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State Library of Queensland

Amma's Sari book

What are we reading in the Corner this November

29 November 2023 | State Library of Queensland

Amma’s Sari written by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira

Amma pleats her sari. The folds flare out like a waterfall.

I feel as calm as a fish in water.

Amma’s Sari (2022) is a meaningful, lively picture book about a little girl named Shreya who is nervous, and unsure when her mother wears a beautiful, shiny, but very eye-catching sari. People stare and sometimes whisper when Shreya and Amma walk past, and sometimes Shreya feels embarrassed. That is, until she is lost in a crowd and the shimmer of Amma’s sari leads her back to her mother and towards finding the beauty and pride in their shared cultural heritage.

Amma’s Sari is the second of three picture book collaborations from the author and illustrator and was a CBCA Notable Book in 2023. Their first, The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name was the winner of the 2022 CBCA award for New Illustrator.

The illustrations in this book feel both nostalgic and contemporary. The restricted palate makes for clear, energetic illustrations that are easy for little ones to follow and appreciate. In many ways, Amma’s pink and teal sari is the hero of the book. It swirls through the pages, weaving around the city and the people in it, rippling with energy and in the end, it embraces Shreya as her link to family, memory, and culture.

In The Corner, our team is using this beautiful book to promote engagement between babies and caregivers and sensory development by gently floating scarves over baby. Can you imagine this is Amma’s sari? Connecting the words and experiences of the story with the gentle, sensory experience of the floating scarves can help build language skills while making baby feel safe, connected, and engaged. Do you feel as calm as a fish in water?

The best part about First 5 Forever learning activities is that they can be experienced anywhere, including at home. Do you have a scarf or soft piece of material that you can float over your little one as you read, talk, and sing to them?

For more information about how you can support your baby’s health and wellbeing through reading and imaginative play, visit a Story, Rhyme or Play time at The Corner at State Library of Queensland or attend a First 5 Forever session at your own local library.  If you can’t make a session, you can also visit The Parlour at State Library and read with your little one. And remember, you’re never too young to be a member of your local library – you can join baby up from birth and borrow Amma’s Sari by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira to read and enjoy at home.


What else are we reading in The Corner?

Stay For Dinner by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira (2023)

The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammed and illustrated by Hatem Aly

Same, but little bit diff’rent by Kylie Dunstan


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