Themes: Identity, Belonging, Family, Accepting difference, Celebrating Cultural Heritage

Shortlisted– 2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Award.

Long listed –  2023 Children’s Book Council of Australia – Notable book.

Bright Light Books – Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing

Illustrated by Michelle Pereira

As a second-generation migrant, 6-year-old Shreya’s life tilts between her life at home and the outside world.

While her love for family lifts her up, her spirits plummet at the stares and whispers that her amma’s sari attracts. Searching for balance, Shreya asks questions about her culture. But despite the beautiful stories her mother shares, Shreya’s internal and external struggle continues. 

It isn’t until her amma’s sari saves her from being lost in a crowd that Shreya comes to find pride in her difference.

Amma’s Sari is a powerful reflection on connection with family, the acceptance of difference, and the celebration of cultural heritage. Perfect for ages 3 and up.

Scroll down for Amma’s Sari book reviews and photos from Instagram. 

💝 Watch Amma’s Sari signed by Karthik Vijayanandam on ABC Education Story Time. 

🥻 Check out these beautifully designed saris by kids who attended my library and bookstore workshops!

Click on the ‘Activity Pack’ button above to download the template to do this craft!

🥻 Sari construction underway @childrensbooksdaily

Check out this clever use of our colouring-in pages.

Click on the ‘Activity Pack’ button above to download the template to do this craft!

🥈 Amma’s Sari – Shortlisted – NSW Premiers Literary Award – Patricia Wrightson prize for children’s literature.

Read judges comments below:

💝 This is my favourite Amma’s Sari sharing moment ever!

🙏 Thank you to Tamsien at Babbling Books for these amazing photographs of Amma’s Sari!

💝 This was the beautiful window display at Where The Wild Things Are bookshop during the release month of Amma’s Sari, April 2022.

 Huge thank you to Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing team and The Wild Things staff, especially Kasia, who made this happen.

Book Reviews

STORYLINKSMIA MACROSSANAmma’s Sari has one of the pinkest covers I’ve seen and it is absolutely gorgeous. The colours are  delicate and attractive, perfectly complementing this sensitively told tale of love and acceptance, the whole notable for its careful nuance and delicacy of feeling. I am sure it will appeal to a wide readership.” Read the full review here

READING OPENS DOORS – ELISE ELLERMANAmma’s Sari is a powerful story told from the perspective of six year old Shreya, a second generation migrant as she attempts to reconcile her conflicting feelings and struggles about her Mother’s sari. This book is brimming with inspiration for important conversations and has a wealth of visual literacy opportunities as students read the pictures and unpack the stories within them.” Read full review here.


@loveforreading  This is a story that will resonate so much with those who have felt different when outside the secure walls of home. It’s a story of the process of embracing family, culture and difference.

@canyoutellmeastory – Amma’s Sari is the story of a young girl trying to find her place in a world where she feels her mother’s Sari brings her unwanted attention. What develops is a beautiful story of pride and belonging, respect and love. 

@bookcowkids – Sandhya Parappukkan, author of the acclaimed picture book The Boy Who Tried To Shrink His Name, delights us again with this picture book which is a powerful reflection on connection with family, the acceptance of difference, and the celebration of cultural heritage.                             

@mypicturebookheart – We learn that the sari is not just an item of clothing, it links family, memories, and belonging. It is a connection to the past while also giving strength for the future.                          

@matilda_bookshop_kids – A BOOK WE LOVE: Amma’s Sari by Sandhya Parappukkaran and Michelle Pereira. This is a stunningly illustrated story about family, culture, and acceptance. It brought a (happy) tear to our eyes!

@aussie_kids_books – This is such a beautifully crafted book. The writing simply sparkles, and I love the use of similes to depict the beauty of Amma’s saris and the richness of the memories they evoke. The gentle lilt and flow of the lyrical narrative is such a joy to read aloud.

@flipwithjoy –  It wasn’t easy growing up looking and feeling different from the majority of the people around me. This is a book that I wish existed when I was growing up.

@nourishedbybooks – An absolutely astounding book showing the importance of embracing cultural traditions and remembering their stories.

@onemorepageau – Lyrical language and vibrant illustrations mimicking the flow of the sari combine to make a perfect picture book package. Hear the review (and a whole bunch more!) in Ep 68 of One More Page.

@karentyrrellauthor – Amma’s Sari is a compelling reminder of our connection with family, how to accept our difference and celebrating our cultural heritage. – If you are looking for one of the top books of 2022, Amma’s Sari would have to be one of them. This book is such a celebration! A celebration of love, family, culture and diversity!

@itsalibrarianlife – Every culture, every nationality, every single person sees the world in a different way. Similarly, every culture, nationality, and person has different knowledge, perspectives, and points of view. When all of these different views are shared together, miracles can happen… just like this wonderful story, “Amma’s Sari”.

@childrenslibrarylady – Shreya initially feels awkward about her mother’s sari when they go outside their home. Amma explains to her the importance of the sari, and Shreya learns to appreciate her cultural identity as she navigates the world outside her immigrant family. 

@thebyrdandthebookworms – Lyrically written and stunningly illustrated, this heartwarming story provides insight into what it’s like to grow up experiencing one culture at home and another culture outside one’s front door. It will be especially appreciated not just by the children of immigrants but by anyone who has ever felt different. A wonderful addition to any library!⁣

@varaanambooks – Sandhya has a beautiful way with words. ‘My sari connects me to my past and gives me strength in new beginnings’ – those words were music to my immigrant heart 

@teachinglittlefishies – INCREDIBLE BOOK!!! 🌟 I am so lucky to have received a copy of this book and I can confirm that it is a great one for the classroom! Provides a great way to celebrate differences with students. 

@lit.tlebookshelf – Amma’s Sari is a beautiful book, but more importantly, irreplaceable because it helps explain these ideas and complex feelings and situations.

Goodreads ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Supriya CherianAs soon as I read Amma’s Sari, I have immediately fallen in love with it. In some ways, I was able to relate to the little girl Shreya in the story, who is an immigrant and was very curious that her mom wears a Sari when they go out. I grew up in India and in middle-grade school, when my mom used to attend the parent-teacher meetings, I was more worried about the Sari my mom was going to wear than my scores as I wanted her to wear her best Sari!
The ending of the story is very satisfying with a little twist where Shreya gets lost in the crowd and finally finds her mom as she could spot the saree in the midst of the moving crowd around her. Which took me again on a ride to my childhood days when I felt so much comfort and security in my mom’s sari.
Sandhya has written the story so clearly and precisely, the way the story is unfolding is very commendable. the illustrations are brilliant.
I strongly recommend this book to 5-10-year-olds esp for immigrant kids to feel represented and embrace their own culture.

Inda Ahmad Zabri – Gorgeous book! The second picture book from Sandhya Parappukkaran and Michelle Pereira, and I loved it as much as the first. Shreya feels awkward when her Amma steps out in a sari, and she wishes, as many migrant children do, that her mum would just wear something … well … not so unusual. She feels as if people look at them differently and wants to hide away, but with Amma’s every bold step, Shreya learns the importance of the sari, as a palace of memories, and as part of their culture. Sandhya’s storytelling is lyrical and gentle, and Michelle’s illustrations are just superb. I love how the sari lifts and flows around them, a nurturing force on the page! This book is a wonderful spark in a world that so often still works against those who are different, a reminder that holding on to culture with pride is something worth doing.

Brooke Graham – Stunning illustrations and gorgeous lyrical writing makes this book a stand out! This is a story of a girl who loves her Amma (mother) dearly but is embarrassed by the attention her sari attracts as they walk through the streets. Eventually Shreya asks if Amma will always wear her sari. Amma shares memories of her past and explains why her sari is so important. When Shreya becomes lost in the crowd she frantically searches for the shimmering silk her mother is wearing. Amma’s Sari will help young children learn to appreciate their cultural differences. This book is as beautiful as Sandhya and Michelle’s first book, The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name.

Kirsten Ealand – What a gorgeous book!
Lyrical writing captures the internal emotional world of a child growing up in the Indian diaspora. The child loves her Amma (Mummy) whose beautiful sari symbolizes love and warmth and home, but she doesn’t like to stand out from others when out in the community and so wishes her Amma would wear something else. It’s not until the familiar sari helps her find Amma in a crowd that the child starts to reconcile her conflicting feelings and starts to feel pride in her cultural differences.
The illustrations use a rich palette of pinks and turquoise and cleverly manage to feel both very modern, depicting a cosmopolitan town with a wonderfully diverse array of people, and also retro/ traditional, when showing glimpses into Amma’s childhood.
Another beautiful book from author Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrator Michelle Pereira. If you haven’t seen their first book, The Boy Who Tried to Shrink his Name, you are in for a treat.

Michelle Wanasundera – My daughter and I loved this. Just full of vibrant colour and the gentle message of a beautifully growing pride in one’s culture. We had to own this one.

Norah Colvin – This gorgeous picture books tells of a young girl’s initial embarrassment at, growing acceptance of, and final appreciation for her culture and all that entails. Told through the eyes of the young girl, we understand her feelings. Beautifully illustrated by Michelle Pereira.

Annaleise Byrd – Amma’s Sari is about a young girl who finds it hard to deal with the attention her amma’s (mother’s) colourful saris attract in public. Though Shreya loves her family, she struggles with the feeling of standing out when she’d rather blend in and go unnoticed. However, when a situation arises in which the bold shimmer of Amma’s sari saves the day, Shreya’s journey towards embracing her culture takes a big leap forward.
On the final page, in which Shreya walks boldly in public alongside her mother, the illustration shows part of Amma’s billowing, larger-than-life sari draped around Shreya too. What a clever and non-didactic way of showing the enveloping power of a mother’s love and example! It is this interplay between words and images that makes a good picture book so rich, able to reward an observant reader with new insights upon each re-read.
Lyrically written and stunningly illustrated, this heartwarming story provides insight into what it’s like to grow up experiencing one culture at home and another culture outside one’s front door. It will be especially appreciated by the children of immigrants, but also by anyone who has ever felt different. A wonderful addition to any library!

Maya – A book I wished I’d had when I was growing up. Takes me back to my Ba’s sari and all the sounds, textures and smells of her clothes. But also addresses the relatable conflict I felt as a child at having an Indian grandmother in very rural England. My heart sings every time I look at this book.


A gorgeous review

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