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Milky Way: A Boy, the New Moon, and India

Milky Way is an absolutely delightful new book for young readers from Yali publishers, written by Mamta Nainy and illustrated by Siddhartha Tripathi.

Set in rural northern India, in a village nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Milky Way is the story of the little boy Tashi.

Tashi loves to look out his window at night – to “listen to the distant sounds of the gongs from the Gonpa (Buddhist temple), gaze at the mountains covered in velvety darkness, or mimic the purring of a house cat that sat outside…” Soon he starts to feel a special friendship with the full moon. He tells the moon his thoughts, and the moon gives him back its “special smile – eyes closed and no teeth showing.”

Of course, soon the moon starts looking thinner than usual, and Tashi starts to worry! The story describes Tashi’s feelings as the moon becomes a sliver, his discovery one evening that his grandmother Momo-ley is drinking a special glass of milk to celebrate “New Moon Night,” and his plan to revive the moon by leaving offerings of milk on his bedroom windowsill.

And of course the moon does come back, and Tashi is happy again (and meanwhile the house cat has enjoyed a wonderful extra treat for a few days!)

Within this outline, author Mamta Nainy fills in with wonderful details – the noodle-soup and dumplings Tashi’s mother (Amma-ley) prepares for him, the woven wrap his grandmother wears, the bus that brings villagers home from work at night, the school where Tashi plays with his friends Chodin and Stanzin.

Siddhartha Tripathi’s illustrations add to the detail – I love his moon’s cheerful but inscrutable face that goes through all its seasons with a wide smile (no teeth showing). Tripathi’s alternating cool blue tones and warm reds and yellows add liveliness to the story, while at the same time conveying peace and stability even as Tashi himself is beset temporarily by worries about his friend the moon.

One of the many delights of this book is that it works on so many levels.

For starters, it is a sweet and simple story for young children about the worries and fears that a child’s active imagination can generate, but are then resolved. Tashi’s mother and grandmother are part of a loving, supportive background, but not the main focus. Milky Way will resonate with any child who is observant, who likes to look at the world around her and wants to make logical sense out of all the little details.

At the same time, Milky Way is a fabulous springboard to further exploration of many topics:

– why the moon waxes and wanes, and other details about the solar system;

– what it’s like to grow up in another country, and in India specifically – and even regional differences within India;

– the concept of foreign languages (starting with the little glossary of terms in the back of Milky Way);

– what Buddhism is, and how the religion is practiced publicly and at home;

– how the cycles of the moon feature in many cultures and religions, including Judaism and Islam (good follow-on books for kids 5-9 are “New Month New Moon” from Kar-Ben Books and “The White Nights of Ramadan” from Boyds Mills Press.)

Yali Books is an independent publisher with a focus on South Asian cultures, and Milky Way’s author and illustrator both live and work in India. Their work is a beautifully authentic sharing of their own lives, their own childhood experiences. And Milky Way is a lovely way to bring some of that sharing into your own child’s life. I highly recommend it for everyone!


This book is reviewed as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book CouncilJunior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey PressCandlewick PressLoving Lion BooksSecond Story PressStar Bright BooksWorldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone PublishingAuthor Charlotte RiggleChild’s Play USAKidLit TVPack-n-Go GirlsPlum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot BooksCarole P. RomanCharlesbridge PublishingDr. Crystal BoweGokul! WorldGreen Kids ClubGwen JacksonJacqueline WoodsonJuan J. GuerraLanguage LizardLee & Low BooksRhymeTime StorybooksSanya Whittaker GraggTimTimTom BooksWaterBrook & MultnomahWisdom Tales Press


2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-GrandAuthor Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2LaunchBollywood Groove BooksAuthor Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Eugenia ChuAuthor Lesa Cline-RansomeAuthor Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 PublishingDesi BabiesAuthor Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek PressAuthor Judy Dodge CummingsAuthor D.G. DriverAuthor Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl PublishingDebbi Michiko FlorenceAuthor Josh FunkAuthor Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie GlennGlobe Smart KidsAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleAuthor Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet OdditiesAuthor Kizzie JonesAuthor Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.comAuthor Karen Leggett AbourayaAuthor Sylvia LiuAuthor Sherri MaretAuthor Melissa Martin Ph.D.Author Lesli MitchellPinky Mukhi and We Are OneAuthor Miranda PaulAuthor Carlotta PennReal Dads ReadGreg RansomAuthor Sandra L. RichardsRealMVPKids Author Andrea ScottAlva Sachs and Three Wishes PublishingShelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa TakaokaAuthor Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. WangAuthor Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.



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