10 books like American Betiya

By Anuradha D. Rajurkar,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like American Betiya. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Dear Mr. Dickens

By Nancy Churnin, Bethany Stancliffe (illustrator),

Book cover of Dear Mr. Dickens

Some people might not think writing a letter is a tremendously brave act, but it is if you are a young woman who knows in her heart that she needs to challenge a very famous and beloved author – a man even she admires! I had never heard of Eliza Davies and her letters to Charles Dickens and was captivated by the story. Davies wrote to Dickens protesting his stereotypical and harmful depiction of Jewish people in Oliver Twist. And she made a difference! I love how the story teaches kids that they, too, can make a difference and that activism takes many forms, in this case, letter-writing. Added bonus: the book contains quotes from Eliza’s actual letters, which appeals to me immensely as a history geek. 

Dear Mr. Dickens

By Nancy Churnin, Bethany Stancliffe (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dear Mr. Dickens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2021 National Jewish Book Award Winner - Children's Picture Book
2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor for Picture Books
Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for Younger Readers 2021
The Best Jewish Children's Books of 2021, Tablet Magazine
A Junior Library Guild Selection March 2022
The Best Children's Books of the Year 2022, Bank Street College
2022 First Place―Children's Book Nonfiction, Press Women of Texas
2022 First Place―Children's Book Nonfiction, National Federation of Press Women

Eliza Davis believed in speaking up for what was right. Even if it meant telling Charles Dickens he was wrong.

In Eliza Davis's day, Charles…


This Is My America

By Kim Johnson,

Book cover of This Is My America

When Tracy Beaumont’s father is convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, she refuses to accept the verdict. Her unwavering determination to fight the long-standing racism in her small town shows the depth of its hateful history and its horrific impact on her father and family. This unforgettable, heartbreaking, and hopeful novel provides a mirror and window into the courage needed to fight against injustice.

This Is My America

By Kim Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is My America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time--her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy's older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star…


The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune,

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

I would argue that just about every book TJ Klune writes is a found family masterpiece, but for me, it doesn't get any more heartwarming or beautiful than The House in the Cerulean Sea. What begins as a routine assignment for our protagonist, Linus Baker, turns into a paradigm-shifting experience involving the fate of an orphanage full of misfit, magical children. I never thought I would fall in love with a sassy young garden gnome or feel fiercely protective of...whatever Chauncey is, but learning the stories behind each of the children at the orphanage—and, ultimately, the story behind its proprietor, Arthur Parnassus, this story of found family had me in tears multiple times—in a good way!

The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…


Turtle Boy

By M. Evan Wolkenstein,

Book cover of Turtle Boy

This book is one of my favorite middle-grade novels. At first glance, it may not look like it’s about an environmentalist. Indeed, it is about many things. A boy with a medical condition that affects his chin and jaw. Bullying, grief, anxiety, drumming (!), bar mitzvah prep, coming out of one’s shell. And Will is not exactly modeling good conservation practices by taking turtles from the nearby marsh, caring for them in his bedroom, or gifting a Blanding’s turtle to a boy he visits in the hospital. But Will’s learning process about these turtles and their threatened habitat is a major part of this riveting novel. Will’s identification with turtles is deep, symbolic, incredibly moving. Treat yourself to the audio version, narrated in a lively way by this multi-talented author.

Turtle Boy

By M. Evan Wolkenstein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Turtle Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a powerful story of hope and friendship, perfect for fans of Wonder and The Goldfish Boy. Exploring self-image, family and grief, this book will make you laugh and cry.

Meet Will Levine.
Here are three things Will loves: turtles, the nature reserve behind school, being left alone.
And one thing Will really hates: his nickname.

Kids at school call Will Turtle Boy because of his funny-looking chin. But when Will meets RJ, he learns not everyone is his enemy. RJ has a bucket list of adventures which extends way beyond his hospital room, and he needs help ticking…


Circa

By Devi S. Laskar,

Book cover of Circa

Even though today's South Asian families are extremely progressive when it comes to issues relating to their daughters, this was not always the case. Up until very recently, the choice between education and marriage was a very real one for a South Asian young woman. Devi captures this issue beautifully in her story which is set in the 80s. Devi captures this beautifully in the story of her protagonist, Heera, whose experience presses up against the expectations not only of her family but of what it means to be a brown woman in America in the 80s. 

Circa

By Devi S. Laskar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of The Burning Girl by Claire Messud and Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, a stunning, gut-punch of a novel that follows a young Indian American woman who, in the wake of tragedy, must navigate her family's expectations as she grapples with a complicated love and loss.

On the cusp of her eighteenth birthday, Heera and her best friends, siblings Marie and Marco, tease the fun out of life in Raleigh, North Carolina, with acts of rebellion and delinquency. They paint the town’s water towers with red anarchy symbols and hang out at the local bus station to pickpocket…


Born Confused

By Tanuja Desai Hidier,

Book cover of Born Confused

Indians born in the USA are all clubbed under the euphemism, “ABCD.” In other words, American Born Confused Desi. Desi loosely translates as Indian native. There is some truth to this as the question of identity hits each of us when we enter young adulthood. Ethnicity is a huge part of this, and for Indian Americans it is a double whammy—they are so different from their peers born and raised in India, yet so different to their American peers too. I love how Tanuja addresses these challenges in her story.

Born Confused

By Tanuja Desai Hidier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Born Confused as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tanuja Desai Hidier's fantastically acclaimed cross-cultural debut comes to PUSH!

Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a "suitable boy." Of course it doesn't go well -- until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web . Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue. This is a funny, thoughtful story about finding your…


Malgudi Days

By R. K. Narayan,

Book cover of Malgudi Days

It is hard to say whether the stories of Malgudi Days are for children or adults. R.K. Narayan, the pioneer of early Indian literature in English, has written a series of delightful books based upon a fictional village called Malgudi. This first one is a collection containing 32 short stories, a series of lovable characters. I especially love how he portrays the teen angst of characters like Iswaren, Ramu, and Sambu whose lives determined by passing exams, are so far from the lives of South Asian teens in the West. Unlike today’s stories with pacing and riveting plots, this one is a lesson in slowing down to take a deep and close examination of Indian rural life, particularly for these young adults in Malgudi.

Malgudi Days

By R. K. Narayan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malgudi Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing this collection of stories, R. K. Narayan describes how in India 'the writer has only to look out of the window to pick up a character and thereby a story'. Malgudi Days is the marvellous result. Here Narayan portrays an astrologer, a snake-charmer, a postman, a vendor of pies and chappatis - all kinds of people, drawn in full colour and endearing domestic detail. And under his magician's touch the whole imaginary city of Malgudi springs to life, revealing the essence of India and of human experience.


The Loophole

By Naz Kutub,

Book cover of The Loophole

Being gay is a true challenge in conservative South Asian households, regardless of religion and regardless of how progressive the families purport to be. I love Naz's wit and fast-paced tale of a Queer Muslim boy. And I love the fantasy elements too, with the djinn! In so many ways, Sy and Reggie’s journey reminds me of a modern version of Aladdin.

The Loophole

By Naz Kutub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Loophole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sy is a sheltered and timid seventeen-year-old queer Indian-Muslim boy who placed all his bets at happiness on his boyfriend Farouk...who then left him to try and "fix the world." Sy was too chicken to take the plunge and travel with him. Stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job with a Quran-wielding father who's all too liberal with the belt, all Sy can do is wish for another chance...

He never expects his wish to be granted.

When a hot-mess-of-an-heiress slams into (and slides down, streaks of make-up in her wake) the front window of the coffee shop, Sy just…


The River Between Us

By Richard Peck,

Book cover of The River Between Us

Lots of blood and guts in this book. It’s 1916, and Howard is learning what happened to his family back in 1861. That’s when a pair of young women stepped off a Mississippi River steamboat, and into a tiny town on the Illinois side. The townsfolk - noting the elegance of one girl, and the dark skin of the other - decide they are seeing a mistress and her slave, and go back to arguing about what really interests them: which of their boys are going to fight for the North? Which are going to fight for the South? The Pruitt family has the same concerns - and makes the same assumptions - as everybody else. But in wartime, everything can be turned upside down.

The River Between Us

By Richard Peck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The River Between Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers,…


Once You Know This

By Emily Blejwas,

Book cover of Once You Know This

This beautiful book opens with the line, “Every day Mr. McInnis tells us to imagine our future.” Unfortunately, for Brittany, she can’t envision a future that holds anything good. Her mother is in an abusive and controlling relationship and her grandmother suffers from dementia. I love that this book shows a positive teacher, a mom who, despite her own bad choices, truly loves her children, and a family willing to go to bat for one another. Extra points for the intergenerational storyline of a grandmother who lives with the family.

Once You Know This

By Emily Blejwas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once You Know This as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A girl wishes for a better life for herself, her mom, and her baby brother and musters the courage to make it happen in this moving and emotionally satisfying story for readers of Kate DiCamillo and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

“Once You Know This reminds me of a flower blooming in the crack of a sidewalk. It’s important, and it’s special. Just read it.”—Ali Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Thing About Jellyfish
 
Eleven-year-old Brittany knows there has to be a better world out there. Lately, though, it sure doesn’t feel like it. She and her best friend, Marisol,…


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