The Ultimate Resource List of South Asian Toys, Books & Inspiration for Children

Sneak peek draft! Looking for books or toys that celebrate being South Asian? Whether you are Indian or Pakistani or Sri Lankan, the market for high quality products for our children is exploding.

This is my resource list of books, publishers, and educational toys for the desi baby. If you have a recommendation or a brand, comment or email me.

FTC Disclosure: These are some affiliate links and I make a small commission if you buy through them (and it does not affect your price!). Buying through them means you help support this blog to continue to produce fabulous content. Namaskar.

Books & Publishers:
Twinkle Twinkle, Diwali Lights
Meet My Hindu Gods
My First Indian Coloring book
Krishna & Friends puzzle
10 Noisy Rickshaws
Indian truck and rickshaw stickers

Desi Babies

Twinkle Twinkle, Diwali Lights
Meet My Hindu Gods
My First Indian Coloring book
Krishna & Friends puzzle
10 Noisy Rickshaws
Indian truck and rickshaw stickers

Bharat Books
Always Anjali
Sarla in the Sky
Ganesh and the Little Mouse
Indian Alphabet

Studio Yali
A Puzzling Tour of India – Studio Yali
Take a bewildering trip through India that will have you winding your way through Assam’s tea estates, putting together a snake boat race in Kerala, and hunting for antiques at Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar. Just don’t get lost along the way!
Auge: 6 years+

Wanderlust: A Coloring Journal – Studio Yali
A Coloring Journal features 25 gorgeous scenes from lesser-known regions in India with travel notes by the artist, making this book an unforgettable tour of one of the most colorful places in the world.
Age: 10 years+

Hena Khan
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, I had no idea how big she was, I was just fueling my desi obsession. She has a new book on shapes, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, as well as books on Ramadan and holidays, Night of the Moon, It’s Ramadan, Curious George

Meenal Patel Studio – Illustrator and author Meenal does prints and books. Local to San Francisco Bay Area.
Neela Goes to San Francisco.

Diwali, Celebrate the World Series – Board Book

My Diwali Coloring Book
Age: 4+, 24 pages

Education & Toys:
Toka Box – Curated education boxes for older toddlers and young children.
Age: 3-5 years old, 5-7 years old

Modi Toys

Jai Jai Hooray

Language learning:

Sanskar Teaching – Learn Gujarati online with live and recorded classes. For children to adults.

Bolo Bolo Baby – Gujarati and Hindi Montessori inspired learning for children three years and up.

Hindi alphabet blocks – Uncle Goose

Gnaana alphabet blocks – Gnaana

A is for Anaar: My First Hindi Alphabet Book – Gnaana

More to come!

Best Ways to Learn Gujarati For Parents & Children

My life has always been a linguistic mess. My parents spoke English to me, to each other they spoke Marathi and my mother spoke Gujarati, English, Marathi, and Hindi.

Not to mention my years of learning French and living in Sweden speaking Swedish, it’s a giant language mess!

Flash forward to today where we speak Swedish and English at home. I have never been a fluent, or even high level speaker of my native Indian language (regrets abound there), which means my children have limited exposure.

The last few months though I have been looking around for ways to improve my Gujarati, my mother’s language. Googling didn’t get me anywhere and the few books I have on hand are boring, pedantic, and literally not-colorful. I began searching on Instagram. Not by hashtags, but by following friends of friends.

Yes, that’s how desperate I was to find a way to learn Gujarati as a foreigner.

And this led me to the jackpot. First, I found Sanskar Teaching. Vaishali is India born and moved to the US while in high school. This is important because she understands how we learn in the US (not by route memorization) and can pull from creative teaching styles.

She offers live online classes for children (and adults!) as well as, go at your pace Gujarati classes. To supplement there are flash cards and games (see my review on them) and digital downloads. You can also join the email newsletter and receive loads of freebies. Currently available are bhajans for children!

The second person I met on Instagram, whom I don’t know personally but am in complete awe of her, is Sage_ness. Sejal is a Indian American Gujarati mom of four children and raises them in a fully immersed Montessori Gujarati life.

Yes, Montessori teaching in Gujarati. She focuses on how have a Montessori home through the eyes of an Indian family. You can find Hindi and Gujarati sandpaper letters, color wheel, and even a make your own Diwali rangoli.

Both Sanskar Teaching and Sage-Ness are a great place to start your language immersion into Gujarati. Find them on Instagram and their websites to get started on your Gujarati language journey.

Gujarati Alphabet Flashcards & Memory Games

In my endeavor to learn Gujarati and introduce the kids to my mother’s mother tongue, I stumbled upon Sanskar Learning on Instagram.

It was serendipitous that I found Vaishali on Insta – she has short videos, word of the day, and easy ways to access Gujarati as a non-speaker.


After following her, we began chatting. She was so much fun to talk with. Vaishali took my mailing address and a week later I received a surprise package from her!

In it was a flashcard set of the Gujarati alphabet and a memory game card set. They were beautifully made, durable, AND useful!

My son (3 years old) and I have started playing memory matching, card side up, since he is learning the words and matching. Once he masters this part, we can play the memory game with the cards face down.

As for the alphabet, we do that at the dining table with the kids. Even my husband is learning words. (PS – I will post a video working on the Gujarati alphabet with the kids)

Both these cards are both educational and fun. They are perfect from 3 years to adult, like myself or even my husband. The only part that is missing is having a video access online to know the pronunciation. I know how to pronounce most of the words, but I do want to double check that I am teaching the correct with the kids.

Either way, it’s exciting to see products for Indians on the market! Stay tuned as we continue our exploration into being Indian as Americans.

20 Things You Must Do Before Having Your First Baby

Wondering what to do for yourself in those last months of pregnancy? Sure, you are belly deep in nesting and buying diapers or onesies, but what about yourself mom?

These are your last months with you and your spouse ALL BY YOURSELF. After this, there’s no going back. You will forever have another little person attached to you.

I crowdsourced these “must haves” self-care ideas with veteran and new moms. From getting yourself a pedicure to sleeping as much as you want, this is your time to shine and enjoy those last pre-baby moments in life.

1. Non-pregnancy related doctor appointments – Get yours eyes with your annual vision appointment, dental cleaning and checkups, dermatology, and any other medical appointment that has nothing to do with baby.

2. Talk to insurance about your annual deductible and copays – If you have health insurance, you may get lucky to meet your deductible and co-pays with the birth of baby because of the sheer cost bill by the hospital to insurance. Get on the phone now with the insurance provider and find out how much may be covered and what your expected out of pocket is.

Also find out what your annual deductible, copay, and coinsurance amounts are. If you are lucky, you’ll meet them with the birth of baby and your remaining medical costs for the year will be cheaper to almost free. This is a good time to get that prescription list together.

3. Nap and sleep more – At some point it’s going to suck to sit, sleep, stand, lie down because of baby’s position in the uterus. Doesn’t matter, because you need rest. Whenever you are not working, hang out and relax. It’s okay to watch an extra episode, err season, of The Great British Baking Show. Actually just nap whenever, wherever!

4. Have sex – Yes, you can have sex when you are pregnant. Pregnancy hormones make you crazy, why not go crazy?

5. Chop up basic veggies – Chop onions, carrots, potatoes, etc and freeze. You can then make quick meals without relying on expensive frozen foods.

6. Fancy food – Treat yourself to long, fancy lunches/dinners especially at non-child friendly places. You might not be able to have a glass of champagne but you can enjoy beautifully served food.

7. Pamper yourself – Manicures, pedicures, facials, waxes, get it all done now!

8. TV show list – Make a list of easy going TV shows to watch postpartum during the random hours you and spouse will be awake with the newborn in the first weeks.

9. Go to the movie theater – When will be the next opportunity you will get to go to the theater? 2028? 2031? Whenever you get rid of the kids? Remember the good old days where date night consisted of dinner and a movie, do that again!

10. Get out in nature – Whether you are hiking or driving through the woods, go enjoy nature without lugging around a diaper bag, a stroller, a baby carrier, and a baby. You may not be able to do much hiking, but you can enjoy those beautiful sunsets.

11. Babymoon – There is the honeymoon when you get married, and the babymoon for just before a baby. A lovely way to take a proper vacation with spouse and/or friends. We went to Hawaii with best friends for a week and it was amazing. I still remember it as one of the best trips of our lives.

12. Fix your house – No matter what you do, you will end up nesting. Sorting clothes, baby toys, diapers, wipes, medicines, and overstocking with useless items (true story). What you really need to do is fix things that need to get done in the house. Shelves, unpack boxes, sort out a closet, buy lounge chairs. Honestly, my husband put up the sun umbrella the day I was in labor. It was on his to-do list for a month, but he finally put it up (after much screaming, lol) when I told him we are having this baby today. TODAY! Cue laughing face and rolling around hilariously.

13. Meet friends – Dinner, fika (coffee), lunch dates, get out with your friends! If you are the first in your group to have a child, this is important for you. No matter what you say (and how much eye rolling you are doing at me), you lose time to hang out on a whim. Sure, you will see your friends, but it won’t be the same.

14. Girls Night Out – Speaking of meeting friends, go out for a girls night out. Get dressed up and enjoy time with your girlfriends.

15. Work auto-email & processes – Make sure your work processes are in place well before you go on maternity leave. Who will take over? Who leads projects? You will not be answering emails, sitting on calls or otherwise herding cats at your company. Hop to it and have a plan in place. Also make sure your auto email letter is set and will start on a specific date – usually the last day you work. If you go into labor earlier, turn on your auto responder immediately. Since you already wrote the response email, it’s one less thing on your list.

16. Car tune up – Take your car in for servicing. Oil change, alignment, tire rotation, standard service checks, go in now. There’s nothing like having a 2 week old baby and needing service on your mode of transportation.

17. Pets? – Buy extra everything: food, litter, medicine. Take them in for their annual checkup. Your fur baby will soon have a human sibling, be ready for jealously and acting out.

18. Hospital bags – Pack your hospital bag for yourself and your spouse. Once you hit 36 weeks you are considered term and baby can show anytime.

Get ready for the time of your life. Everything is about to change and be turned upside down. It good, bad, and beautiful.

Love your last moments as an adult without responsibility before embarking on the adventure of parenthood.

Moon Phases Printable Sheet

Made a quick printable to celebrate equinox and the harvest moon (full moon).

You can print a moon phase with text or without text on 8.5×11 letter paper.

Moon phases with text. Click on the image and save as. They are .png and not .pdf’s. Sorry, I didn’t have time to convert them!

Moon phases without text

Images are courtesy of NASA. Please feel free to print for your own personal use or home school classroom. Link to this post if you want to give a shout-out online. Thank you!

Judgemental Jerk Ideas We Have of Mothers

I want to tell you something. Whether you are a new mom, becoming a mom, or reading here because you’re interested in learning about small creatures, we have all been jerks.

To nursing moms, to new moms, to working moms, to all moms.

You know deep down you have judged a mom, consciously or not. We have misinformation, disinformation, and flat out prejudice against mothers that we all drink the kool-aid and expect them to be picture perfect people.

Judgmental Jerk Idea 1: Every woman can breastfeed
I honestly thought that every woman can breastfeed easily. In my head, I excluded women with illnesses or breast cancer, but everyone else breastfeeding should be easy.

There isn’t a biology book in the world that explains breastfeeding is the most difficult and tiring job for mammals. Sure, watching mommy pig nurse 10 piglets looked excruciating. Humans, we only have one or two children at most to nurse. How difficult can that be? After all, if a baby cannot nurse, they die (historically speaking over thousands of years); those babies must be able to latch easily and quickly.

I wish someone told me way back when this is worse than labor and the most demanding thing you will do physically to your body. And when people judge you or you judge others on they should feed their newborns (not solids of course), they can screw off.

Judgmental Jerk Idea 2: Not Helping Moms in public when they need it
It’s tough to know when a mom needs help. Sometimes it is carrying things, sometimes it is holding the door open, sometimes it is being funny with other children to help turn their tears in smiles. And sometimes it’s giving a mom a full helping hand when there vomit all over the place.

Whatever you do, help a mom a little more than you would help anyone else. Sure, in my pre-baby days, I would help moms carry strollers, especially in Stockholm, and hold doors for them. Could I have done more? Probably.

All that good karma you extend to another mother will come back to you.

Judgemental Jerk Idea 3: Thinking kids eating cookies, candies, and junk food is bad
To be clear, we could all eat less sugar and salt food in our diets. And toddlers and young children should eat the least of all. But guess what. Not every parent has the luxury to make their children a home cooked meal for every meal nor may they be able to afford food. And some parents work 10/12/15 hour days to make ends meet. Who am I to judge what those children eat as long as their parents love them, feed them, and give them a safe place to live?

Maybe it is more that some parents need education on how to best feed their children rather than be judged for their actions. But you know, *socialism* happens when we try to have a national policy to help people less fortunate than us. (I am eye rolling at you if you think socialism is that evil.)

Judgemental Jerk Idea 4: Babies who don’t sleep through the night = bad parenting
Hahaha, what a dumb idea that is! Babies who don’t sleep through the night or nap are…wait for it…BABIES!

No matter what kind of parenting we do, we are going to lose the war with them. We already know, babies can be the jerks when it comes to sleep. They only appreciate sleep when they are 14 years old and we can barely move them out of bed.

The irony of life, hahaha.

Judgmental Jerk Idea 5: Moms who work are not supporting the family
It makes me livid to know people think moms who work outside the house are not doing their jobs as good moms.

Moms can and should work. Period. We live in a society today that requires two person working homes to pay the bills. And women have equal brains to men, so why not use their brains? Why not have dreams and aspirations?

Working moms tend to be happier moms. And happier moms are more productive moms.

Let’s be nicer to each other. Ok?

The Quest to Help a Struggling Baby Nap – Day 8

Today we had a couple big wins! Number one: I put baby in crib and she did not scream like a banshee! Number 2: I found out she might be hungry when going to sleep, so I offered a small bowl of solid food (strawberries). That put her in a good mood to sleep.

I am feeling that we are reaching the end of the tunnel. There is hope, real hope to get out of this mess. It is only day 8 and we have no idea what will happen over the next weeks, but still, there’s hope!

There really is hope!

Need to catch up? See what happened on Day 7.

22:30 awake, nursed
19:50 nursed and fell asleep with some fussing
19:40 back in crib, fed few strawberries (farmer’s market pickup) – surprised she was hungry
19:30 put baby in crib, sat on yoga ball. She did not cry!!! Played puzzle, read book for 10 min
19:20 nursed in bed
16:05 gave to daddy, tried for 30 min, did not go back to sleep
15:30+ on/off screaming, nursing, screaming, extremely overtired
14:55 awake, crying, nursed, being silly, nursed again, rocking. Eventually laid down baby to whine – still in crib
13:50 put herself to sleep, was in crib ignoring her
13:35 laying her down when she stands up, not happy
13:05 nursed in crib 15 min, then played and read books
12:30 small lunch
10:45 watermelon snack
10:20 awake! Slept the whole time!
09:10 asleep
08:50 nursing and books
07:30 nurse
05:30 nurse
02:45 night nurse

There is too much night nursing going on, but right now, I need to fix the daytime sleeping in order to gain some much needed sanity.

Day 9 features two sick kiddos. Spoiler alert!

The Quest to Help a Struggling Baby Nap – Day 11

All I have to say today is WOW.

WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW

Can we also get a HALLELUJAH?!

Baby has now fallen asleep FIVE times by herself with NO screaming! I will stop using capital letters, though this is the biggest breakthrough since she was born.

I am PROUD of her!

In the past two days she has:
Fallen asleep by herself
Played in the crib by herself
Laughed in the crib
Allowed me to sing from outside the crib

If you have an older baby (six months and older) and suffering from nap issues, behold, there is hope! Real hope! From a regular mom like me. I wrote a mid-challenge summary over here.

We are only in Day 11 of my quest to help her nap and push through sleep issues. She is also sick. However, being a constant, overtired baby to where we are now, is night and day.

As usual, here is our time schedule for the day.

20:25 asleep! BY HERSELF!!!
20:15 left in crib alone, played with toy
20:00 nursed again
20:15 put in crib with pillow vibrator
19:30 fixed crib
19:00 nursed
18:30 dinner (late)
Snack
Wonderful evening
15:50 awake!
13:42 stopped crying and fell asleep!
13:35 left in crib, crying
13:10 nursed in bed, played
12:40 Good lunch
10-10:50 was in crib by herself!!! Woke up, played, fell asleep – no crying!!!!!
10:50 awake!
10:20 fell asleep?
10:05 awake
09:30 asleep
09:20 put on white noise, turn on bed vibrator, in crib but ignoring baby, whining protest (not screaming at least)
09:00 nursed, upset, definitely not well
08:00 small breakfast
00:10 crying, sick – lost voice, nursed all night

What will Day 12 bring? It is the long weekend and that means brother is home. Let’s hope they both sleep well!

How to Help an Older Baby Nap

We did it! We made it to Day 11 on the quest to get baby to take naps. I am the mom who has an older baby, 10 months, who needs to be held constantly while napping or in motion by means of stroller or car.

As you can guess, neither options are sustainable in the long run. From May when baby was seven months old to now, the journey to get her to sleep ended in multiple failures. To be fair, it was mostly our fault. We did not help her sleep at regular intervals during the critical 4-6 month period where they develop longer term sleep patterns.

Her life has been surrounded by the question, “WHY WON’T YOU SLEEP BABY?!”

The best part about babies is that they area malleable. Even though we did a poor job early on, with commitment, you can get them on track.

After months of going nearly crazy when trying to get baby – stroller walking, driving, rocking, bouncing, nursing – I had to do something drastic.

This is my midpoint post in my 20 day quest to help baby sleep – who knows what will happen in the next ten days. Thus far, these sleep tricks have been helping us:
Make the room dark – The room did not need to be pitch, but definitely dark. Large black poster board paper or roll (on Amazon or Michaels).

Read a goodnight book – Find a goodnight book that talks about the routine or gets baby ready for bed. I have Goodnight Moon, Pajama Party and a Godnattbok (in Swedish). She preferred the Swedish book because it was very simple.

Rub baby’s head – Have you ever received a head rub? It’s amazing isn’t it? You just want to doze right off to sleep. Some babies love a forehead rub, some love an all over rub, and of course some won’t love it at all.

Our baby didn’t like head massages for months, but all of a sudden she loved forehead massages. Now she knows she gets a little rub before falling asleep. She will even grab my hand and move it back and forth on her head to self massage.

Sit in the crib with baby – Once you finish nursing/bottle feeding, reading a book, singing a song, it’s time to let baby sleep. Unfortunately that means you sitting in the crib.

Check your crib manufacturer details if this is possible (I am not responsible for your broken crib) and of course if you even fit into the crib.

I would sit in the crib and ignore baby until she falls asleep. I would then wait 10-15 minutes after she fell asleep before hopping out. It is important to get out before 20 minutes – there is a sleep cycle change and you don’t want to disturb baby.

If you cannot be in the crib with baby, then grab a small stool and sit next to the crib. Hold baby’s hand or stroke her head.

Play white noise – We used white noise for several days and while it helped her by blocking out other noises, I do not think it helps her sleep. Your mileage will vary but it is worth trying out. Find any white noise at different frequencies and see if your baby likes it.

All in all, we are doing well and cannot wait for the next 10 days of nap and sleep training!

The Quest to Help a Struggling Baby Nap – Day 10

Both kiddos fell sick with a cough and cold coupled with a light fever. I gave them tylenol in the morning after breakfast. Bay fell asleep pretty easily. Unfortunately after 20 minutes, I went into the room to reset the vibrating pillow and specifically told my toddler NOT to follow me in the room.

Guess what he did? He followed me into the room. And what happened? Just by talking he woke up baby (if she hears him, she wakes up).

That was such a bummer because I had to spend another 1.5 hours dealing with the on/off/on whining, crying, nursing from her while kiddo was coughing.

He eventually fell asleep but woke up with such a cough, he threw up. Baby is awake and crying.

Turned out to be a miserable morning.

By some miracle, we turned our ship and fed baby; she was famished! I made sheera. Sheera is an Indian breakfast dish made with cream of wheat, saffron, bananas, and a dash of sugar. I wanted an alternate to oatmeal.

After lunch, we all read books together in my bed. Baby was not happy going into the crib and she began screaming. On the plus side, she stopped after five minutes and played until falling asleep. A solid two hour nap.

My toddler decided he would not sleep, so he sat in his room kicking the wall. He was sick and tired, he too needed the sleep. After an hour of masti (nonsense), he fell asleep.

Peace in the house! And the evening went by beautifully.

20:30 nursed, fell asleep easily
15:50 awake!
13:30 asleep!
12:55 put in crib, screaming begins, overtired. Stopped screaming after 5 minutes, then began to play to in crib!
12:30-12:55 read books in bed, nursed
11:40 ate a lot of oatmeal
10:55-11:30 played in crib, some whining – shock!
10:45 left to help brother.
10:35 broke down full crying. Had to nurse. Asleep in arms. Unable to move.
10:10 turned on white noise, crib vibrator, screaming stopped. Calm but whining.
Toddler throws up from coughing
09:50 fed 15 ml water, sunken Fontanelle
09:30 didn’t calm down. Rocked/held calmed down, put back in crib, screaming – rinse repeat
09:25 woke up crying/whining, left for 4-5 minutes to see if she could calm down
08:50 asleep
Hardly ate breakfast
Nursed many times
Sick through the night 🙁