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Priya lives in the United States and her family is from India. She feels the magic of the place that her family comes from through her Babi Ba’s colorful descriptions of India – from the warm smell of spices to the swish-swish sound of a rustling sari. Together, Priya and Babi Ba make their heritage live on through the traditions that they infuse into their everyday lives.
Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala is a celebration of the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, the threads that connect each of us to our heritage, and the power of sharing our traditions with others.
Published by Beaver’s Pond Press
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About the author and illustrator
Meenal Patel is an Indian-American artist, designer, and author based in San Francisco, California. She is inspired by family, childhood wonder, strong women, textures in nature, little joys from everyday life, and her Indian-American heritage.
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Behind the scenes
Checkout the images and info below for a behind the scenes look at the inspiration and making of Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala from the author and illustrator.
I’m an Indian-American woman. I was born and raised in the United States but my family is from Gujarat, India. When I went to India as an adult, I was struck by how it was both foreign and familiar to me. Many things that were a part of my childhood home growing up felt so different from others in the United States but turned out to be so common in India.
I kept seeing marigold garlands strung up and it reminded me of my Ba. When she lived with us in the United States, she would pick marigolds from our garden every morning to put in our mandir. I recognized the abundance of marigolds in India as a beautiful piece of my family’s identity that we carried in our everyday lives. There were so many things like this—mandirs, images of familiar gods and goddesses, the rustling of saris, the smell of cha. All of these things that made me feel different in the United States were unnecessary to explain in India. They were a part of everyday life.
I had a wonderful life as a child but I put up walls between all of my identities because I was afraid of being different. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how important it is to allow all parts of my identity to mix, to share all parts of me with people. I hope this book inspires kids to take pride in all their identities—all the unique threads that come together to make them who they are. I hope it inspires them to share their own unique cultures and to be curious about other cultures.