Indian American Children’s Author Rajani LaRocca Receives Newbery Honor Medal for Children’s Literature
- A practicing physician, her middle grade and picture books reflect her experiences as an immigrant and her interests.
Indian American author Rajani LaRocca’s “Red, White and Whole” is among runners-up for the prestigious Newbery Honor Medal for Children’s Literature, an annual award given to children’s books selected by the Association for Library Service to Children.
The book tells the story of an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia. “Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays,” says the book’s synopsis.
Rhea feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, “although their names are linked—Reha means ‘star’ and Punam means ‘moon’—but they are a universe apart.” But when she finds out that her Amma is sick, “Rhea, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving Amma’s life.”
A practicing physician specializing in internal medicine, in the greater Boston area in Massachusetts, LaRocca was born in India and raised in Kentucky. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she is the author of several middle-grade and picture books, which reflect her experiences as an immigrant, book nerd, and her medical background and love of food. She is also the co-host of the “STEM Women in KidLit” podcast. She lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband, her kids, and their dog.
(Top photo: Twitter)