Chitra Soundar and Jen Khatun have created a perfect book for any soon-to-be big sibling. Sona’s jealous uncertainty and her ultimate love and determination to care for her little sister all ring true, while Soundar also demonstrates the care and empathy adults can take to make the transition easier. With beautiful details of family and traditions in India (brought to joyful life with Khatun’s illustrations), Sona’s story will be familiar to anyone who’s ever welcomed a new member of the family.
Can Sona be the best big sister ever when she’s not sure she even wants a baby sister or brother? Brimming with warmth and charm, this story set in India will resonate with new older siblings everywhere.
Sona Sharma's house is full of three generations of people who joke often and argue sometimes. Relatives come over unannounced, the phone rings frequently, and friends drop by all the time. Then one day Amma tells Sona that she is going to have a baby. Is that good? Sona isn’t so sure. She doesn’t want to share her room or her things with a new baby, not to mention the attention of Amma, Appa, Thatha, and Paatti. And despite Amma's assurance that the sky always has room for new stars, Sona doesn’t feel stretchy or bighearted like the sky. But when she learns there will be a baby-naming ceremony, she’s determined to find the best name for her new brother or sister—one as nice as her own, a Hindi word for “gold.” Perfectly pitched to young readers, this tale of warming up to change is followed by a glossary of words from India to explore in the story.
About the Author
Chitra Soundar grew up in Chennai, India, in a multigenerational family that was filled with small fights, big laughter, and lots of stories. An award-winning author of more than forty books for children, she loves writing picture books, fiction, nonfiction, and verse. Chitra Soundar travels the world visiting schools and appearing at festivals to bring Indian stories to children everywhere. She lives in London.
Jen Khatun is an award-winning illustrator whose work incorporates whimsy and playfulness in each line. Based in England, she enjoys living close to the sea and regularly walks through the beautiful downs to fuel her creativity.
This is a classic early chapter book, suitable for reading aloud as well as alone, with a gently humorous and imaginative style that effectively conveys character (Sona’s grandmother’s house has “breakable glass and unbreakable rules”) and loving family dynamics, and there’s an A. A. Milne flavor to Elephant’s sometimes grumpy interjections (heard, of course, only by Sona). Sona’s daily life filled with relatives, conversation, and tasty food will be relatable to some kids and enviable for others, and the name-day celebration may make all wish for a younger sibling to occasion such a party. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
This chapter book's unique take on the familiar theme of welcoming a new baby is elevated by Soundar's exceptional characterization and Khatun's appealing art. A recommended purchase for school and public library collections. —School Library Journal (starred review)
Sona’s mother is almost ready to give birth, and her Hindu family is getting ready for the baby’s naming ceremony. . . . The book features a highly accessible story about transitioning from being an only child to a sibling, and it depicts well-developed, positive relationships among members of three generations, all of whom burst with personality. . . . A charming story about becoming a big sister. —Kirkus Reviews
Soundar neatly folds familiar themes of changing family roles, adapting to new circumstances, and dealing with big feelings into this beautifully illustrated chapter book showcasing India's culture and traditions. —Booklist
A sweet chapter book filled with charming illustrations on each page. —Book Riot