I'm getting requests for these books more and more lately from my students, so I wanted to collect an updated list. Many of these protagonists are Indian-American or Pakistani-American, while other books feature protagonists living in India or Pakistan.
Thirst by Varsha Bajaj
Minni and her family work hard to survive, and when Minni's mother has to leave for a month, Minni takes over her job as a housekeeper for a wealthy family. The 12-year-old girl in that family has her own private bathroom, while Minni has to stand in line to pump water, and then take time to boil it before using it for cooking or bathing. Minni has big dreams, but struggles to keep up with school and family obligations. How much is too much?
Also by Supriya Kelkar: Ahimsa and American as Paneer Pie
Also by Saadia Faruqi: A Thousand Questions and the Yasmin series - the latter targets early chapter book readers
Also by Reem Faruqi: Unsettled
Also by Veera Hiranandani: How to Find What You're Not Looking For and The Whole Story of Half a Girl
Also by Padma Venkatraman: The Bridge Home and Climbing the Stairs
Also by Kashmira Sheth: Keeping Corner and Blue Jasmine
Secondary readers may also try books by Mitali Perkins - I'm a fan of Secret Keeper. What other great titles are out there?
I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of students and families in IA, CT, NC, MO, TX, and Canada. I love being a teacher-librarian!