‘Mango Memories’ Is A Homegrown Picture Book Celebrating Culture, Family, & Tradition

‘Mango Memories’ Is A Homegrown Picture Book Celebrating Culture, Family, & Tradition
Sita Singh & Nabi H. Ali

Every summer, a young South Asian girl eagerly awaits the moment when the branches of her favorite tree overflow with ripe, tempting mangoes. This year, finally old enough, she's brimming with excitement to participate in the family's annual mango harvesting ritual.

This story of 'Mango Memories' unfolds around the act of picking mangoes, creating a heartwarming narrative about the importance of tradition and the creation of lasting memories. The girl's older brother shares his cherished memory of his first harvest, describing the thrill of his father supporting him as he reached for the highest mangoes. However, when the girl attempts to climb the tree herself, she's met with a wave of dizziness. Undeterred, her wise grandmother recounts her own mango memory, detailing the technique of using a stone to dislodge the fruit from the branches. But despite her repeated attempts, the girl's throws fall short. 

The crux of the story lies in the young protagonist's determination to create her own unique mango memory. Faced with initial setbacks, she doesn't give up. The narrative beautifully captures the spirit of perseverance and the importance of finding one's own way to contribute to cherished traditions.

Around all the lush mango groves, the book is a window into South Asian culture. Author Sita Singh's words are infused with warmth and a deep understanding of the significance of family traditions. The illustrations by Nabi H. Ali bring the story to life with stunning visuals, portraying the mangoes themselves as almost characters, bursting with colour against the exuburent greenery.

Praised for its ability to capture the excitement of a tradition familiar to many South Asian families, 'Mango Memories' resonates with readers of all backgrounds. The palpable joy of the family's bonding and the heartwarming message about creating personal traditions make this a must-read for children and adults alike.

Beyond the immediate story, 'Mango Memories' offers a glimpse into the author's background. Sita Singh, born and raised in Ahmedabad, India, brings her own cultural experiences to the book. Her passion for crafting heartwarming stories with a South Asian backdrop is evident, as demonstrated by her previous work, "Birds of a Feather," and her upcoming picture book, "Indigo Hands."

Similarly, the illustrator, Nabi H. Ali, contributes his own cultural perspective. A Tamil-American artist known for his diverse works celebrating a range of cultures, Ali's illustrations perfectly complement the story's message of inclusivity. His previous works, including the critically acclaimed "Laxmi's Mooch," showcase his talent for bringing diverse characters and cultures to life.

'Mango Memories' is a celebration of family, tradition, and the simple joy of harvesting a delicious fruit. With its heartwarming narrative, stunning illustrations, and underlying message of cultural appreciation, this book is sure to become a precious part of any bookshelf.