Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister by Chitra Soundar & Jen Khatun

Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister is a beautifully written story that encompasses all the emotions and preparations involved in the arrival of a new baby. It oozes with warmth and love and gives a fabulous insight into family relationships, friendships and the traditions and everyday lives of an extended Indian family.

The Story: Sona Sharma lives with her family in a noisy happy house where the door is always open. When Amma tells Sona that she is going to have a baby Sona immediately tells her best friend Elephant the fears and worries that she has about sharing her family life with a sibling. Throughout the story Sona talks to various family members and friends as she comes to terms with her new situation. 

However, despite her reservations Sona wants to be the best big sister she can and is determined to choose a perfect name for the new baby. But as the day of the naming ceremony gets closer, Sona is still struggling to come up with one…

The story follows Sona’s emotional journey as she tries to come to terms with her new situation. It also gives a wonderful insight into the new baby preparations that are made by family members from different generations and the cultural traditions that accompany them. 

Sona’s grandparents play a huge role in her life, Thatha and Paatti live with her, Amma and Appa. Sona’s other grandma, The President, lives close by and just before the baby is due to be born Thatha consults his almanac to find an auspicious time to take Amma to stay with her in her orange house.

Consulting the almanac, traditional poems and stories, choosing baby names, the preparations for the baby naming ceremony and all the food being delivered for the party are fascinating to read about and the family involves Sona in all of them. Even Sona’s friends, Joy and Renu, get involved as she tries to find the perfect name for the baby. 

We love Jen Khatun’s black and white illustrations and particularly love her drawings of Elephant. Elephant is Sona’s soft toy and many of her deepest feelings are conveyed through her conversations with him.

Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister is a fascinating insight into Indian family life and Chitra’s descriptions stimulate all the senses as you read. Welcoming a new baby into the family is a situation that will be familiar to many children but it is fascinating to read about it through the lens of another culture.

Chitra Soundar explains more about the story and how she came to write it on her website.

Age Range: 5 +

Author: Chitra Soundar / Illustrator: Jen Khatun

Thank you to Walker Books for sending us a copy of Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister. It’s a great story to help children vocalise the feelings that they may have about the arrival of a new sibling.

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