Threads of Peace: How Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Changed the World

2021, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum

“…attractive design, lucid text, and carefully chosen details combine to create an inviting and original treatment of its subjects. History has been carefully intertwined with the present in this engaging and reflective book.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Two at the Top: A Shared Dream of Everest

2021, Groundwood Books

Illustrated by Christopher Corr

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh


2017, Tu Books/Lee & Low

“…provides a rich basis for a discussion of prejudice and the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs.” School Library Journal

“This feminist book doesn’t shy away from the political (“They knew how democracy worked, how some people were allowed to be a part of it and others were not”) and will pair well with other middle-grade historical novels about the struggle for civil rights.” The Horn Book

“A refreshingly different WWII story for middle-grade readers, with an empowering protagonist at its heart.” Booklist

“There’s a lot packed into this novel: racism, sexism, politics…All of these things matter in the bigger world of ideas and action and social justice, of course, but here they matter first and foremost because Maria cares about her family and community….At the same time, none of them change the fact that she is still a girl who wants to play ball, and author Uma Krishnaswami weaves them artfully through the story of Maria and her team.” Megan Schliesman/Reading While White

  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • Winner, APALA Children’s Literature Award
  • Amelia Bloomer List
  • CCBC Choices 2018
  • United Methodist Women 2019 Reading Program pick
  • Bank Street Best Books 2018
  • FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature/LA Public Library) award 2018
  • Eureka! California in Children’s Literature list
  • South Asia Book Award highly recommended title
  • Shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

Book Uncle and Me


2016, North American edition, Groundwood Books
Illustrated by Julianna Swaney

“Yasmin’s campaign should help inspire young readers to believe in their own potential to make a difference and teach the valuable lesson that sometimes it takes several small actions to make big moves. ” Kirkus Reviews (starred)


Winner, Scholastic Asian Book Award, 2011
Illustrated by Priya Kurian
2012, Scholastic India, Scholastic Singapore
2013, Scholastic Australia

Winner, 2013 Crossword (India) Book award in the children’s category.


“…joyfully celebrates diversity and pluralism simply by presenting a situation where a motley bunch of warm-hearted, fiercely individualistic people come together for a cause…succeeds in transcending cultural boundaries by giving us characters whom we care about in a story with universal appeal.” Goodbooks India

“Short chapters, fabulous characters and lovely illustrations make this an enjoyable book for children from 8 up.” Buzzwords (Australia)

Buy Indian edition now

Buy Australian edition now

Buy Canadian/US edition now

Bright Sky, Starry City

Illustrated by Aimee Sicuro, 2015, Groundwood Books

9781554984053_1024x1024“A gentle tale of a shared father/daughter enterprise, and Sicuro’s mixed-media illustrations, with their gauzy chalk and translucent watercolor touches, convey both the objective and emotive pleasures of stargazing.”Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Bright Sky, Starry City is an enchanting way to introduce youngsters to stargazing as well as to the issue of light pollution that makes it such a challenge in urban areas.” Canadian Review of Materials (4 stars)

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The Girl of the Wish Garden

Illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi, 2013, Groundwood Books

9781554983247-1_0 “Text that sings like poetry narrates a gorgeous re-envisioning of Thumbelina….A must.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Krishnaswami successfully utilizes elements from the original tale to weave a fresh and invigorating story that even purists will enjoy.” Canadian Review of Materials (4 stars)

The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic

Illustrated by Abigail Halpin, 2013, Atheneum

Downloadable Activiti Kit: Grand and Heroic Kit

9781442423282 “…a fun young reader novel that challenges stereotypes just by existing: Dini’s friends Maddie and Brenna, who happen to be white, are as obsessed with Dolly and Hindi films as Dini is; rose petal milkshakes are the most delicious drink in the novel; and chocolate cake with rose petals is the most sought after food. The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic is a great novel for breaking out of one’s bubble and “exploring” another culture; seeing characters like yourself, your family, and your friends; and imagining what it would be like to meet and befriend your favorite celebrity.” South Asian American Digital Archive

A Junior Library Guild selection

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Illustrated by Abigail Halpin, 2011, Atheneum


“…Set in imagined Swapnagiri (which means Dream Mountain), this high-energy concoction is thoroughly believable and entertaining. The story is told in a third-person present-tense voice that rings true to its protagonist, who sees her life as a movie script…Full of references to Bollywood movie traditions and local customs, this is a delightful romp with a fresh setting and a distinctive and appealing main character.”Kirkus Reviews

Blog Tour May 20-June 17, 2011: Links archived at Writing With a Broken Tusk

Starred reviews: Kirkus and Publishers Weekly

Chicago Tribune review

Smithsonian BookDragon review

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Out of the Way! Out of the Way

Illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy, 2010, Tulika Books, 2011, Groundwood Books

 out_of_the_way“Krishnaswami’s spare text tracks the tree’s growth over time, with the titular refrain, “Out of the Way! Out of the Way!” giving voice to those who hurry past it…. The message to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the tree) comes through effectively as spreads become more and more saturated with imagery that crowds out white space.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

June 2010 blog tour links archived at Writing With a Broken Tusk

USBBY Outstanding International Book List, 2013

United Nations Sustainable Development Reading Goals Book Club selection

Buy Indian Edition Now

Buy Canadian/US Edition Now

Many Windows

by Rukhsana Khan, Uma Krishnaswami, Elisa Carbone, 2008, Napoleon & Company

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Remembering Grandpa

Illustrated by Layne Johnson, 2007, Boyds Mills Press


“[A] sensitive story. …Daysha makes for a happy, hopeful heroine. The attractive artwork, done in oils, sparkles with sunlight and glows at sunset. A good lead-in to discussions about remembering those who have gone.” Booklist

“…the treatment is particularly lovely and will be a welcome addition to the shelves of titles on this topic.” Kirkus Reviews

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Bringing Asha Home

Illustrated by Jamel Akib, 2006, Lee & Low Books

Asha Cover1_1
“Uma Krishnaswami’s warm, realistic story looking at adoption from the point of view of a young child features a biracial family.” CCBC Choices 2007

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The Closet Ghosts

llustrated by Shiraaz Bhabha, 2006, Children’s Book Press/Lee & Low Books

closetghosts“Bhabha’s color-drenched paintings perfectly complement Krishnaswami’s tale that incorporates a contemporary setting with the tradition of the Hindu Monkey God…A unique tale that is worthy of a wide audience.” Kirkus Reviews

SAWNET review of The Closet Ghosts

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The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story

Illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran, 2005, Lee & Low Books


“Painterly acrylic forms convey nuances of Indian culture and Meena’s facial and body contortions as she learns her roles on stage and in yoga class. Krishnaswami aptly conveys the essence and impact of yoga on a child.” Kirkus Reviews
…a child-centered story that integrates the yoga elements of the plot naturally into the narrative…Ruth Jeyaveeran’s colorful acrylic illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this story, which features a girl of Indian descent. Meena’s anxieties will be recognizable to many children. Likewise, her developing interest in yoga is one that will resonate with many children and families today.” Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Book talk, The Happiest Tree, on publisher web site.

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The Broken Tusk

2005, August House (orig. 1996, Linnet Books)


“Opens perceptual doors to a great and still vital Eastern tradition-a gift indeed.” Kirkus Reviews

*1997 Scientific American Young Readers Book Award

*Elementary School Library Collection, 21st ed.

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Chachaji’s Cup

Illustrated by Soumya Sitaraman, 2003, Children’s Book Press/Lee & Low Books

chachaji“This touching story would make a fine addition to units focusing on immigration to America and the human factor in political upheaval.”  CLCD

“This is a beautifully written and illustrated story about the universal relationship between an elder and a young child.” Multicultural Review

“Doubly valuable for its overall theme, and as a surprisingly rare depiction of an Indian-American family.” Kirkus Reviews

*included in Best Children’s Books of the Year (2003), Bank Street College of Education
* 2004 Skipping Stones Award (Multicultural and International Books category)
* 2004 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People

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Rookie Read – About Holidays: Holi

2003, Children’s Press

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Stories of the Flood

1994, Roberts Rinehart

“The content is sophisticated, yet the treatment of the tales makes them accessible to a wide audience.” Booklist.




Hello Flower

Illustrated by Winifred Barnum-Newman

For more on this title, visit 
Bebop Books, the educational imprint of Lee & Low. Available in English and Spanish 6-packs for classroom use.



Yoga Class

Illustrated by Stephanie Roth

yogaFor more on this title, visit Bebop Books, the educational imprint of Lee & Low. Available in English and Spanish 6-packs for classroom use.





Illustrated by Jamel Akib, 2003, Farrar Straus

Monsoon“A welcome glimpse into another climate and culture…” Booklist

“Krishnaswami’s poetic text rides faithfully on the child’s sensibilities….This powerful book depicts a universal occurrence, while relating the expectations, customs, and needs of a particular locale.” School Library Journal

“The level of anticipation is so high that every engine rumble sounds like thunder….An expressive story about seasons, extremes, and waiting.” Kirkus Reviews

“Add this book to a read-aloud list for children and parents everywhere.” Parents’ Choice. “The sights, sounds and smells of anticipation are captured in a dense, earthy poetry that is anchored with clear, easily conjured images.” Children’s Literature

Naming Maya

Both 2004, Farrar Straus Giroux
*2005 Notable Books for a Global Society

namingmaya“Both setting and protagonist are entirely memorable, and difficult to leave behind.”  Kirkus Reviews

“Krishnaswami evokes the “maddening, dazzling place” with rich, poetic imagery, and she beautifully captures Maya’s shift from anger that “has simmered so long it has become a friend” to appreciation, understanding, and love.” Booklist

“Maya’s beautifully written, heartwarming story will surely become a “two-gift” for young readers–you keep some, you give some away–whether they share Maya’s experiences or simply empathize with them.” CLCD

Soul Searching: Thirteen Stories about Faith and Belief

Edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino, 2001, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

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Period Pieces: Stories for Girls

by Erzsi Deak, Kristin Embry Litchman, 2000, HarperCollins





Shower of Gold

showerThis title published by Linnet Books, the children’s imprint of The Shoe String Press, is out of print. From 1952 to 2005, the press produced a distinguished array of reference books, scholarly reprints, and children’s books. Diantha Thorpe, publisher, and an editor of rare insight,  retired with the closure of the press. I’m grateful to her for believing in my work, and wish her the very best.

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Beyond the Field Trip: Teaching and Learning in Public Places


For teachers. Teaching and learning in National Parks, museums, and monuments.

 Look for this out of print title on