The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh

by Supriya Kelkar (Author) Alea Marley (Illustrator)

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

"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

"This simple yet sensitive story about a child coming to terms with things beyond his control will resonate across cultures." --Kirkus

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?

Included on the Chicago Public Libraries Best Picture Books of 2019 list.


Kirkus Reviews

This simple yet sensitive story about a child coming to terms with things beyond his control will resonate across cultures.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 2--Harpreet cherishes his colorful patkas, a style of Sikh turban often worn by young boys, and he carefully selects the color to telegraph his mood each day: "He wore yellow when he felt sunny, spreading cheer everywhere he went. He wore pink when he felt like celebrating, bopping along to bhangra beats." When Harpreet and his family leave the warm beaches of California for a snowy town across the country, Harpreet's color palette changes as he relies on brave reds, nervous blues, sad grays, and shy whites which replace his happier moods. The long cold winter makes Harpreet feel even more like an outsider, until one day in the snow he finds a hat that belongs to a classmate. When he returns the hat, a friendship blooms and Harpreet feels colorful again. The digital illustrations depict Harpreet as joyful and exuberant, which makes his shift to sadness and isolation after the move palpable. Subtle details in the illustrations, such as kids staring at Harpreet's "different" lunch, position him not only as the new kid, but underscore his feelings of isolation as a cultural outsider. Harpreet's symbolic color system is used masterfully to add depth to the illustrations, as on the page where Harpreet sits, small and alone wearing shy white, on a background of joyful celebratory pink as a cascade of Valentines--most with his name misspelled--floats away. VERDICT A lovely story about change and belonging that provides much-needed representation. A first purchase for all libraries.--Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

This bright, vivacious picture book captures a spectrum of emotions as a young boy shows off his colorful head coverings. —Shelf Awareness

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 

I was so happy to see a book celebrating Sikh culture and religion on the cover. This children's book showcases a beautifully colored illustration of a young Sikh boy wearing the traditional turban, or patka. Sikh people have unfairly suffered from our current racist society, so I'm happy to see a book celebrating their kindness and charisma. This book is relatable to anyone who has had to move and make new friends. Supriya Kalkar expresses her protagonist's joys and fears through colors of the season and his environment. I would love to see more books like this, celebrating the many cultures of people of color. —Bookriot
Supriya Kelkar
Born and raised in the Midwest, Supriya Kelkar learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. She is a screenwriter who has worked on the writing teams for several Hindi films and one Hollywood feature. Supriya's books include Ahimsa, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, American as Paneer Pie, and That Thing about Bollywood, among others. Visit her online at SupriyaKelkar.com.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781454931843
Lexile Measure
530L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publication date
September 20, 2019
Series
-

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