Uma Krishnaswami

Books by This Author

Book Uncle and Me

Illustration of tween girl surrounded by books

Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library on the street corner. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something. What can she do? The local elections are coming up, but she's just a kid. She can't even vote! But soon, Yasmin and her friends get to work.

Bright Sky, Starry City

Age Level: 6-9

Phoebe loves everything about the stars. She draws the planets on the sidewalk outside of her dad's store after helping him set up the telescope. Saturn and Mars are going to be visible tonight up in the night sky. But Dad warns her that they might be hard to see, since the city lights "always turned the night sky gray and dull." An illustrated afterword includes information about the solar system, planetary conjunctions and rings, moons, telescopes and light pollution.

Bringing Asha Home

Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English

It's Rakhi Day, a Hindu celebration special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a little sister. Soon his wish comes true when he finds out that his parents will be adopting Asha, a little girl from India. Waiting for Asha is hard, though, and Arun is impatient. Arun's patience finally pays off when Asha arrives — just in time to celebrate another Rakhi Day. Beautiful pastel illustrations bring Arun and this uplifting story to life.

Chachaji's Cup

Illustrated by: Soumya Sitaraman
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Neel loves listening to Chachaji's stories over steaming cups of tea. Chachaji's tales of great Hindu gods and demons, and of his adventures in the Indian Army, leave Neel openmouthed. But it is the tale of his great-uncle's favorite teacup that teaches Neel the most, for Chachaji's cup holds far more than sweet, spicy masala chai. It holds the story of a family and a country split in two during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. When the precious cup and Chachaji's health both prove to be more fragile than they look, Neel knows what he must do.


A young Indian girl looks at clouds in the sky
Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9

As a child in India waits for the rains of the monsoon to begin, she watches the sky, the clouds, and the animals closely. She wonders what will happen if the rains bring floods, or if the rains do not come at all. This is a story of the seasons, and of people who have an intimate relationship with their natural surroundings. The colorful sketches will transport readers to another world, prompting them to wonder when the rains will begin.

Naming Maya

Product Description: Although Maya has done her best to avoid it, she is spending part of her summer in Chennai, India, with her mother, who is trying to sell her grandfather's old house. Soon Maya is drawn into a complicated friendship with the eccentric housekeeper, Kamala Mami, and she is forced to examine the history of her parents' divorce — all the more painful because she believes the trouble began with the choosing of her name. It is only with the help of Kamala Mami and her cousin that Maya is able to see what really happened to her parents and let go of painful memories.

Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

Illustrated by: Uma Krishnaswamy
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this simple, lyrical story, a wide-spreading tree and a busy road grow simultaneously, even as time passes and the footsteps of people and animals give way to speeding cars, buses and trucks. The illustrations, in pen-and-ink with vibrant blocks of color, have a classic folk-art feel — and yes, the author and illustrator do really share the same name (except for the last letter!).

Remembering Grandpa

Remembering Grandpa
Illustrated by: Layne Johnson
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Daysha's grandma has come down with a bad case of sadness. Grandpa has been gone for over a year. Sad isn't how Daysha remembers Grandpa, so she sets out to collect all the things that would bring happy memories, such as a button that fell off Grandpa's coat and his old guitar. As Daysha had hoped, they bring back happy memories, and Grandma agrees that this is the best way to remember Grandpa. Uma Krishnaswami's simple and heartfelt story is illustrated with loving care by Layne Johnson.

Shower of Gold: Girls and Women in the Stories of India

Illustrated by: Maniam Selven
Age Level: Middle Grade

In this worthy anthology, Krishnaswami has collected and retold 18 traditional tales which originated in the Indian subcontinent, all with female protagonists. Many of these simply told stories feature a heroine who must stand up for her beliefs…(E)very story is followed by a helpful note that provides context and cites sources. — Kirkus Reviews

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls' team forming in Yuba City, California. It's the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria's teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls' League to start a girls' softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria's parents - Papi from India and Mama from Mexico - can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land.