Meera
Children’s Writer
Advocate for Early and Multi-cultural Literacy
Travels from: San Francisco / Oakland, CA

“The text reads like free-verse poetry, skillfully weaving simple, child-friendly language into vivid, multisensory imagery…” — Kirkus Reviews

Meera draws from her life straddling the East and West to tell stories. She grew up in India and moved to the United States at the turn of the millenium. An electrical engineer in the past, she now writes for children and advocates for diversifying bookshelves. Meera felt compelled to tell her stories when she noticed children that looked like her own, as well as immigrant and cross-cultural experiences, were missing in the stories her family was reading.

Meera has published several remarkable children’s picture books, both in the US and in India. Her book A Gift For Amma: Market Day In India is a 2021 South Asia Book Award Winner, a 2020 Forward Reviews Indies Best book of the year Silver Award winner, and a 2020 Nerdy Book Award winner. Her book Dumpling Day was featured in the New York Times and won the 2022 Skipping Stones Honor Award. A Garden In My Hands received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Meera’s work has been selected as Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal and Bank Street College, and as American Library Association’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project. Her forthcoming title, The Spice Box, releases in Spring 2024.

Meera was trained in leading storytimes for early learning by the Alameda County Library in California. She went on to be involved in several early literacy initiatives for over a decade around cities in the Bay Area. These days, she volunteers her time in helping amplify new voices in her role as the Equity & Inclusion Awards Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) San Francisco North & East Bay region. She is also a 2024 We Need Diverse Books Picture Book Mentor. Passionate about early and multicultural literacy, Meera believes stories have the power to take us into newer spaces and into unseen lives; she hopes they leave us more empathetic and inspired to celebrate our diverse world. Meera loves chai and yoga, woodsy hikes and urban murals, and lives with her family in Berkeley, California.

Meera's Featured Titles

The Spice Box

Knopf Books for Young Readers |
Children’s

A father and son share family stories through a spice box, handed down from generation to generation, in this tender picturebook.

Rishi’s grandma arrives from India today, and he longs to cook curry alongside his Dad using the delicious flavors from his family’s spice box. But this spice box is more than just fragrant spices in shades of gold and ruby. This spice box holds memories that are passed down from one generation to the next, as each found their place in this wide world. When Rishi drops the box that holds the family’s heart and history, he draws courage and meaning from their treasured past to set things right.

A Garden in My Hands

Knopf Books for Young Readers |
Children’s

This touching picture book celebrates the custom of applying henna for special occasions through a mother and daughter who share family memories and stories.

The sweet smell of henna, and stories we carry, fill us with pride of a faraway home.

There’s a wedding tomorrow! And one little girl sits patiently while her mother tenderly applies intricate, delicate henna designs on her hands. As she does, she shares family stories–about weddings, monsoons, and ancestors long gone. The little girl must be careful to protect her hands as the henna dries–one smudge could ruin a story! After a whole night of anticipation, when the flakes are washed away, what will they reveal?
Lyrical text pairs with vibrant illustrations for this poignant picture book that blooms with heart, connects us to our roots, and sweetly reminds us of the the garden of love we curate with those closest to us.

Dumpling Day

Barefoot Books |
Children’s

Savor a rhyming celebration of one of the world’s most universal foods! Readers follow ten diverse families as they cook dumplings inside their homes in preparation for a neighborhood potluck. Dumplings are added to plates one by one, encouraging children to count with each new addition. Authentic recipes for all the dumplings and a map showing their regions of origin are included in the endnotes. Dumpling Day features dumplings from the following regions: India USA (Pennsylvania Dutch) China (Cantonese) Nigeria Japan Israel Mexico Syria Russia Italy

A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India

Barefoot Books |
Children’s

In this book inspired by the author’s hometown of Chennai, India, a girl explores the vibrant rainbow of delights in a southern Indian street market as she searches for a gift for her amma (mother). Endnotes explain all the items on sale and introduce readers to markets around the world.

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MIRRORS & WINDOWS, Building Diverse Bookshelves

A presentation on how books can be “mirrors and windows” (credit: Prof. Rudine Sims Bishop) and how to build diverse bookshelves. I’ll use my own books and many different titles to demonstrate the idea. I’ll follow it up with a read-aloud of one of my mirror-window books. Grades: K-5

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THE POWER OF STORIES & TRADITIONS, How Family Stories & Customs help us heal and rejoice

Throughout human history stories have played an important role in influencing our minds and moods. Retelling stories and reminiscing memories from our past often soothe our soul and lift our spirits. Customs and traditions connect us to our roots and help us celebrate our heritage and honor our ancestors. A GARDEN IN MY HANDS is a picture book that celebrates the passing down of family stories as well as the custom of applying henna. Through this poignant story, we will discuss the power of stories and engage in beautiful henna arts & crafts. Grades: 2-7

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PASSPORT TO INDIA, A Window Into The Colors of India

A presentation on the geography, diversity, and streetlife in the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country in the world. We will take a colorful “trip” to experience the smells, sights, and sounds in an outdoor market in southern India. We’ll enjoy the award-winning A GIFT FOR AMMA and several related treasures from India. Grades: Preschool-5

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AUTHOR LIFE, A Book’s Journey

I’ll share an overview of the process of creating a book, my path to publication, and author life in an interactive presentaion, followed by a picture book read aloud. Grades: 2-7

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SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT, A Celebration Of Food, Family, Community, And Cultures

A trip around the globe, a ticket to different countries including China (Cantonese), Nigeria, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Syria, India, USA (Pennsylvania Dutch), Russia and Italy! As we enter kitchens, cook and count dumplings in DUMPLING DAY, we will experience how the universally well-loved dish is prepared and enjoyed similarly among people from diverse backgrounds. Grades: Preschool-5

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A WRITER’S WORKSHOP, Elements of Creative Writing

From idea seeds to story endings, including hook, characters, setting, plot, and story arc, with prompts and exercises, a hands-on and interactive session in which we’ll review these elements in one of my picture books. Grades: 2-5

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BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, An Artist’s Biography And Living Across Cultures

A celebration of Amrita Sher-Gil, a feminist Indian-Hungarian artist of the early 20th century. Through her art and life story, we will open up a conversation on growing up straddling different worlds – countries, cultures, faiths, homes, passions, identities. We’ll learn what a biography is and about the resources, tools, and research that goes into writing a biography. This will include a reading of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: THE ART & LIFE OF AMRITA SHER-GIL. Grades: 3-7

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LOSS, LOVE, AND HOPE, A Conversation About Grief

With social-emotional learning valued as an integral part of education and child development, a conversation with kids around loss and grief can be difficult. Through the poignant story in THE YELLOW SUTICASE, we will engage in a dialogue with compassion and hope. Grades: 2-7

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Adult Programming

Besides sharing her stories or writing tips with children, Meera enjoys presenting to educators, librarians, writers, and diversity advocates on a variety of topics. Her presentation themes for adult audiences include the magic and power of picture books, inclusivity in children’s literature, building diverse bookshelves, and on the craft of picture book writing.

For educators:
-The Power of Picture Book Read-Alouds, An Author Perspective
-Centering South Asian Identity in Classrooms
-How to Build Diverse Bookshelves

For writers:
-The Arc of Picture Book Writing
-Writing From Lived Experiences and Otherwise

For corporates:
Celebrating Asian American Stories during AAPI Heritage month and beyond

Meera’s Critique Services Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

A Gift for Amma
* 2021 South Asia Book Award
* 2020 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
* 2021 Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
* 2020 Foreword Reviews Indies Best Book of the Year, Picture Book
* 2020 Nerdy Book Award

Un Regalo Para Amma
* 2021-22 Tejas Star Reading List
* 2022 Premio Campoy-Ada Honorable Mention

A Garden In My Hands
* Starred review, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly

Between Two Worlds
* 2022 American Library Association’s RISE: A Feminist Book Project Selection

Dumpling Day
* Featured in The New York Times Book Review, 8 Picture Books About Food and Fellowship
* 2022 Skipping Stones Honor Award

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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