A Garland of Henna

by Varsha Bajaj (Author) Archana Sreenivasan (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Nikita’s family takes pride in creating beautiful henna art, and she’s ready to try her hand at it—but it’s harder than it looks!

Nikita is part of a long line of henna artists. Her grandmother even brought a treasured notebook of designs with her to the US when she moved here from India. But the first time Nikita tries to make henna art, the mehndi paste looks like an ugly blob, and she feels like giving up. Still, she continues watching her mother and grandmother make gardens bloom on hands and is intrigued by the beauty of it all. Will she find the courage to try again?

New York Times bestselling author Varsha Bajaj’s poetic text and Archana Sreenivasan’s dynamic illustrations perfectly capture Nikita’s frustration, then pride, as she takes part in a beautiful family tradition.
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A warm and tender tale of family traditions.
Varsha Bajaj
Varsha Bajaj (varshabajaj.com) is the author of the middle grade novels Thirst (a New York Times bestseller and Global Read Aloud selection), Count Me In, and Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood. She also wrote the picture books The Home Builders (an Imagination Library selection, 2020-2024) and This Is Our Baby, Born Today (a Bank Street Best Book). She grew up in Mumbai, India, and when she came to the United States to obtain her master's degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books. She lives in Houston, Texas.

Archana Sreenivasan (archanasreenivasan.com) is an illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her books with starred reviews include Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman and the award-winning Seven Golden Rings by Rajani LaRocca. In 2023, she debuted as author-illustrator with her board book India on a Plate! She studied animation film design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and participated in a summer residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she studied illustration.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication date
June 11, 2024
BISAC categories
JUV003000 - Juvenile Fiction | Art & Architecture
JUV011020 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - Asian American
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
East Indian Americans
Henna (Dye)

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