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Sambasivan & Parikh | Yali Books

Dancing in Thatha's Footsteps

Dancing in Thatha's Footsteps

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Words By: Srividhya Venkat | Art By: Kavita Ramchandran

Dance is for all genders and all ages…dance is for everyone!

One Sunday, Varun reluctantly accompanies his sister Varsha to her dance lesson. Bored of waiting, he peeks into the classroom. Almost immediately, he is fascinated by the rhythm and grace of bharatanatyam, a classical dance from India that Varsha is learning to perfect. Varun tries a few moves at home in secret because…well, boys don’t dance, do they? His grandfather is not so sure. Varun’s thatha encourages him to sign up for dance school, and when Varun is disheartened by the comments he hears, his grandfather leads by example. Varun then becomes the first boy in his sister’s class, following in his beloved thatha’s footsteps.

A heartwarming picture book featuring a multigenerational Indian-American family discovering a shared love for dance and challenging gender stereotypes.


South Asia Book Award—Winner (2022) 

AGHE Book Award for Best Children's Literature on Aging: Primary Reader—Honorable Mention (2024)

"This book’s charming protagonist and believable plot provide a wonderful opening for conversations about the dangers of strict gender constructs."—Kirkus Reviews

“A general purchase for most libraries, this is a lyrical message in support of family relationships, resisting peer pressure, and following one’s inner call to art.”—School Library Journal


Realistic Fiction, Internal Struggle, Asian American, Family Stories, Family, Siblings, Social Issues, Social-Emotional Learning, The Arts, Include Back Matter, Include Phonetic Glossary, Include Teaching Resources

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Book Details

Reading Level Recommendations

Grades: K-3

Ages: 5-7

Lexile: AD670L

Subject Categories

JUV031020-JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Dance
JUV011020-JUVENILE FICTION / Asian American & Pacific Islander
JUV039100-JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Peer Pressure


Hardcover: 9781949528909

Paperback: 9781949528893

eBook: 9781949528886

PDF: 9781949528503

Publication Date:

Srividhya Bio Photo

Meet the Author

Srividhya Venkat’s first story was illustrated and published by her brother when she was eight years old. Then she grew up to be just another adult. But after reading several books to her children, she became a child once more and began to weave stories again. Today she is a children’s author and oral storyteller who loves to create and share stories about our big beautiful world where everyone is different, yet same-same.

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Kavita Bio Photo

Meet the Illustrator

Kavita Ramchandran received her MFA in Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York and has spent more than twelve years as a graphic designerin the children’s educational and entertainment industry including art directing the award-winning kids’ magazine Kahani, designing for Scholastic, McGraw Hill, and Harcourt, and working with networks like Disney Jr., Nick Jr., and Sesame Street Productions. A self-taught illustrator, and a dreamer & doer of her own Make Believe Design Studio, she lives in New York with her husband, two children, and a few imaginary characters.

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