Chaiwala! – Owlkids

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By Priti Birla Maheshwari and Ashley Barron

From 3 to 7 | 24 pages

A sensory celebration of family, food, and culture

When their train makes a 10-minute stop at the station in Jaipur, a young girl and her mother hurry to get in line for a cup of chai. While the girl waits for her mug of milky spiced tea, readers are treated to the sights, sounds, and smells of the Chaiwala’s cart. The aroma of ginger, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon sticks swirls in the air. Tea leaves rustle, milk bubbles, and the hot drink is poured back and forth until—clink!—the cups are filled and placed on the stand. With a biscuit and a rusk added to their order, it’s time to find a spot to sit and enjoy!

Inspired by the author’s childhood visits to India, Chaiwala! celebrates the pleasures of taking time for food, family, and tradition—even for a brief moment. Illustrated in lively cut-paper collages and filled with scrumptious sensory details, this book is just like a cup of chai—warm, comforting, and good to the last drop.

Priti Birla Maheshwari, Ashley Barron

"The simple joy of indulging in a delicious treat is captured exquisitely ... Provides a jubilant, affirming mirror for children who already know the comforting warmth of a cup of chai, and a welcoming window for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure. A wonderful choice for story time and a first purchase for all collections."

- School Library Journal - STARRED REVIEW
"Particularly fun to read out loud ... Sweetly captures a slice of Indian life." - Kirkus Reviews

"Beautiful cut-paper collage illustrations swirl and twirl like the steam from a cup of chai, adding crisp and colorful details ... The recipe is here integrated into the story itself."

- Booklist

"Small moments of stillness, connection, and gratitude are a recipe for happiness in Chaiwala!, a sumptuous debut picture book ... A sensory experience to be savoured."

- Quill & Quire

"Priti Birla Maheshwari’s vibrant text will have readers dreaming of a delicious cup of chai ... Ashley Barron’s illustrations are equally as inspiring as the text."

- Storytime with Stephanie
"A sensory celebration." - CanLit for Little Canadians

"A heartwarming little tale about one of the simplest things that brings people together ... A delightful read, one rich for all your senses."

- Canadian Review of Materials
A Loan Stars Jr. Top 10 Pick for September/October, 2021
A Bookstagang Best Picture Book of 2021, 2021
A Toronto Public Library First and Best List selection, 2021
A CBC Best Canadian Picture Book of 2021, 2021
A Best Children's Book of the Year, 2022
South Asia Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, 2022
Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2022
TD Grade One Book Giveaway, 2023

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