making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet's mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, all he wants is to be invisible. Will he ever feel a happy sunny yellow again?
“Indian-American Harpreet Singh is a practicing Sikh and has a different color patka, or head covering, for every occasion. He wears yellow when he feels sunny and cheerful, pink when he feels like celebrating, and red when he wants to feel brave. When his mother gets a job in a small snowy town across the country, Harpreet is apprehensive about the move despite his parents' assurance that it will be an adventure. Harpreet begins to wear colors for not-so-happy occasions: He wears blue to the airport because he's nervous and gray when he's sad. Most often of all, however, Harpreet wears white, as he feels shy and doesn't want to be seen. Will Harpreet ever feel like his cheerful self in his new home? Kelkar's telling of Harpreet's story is crisp and straightforward, and Marley's bright illustrations tactfully and subtly convey cultural differences that make Harpreet feel different from and invisible to his peers. In the lunchroom scene with all the other children, for example, Harpreet has in front of him a large plate of traditional Indian chapati (bread) and dal (lentils), whereas his peers are shown munching on more "American" dishes (like cake). An afterword by Simran Jeet Singh, a scholar and professor of Sikhism, helps contextualize this story for readers who are not familiar with the religion. This simple yet sensitive story about a child coming to terms with things beyond his control will resonate across cultures.” —Kirkus -
“Alea Marley’s cover illustration screams JOY and LOVE. I love everything about this important and necessary picture book, especially Harpreet Singh and his big heart.” —Mr. Schu, Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Born and raised in the Midwest, Supriya Kelkar learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. Supriya is a screenwriter who has worked on the writing teams for several Hindi films and one Hollywood feature. Her books include American as Paneer Pie, The Sandalwood Pyre, and Ahimsa. Learn more at supriyakelkar.com.
Alea Marley is a children's illustrator who is is currently based in North England. Her illustration clients include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sterling, American Girl, Little Bee, and Macmillan. Find her online at aleamarley.co.uk.