BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
This week sees the publication of I am Brown by Ashok Banker and Sandhya Prabhat – a picture book exploring the universal qualities of childhood as well as celebrating cultural, geographical and religious differences of brown-skinned children from around the world.
Read on for a review of I am Brown and then head over to author Ashok’s guest booklist featuring 5 favourite picture books that celebrate the joy of childhood! Read on to the end of the post for details of a giveaway, too!
Book Title: I am Brown (available here)
Author: Ashok Banker
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
Publication Date: March 2020
Reviewer: Alison Leach
I Am Brown is an illustrated poem full of joy and celebration. It offers an upbeat look at the similarities and differences of brown-skinned children from around the world, drawing on the universal experience of childhood as a unique time of life.
Speaking about the inspiration for a book giving prominence to brown-skinned children, author Ashok Banker says, ‘I grew up in a country (India) where there weren’t very many children like myself. And not a single book about children like me… I moved to the USA a few years ago, and had the great pleasure of seeing my own grandchild. We’re a family of many colours, races, faiths, cultures, nationalities. But the one thing we all have in common is that children are children. And childhood is the most wonderful, magical time of our lives. It’s the greatest adventure we have and the happiest celebration of life itself. I AM BROWN captures the variety and diversity of children everywhere, whatever their nationality, creed, culture, race, religion (or lack of it), or identity. They just happen to be brown just as all the children in the books I grew up reading (and still love reading) just happen to be white. Because children are children and deserve to be celebrated!’
The children featured in the book represent a diversity of cultures, places and religions – we see one double-page spread of food showing jhal muri and fattoush next to pasta and steak, followed by a clothing spread showing everything from a business suit and prom dress to a lehenga and dhoti. The bold, cartoonish pictures fill in the gaps of understanding where the labelled words may be unfamiliar. Pages showing hobbies and accomplishments offer a range of relatably familiar images that draw out universal activities, ambitions and desires that transcend cultures and exist at the heart of childhood – echoed by the simple repetition of the ‘I am’ statements.
Joyful in its illustrations of childhood exuberance, warm colours and bold patterns, this is an empowering debut picture book that leaves a note of affirmation for all children in their natural pursuits of chasing dreams, making connections, celebrating differences and enjoying what it is to be human.
The book will be in bookshops in the UK on 5th March and in the US & CAN on 3rd March OR buy your copy from Lantana’s online shop and donate a book to a child in need via the UK charity Read for Good.
Click here to read author Ashok Banker’s guest booklist featuring 5 favourite picture books celebrating the joy of childhood.
Thanks to the publishers at Lantana, we have a copy of I am Brown to give away to one of our followers.
Many thanks to the publishers at Lantana for sending us a review copy and to Ashok for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.
> See Ashok Banker’s 5 favourite books celebrating the joy of childhood
> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.