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.

My Pop of Color Indian Maternity Photo Shoot

I am excited to share with you my maternity part II photo shoot! We did the first maternity photo shoot two years ago at The Lighthouse at Glen Cove. It’s this secret historic house on the water in Benicia/Vallejo, California, right in the East Bay.

Because we are one part determined and one part crazy, we had a smash cake first birthday photo shoot at the SAME beautiful venue a year later. We wore the same clothes and had similar look to the first session.

And two years after the baby #1, wed planned and executed another photo shoot, for baby #2!
I have some amazing friends and wedding professional colleagues which most definitely helps. Together we put together an elegant and uncomplicated maternity session.

Let me tell you doing a three year time base photo shoot is crazy but absolutely worth it. I wrote about how to plan a time series of family photos successfully here if you want to know more.

Tami Weis of Fancy Fig Photography photographed us for the second year in a row. She is a San Francisco Marin county based wedding and family photographer – and oomph, dare I saw her photos are stunning.

When it comes yearly photo shoots, simple elegance is your best friend. For decor, Nicole at Lifted Balloons (based in Martinez, California) provided the happy and large bubble balloons with tassels. She matched the balloons to my lehenga outfit – magenta and navy blue. Her work is lovely and durable because the streamers today hang in my children’s room.


To glam up – because you’re a mom-to-be and deserve professional care love, I worked with my good friend Timsi Malhotra. She’s a professional wedding makeup artist and just is darling. So lovely, you want to just squeeze her.


We wanted the light and airy makeup look, but not overly traditional maternity style. That is Timsi to the T! She can give you ethereal look but still have the Indian desi glam.

For mehendi I worked with Sabreena at Ritual by Design in San Francisco. You cannot go wrong with her artistry.

I’m going to stop talking and let you fall in love with the photos. Be sure to see our photos from baby #1 and the smash cake. You’re going to love our same same outfits!

Desi Baby Books & Toys to Get in Touch with Your Indian Culture

I have been meaning to write this post forever. Just forever. Every time I’m on Instagram (which, face it, is all the time), I see Indian Desi inspired books, art, and projects for Indian babies and children.

Growing up, there were hardly any books for me to read and feel more connected to my culture. What was around were tiny newspaper print black and white books that just lacked quality and creativity.

I’m so glad those days are gone. Even though we don’t have a huge selection of books for South Asian children, we have a *growing* collection.

Here’s my list of go-to baby and toddler along with activities and a couple toys from small business Indians and Pakistanis. This is THE list if you’re looking for a gift or to enrich your child’s life.

The books can be bought direct from the website, Etsy, or Amazon. Some links below are affiliate and I may make a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase through it. Purchasing through these links also keep me going and pays the coffee and diaper bills! Thank you. <3 Desi Babies – Get your baby started off with Indian culture. From the adorable counting book, 10 Noisy Rickshaws, to My First Hindu Gods, these are perfect board board to introduce your little ones.

For toddlers, grab some stickers, the Indian coloring book, or the Eid coloring book. I can’t wait for my toddler to draw to his heart’s content!

Gnaana – Alphabet baby blocks in languages that’s not just Hindi! Tamil is sadly no longer available, but you can still buy blocks in Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi. They haven’t been posting much on social media in the past months, so I’m not sure if they are in full production still, but I own both the Hindi and Gujarati block sets through their Indigogo campaign a couple years ago. Even used them in my maternity photo shoot!

Bharat Babies – Based in Massachusetts, Bharat Babies is a South Asian publisher. Creating books for toddlers and children, these are the books that make you feel like you belong. We all know what’s it like to have a different name. We know what it’s like to be the only Indian in your class. These stories will help Indian children know that they belong, they have company. Check out Always Anjali, Sarla in the Sky, Ganesh and the Little Mouse, and Indian Alphabet.

Toka Box – A monthly subscription box inspired by South Asia. Toka Junior focuses on children ages 3-5, while Toka Explorer is for kids 5-8. Each month comes with a book and activity.

Jai Jai Hooray – Not books, but lovely learning toys from Rupa Parekh. The stacking Hindu Goddess tower stands tall and powerful for any Indian toddler to feel empowered. She also stunning flash cards on Hindi gods and goddesses, perfect for those little hands to learn.

The Playful Indian – Need to send a funny card to an Indian friend? Or you love pins and hilarious coasters? You need The Playful Indian from Dina Mistry. The coloring book and greeting cards for mom, dad, siblings are most suited for older children.

Nidhi Chanani – Her Everyday Love website and shop are by far the CUTEST illustrations ever. Oh my gosh so cute. If I had all the wall space in the world, I’d probably buy everything of hers (and my son would go nuts for the elephant drawings!).

Her stories are beautiful, the artwork is inspiration, and she’s one of the few desi artists who have cards for same sex parents.

Studio Yali – For the older children who love to paint or for the kid inside you, Studio Yali has beautiful prints and peg dolls inspired by goddesses and dancers. Older children will love the coloring books and DIY peg dolls.

Hena Khan – If you don’t know Hena, you’re missing out on some of the most intricate illustrations. Her books about Muslim life jump out of their pages and into your hearts. When I bought her Muslim inspired color book, 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. All are available online at Amazon and even in retailers.

Meenal Patel Studio – Illustrator and author Meenal does prints (and has a fab instagram) and the adorable book Neela Goes to San Francisco. As a Bay Area girl, I highly recommend this book.

Sanjay Patel – Pixar illustrator and film creator, Sanjay has several books just for the Indian soul. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth, the Ramayana, The Big Poster Book of Hindu Deities: 12 Removable Prints, and The Little Book of Hindu Deities are bright, pop colored books for both younger and older children. From learning about Hindu gods and goddesses to reading an abbreviated version of a classic, Patel’s drawings are modern and beautiful. I framed some of the removable prints from the Big Poster Book of Indian Deities. They are adorable! You can purchase all the books on Amazon (links above).

Do you make a South Asian inspired toy or have a book for desi children? Drop me an email at chotipreeti @ gmail . com!

My Indian Maternity Milk Bath Photo Shoot

Like most of my friends, my friend Liza is a wedding photographer. But she is also a lifestyle photographer who does milk baths. Every time I would see one of these milk bath photos in my Facebook feed, I told myself, “one day I am doing them!”


It’s called milk bath because you fill a tub or pool with water and then milk. I know, the Indian in me is saying, “don’t waste food,” but you only need a gallon to provide the wispy effect.

When I was pregnant I realized this was the perfect opportunity to have a maternity milk bath photo shoot. And being a bit crazy (I’ll blame the hormones), I wanted to do something out of the box. Way outside the box.

Why not wear a sari? How pretty would that be?!

I messaged Liza, who lives on the other side of the Bay Area, San Jose, and told her of my crazy idea. Her instant response: YASSSSSSS.

I pulled out a pink crystal chiffon saree because it has a translucent glimmer in the water. If you recognize the saree, I used for my first maternity photo shoot three years ago.

After making the trek across the Bay to Liza’s place, we had a busy day. The photo shoot took six hours from start to finish from makeup and washing down.

Being 36 weeks pregnant, I was a giant whale floating in the water. Seriously. Between the sciatica pain and hip pain, I couldn’t even turn over by myself! Liza’s assistant would help move me. Honestly, I never felt so old and incapacitated in life.

Note to self, get a message the next day because your body will be dead.

One of the highlights of the shoot was being beautified by the makeup artist. Having someone else do your makeup really makes you feel like a princess. Kim, our MUA, does not specialize in Indian style makeup, which I loved.

I wanted something light and eternal, but glittery. You know you’re Indian when you keep saying, “more glitter, more glitter, MORE glitter! There’s never too much!”

I am sure she thought Liza and I were insane, but you don’t often get to do an Indian maternity shoot. It’s an opportunity to push the boundaries – you can only have photos you dream of if you make it happen in reality.


Overall I couldn’t be happier to celebrate a part of me, being Indian, and a special moment in my life of being pregnant. Even though I was exhausted after, these are the kind of photos you print and place on the walls. No pain, no gain, right?

Thanks to Liza Head of Juniper Springs Photography, Kimberly Brown for the makeup, and Liza’s assistant for rolling me around in the water.