Supriya Kelkar's debut picture book, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, affirms through a Sikh boy and his colorful patkas ("a common style [of turban] for young boys") that there is beauty and boldness in self-love and friendship.
Illustrator Alea Marley immediately captures the attention of readers with title page art, extending across two pages, depicting the leaping figure of Harpreet, a swirling rainbow of all the colors he loves whooshing behind him. The first page of the book opens on a joyous Harpreet foregrounded against a muted pastel print, reveling in his love of colors. Through the pages, we see the different ways Harpreet uses patkas to express his emotions: yellow when he feels "sunny," red for courage, gray when he's sad. Recently, he has been wearing white for feeling shy, which, now that he and his parents have moved across the country, is often the case at his new school.
Brilliant, brief text provides easy forward movement and fun moments for a read aloud, like the alliterative "He wore pink... bopping along to bhangra beats." Marley's digital illustrations include full-page spreads and smaller isolated scenes showcasing a gorgeous palette of colors and subtle indicators of the challenges faced by Harpreet in his new community. One page shows the various incorrect ways classmates spell his name on valentines; another shows everyone curiously examining his lunch. An enlightening afterword from professor of Sikhism Simran Jeet Singh shares important context about the Sikh religion and the role of turbans as social equalizers. --Breanna J. McDaniel, freelance reviewer