Sugar in Milk (Thrity Umrigar)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sugar in Milk, written by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Khoa Le, a gorgeous and timeless tale of kindness and acceptance.

Told from the point of view of a young immigrant to the United States, the narrator recounts her feelings of loneliness and despair when she first arrived. While she was happy to have her Auntie and Uncle, who had done everything they could to make her feel welcome, she still missed her parents, friends, and cats. One day, her Auntie takes her for a walk and tells her an ancient story of a group of Persian refugees, forced to leave their home and cross the sea in search of a new one. Arriving on the shores of India, they are met by the local king who dismisses them, apologizing yet insisting that there is no room in their country for the newcomers. Since they share no common language, the king demonstrates this by filling a cup to the brim with milk. Yet the leader of the Persian refugees, a kind and clever man, begs for a moment more of the king’s attention – how can he convince the monarch to let his people stay?

Gorgeous. Based on an actual Persian parable, Umrigar’s deft storytelling and gentle prose does a wonderful job of showing the reader that acceptance and diversity are truly timeless concepts. Just as the Persian leader wins over the king by stirring sugar into the milk (showing that the addition of the refugees will only make the kingdom more interesting and sweet), the young modern immigrant is convinced by the tale that the diversity and “newness” of her new home is what makes it all the more special, something that she now brings her own unique sweetness to. With the addition of Le’s incredibly intricate and emotive illustrations, this is a tale that will inspire any young reader to understand the beauty and strength to be found in diversity. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ loved the beautiful artwork. A powerful tale for bookworms of any age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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