Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 8, 2021

Book Giveaway: HOW TO WEAR A SARI by Darshana Khiani & Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Darshana Khiani has a new picture book HOW TO WEAR A SARI, illustrated by  Joanne Lew-Vriethoff and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books will hit bookstores on June 22nd, but is available now for pre-ordered. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Darshana and Joanne.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Sparkling with voice and charm, this picture book about a fashionable kid out to prove she’s not as small as everyone thinks is perfect for kids eager to grow up, and for those who love to play dress-up.

Being a little kid isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes, it’s downright annoying.

When a little girl tires of being treated like she’s TOO little, she sets out to prove to her family that she can do ANYTHING she puts her mind to . . .

. . . including putting on a colorful, twinkly, silky sari. Sure, they’re long and unwieldy—but that only means her family will be even more impressed when she puts it on all by herself.

Naturally, there are some hiccups along the way, but she discovers that she’s not the only one in her family who has set out with something to prove, with hilariously chaotic results. That’s what photo albums are for!

Book Journey:

Thank you for hosting me on your blog! I always loved reading as a kid. I remember my mom telling me to put away my Nancy Drew book and help with housework. One thing I didn’t see in the books I read was someone like me, an Indian-American character.

When I started writing picture books, my goal was to write for 2nd and 3rd generation South Asians like my two daughters. Books that centered their lives in this country. Books that had universal themes about growing up with a South Asian backdrop and a touch of humor.

In the summer of 2016, I was studying 2nd POV picture books for a different story. Before I knew it was fall and time to start planning my outfits for Diwali parties. I’m remiss at how my younger cousins can wear saris with style and grace, whereas it’ll take me 45 minutes. I started wondering if it’s this hard for me to wear a sari what would it be like for a young Indian girl. That was the seed for HOW TO WEAR A SARI. A sari can be stylish, sophisticated, a symbol of womanhood in South Asian culture much like wearing high-heels or a long fancy gown is in Western culture.

From the start I knew the plotline – how to put on a sari. The two areas that took multiple revisions were the voice and motivation. The first voice was a used car salesman which was too sleazy, then a grandmotherly voice which was too sweet. The voice I ended up using was an encouraging voice with a touch of mischievousness. The hardest aspect to nail down was the character motivation. Why did the girl want to wear a sari – to be noticed by her family, to prove that she could do older things, to look glamorous, to be like an older sibling? After eleven revisions, I finally got it which was to prove she wasn’t “too little” and could do anything she put her mind too. My agent loved the story and it went out on submission in the summer of 2017.

It took a while for the story to sell. Some editors weren’t connecting with the 2nd POV and questioned if it was the most effective way to tell this story. One editor gave me an R&R, so I wrote two new drafts in 1st POV. However, my agent felt that my original version in 2nd POV was fresher so she continued subbing the 2nd POV version. In winter 2018, I attended the Winter SCBWI National Conference and met Erika Turner from Versify during the Diversity Social. I pitched her my SARI story and she loved the concept. In March 2018, Erika made an offer! Ironically, the 2nd POV which one editor questioned was the aspect that Erika loved. Just goes to show you how subjective this business can be.

The rest of the process went smoothly. I was thrilled Erika found Joanne Lew-Vriethoff to create the art. Joanne’s art has this magical combination of energy, heart, and lightness which is exactly what I wanted for this story. Since the art was amazing from the beginning, I didn’t have too much feedback unless it had to do with cultural accuracy.

I hope readers will smile and laugh and see a bit of themselves in this joyous story about dressing up and growing up.


Darshana Khiani dreamed of being an astronaut someday, but when that didn’t pan out, she got two degrees in Engineering instead and began working in the computer industry. After becoming a mom, she remembered how much she loved books and creative writing as a kid so she began writing picture books. She works as a computer engineer by day and a children’s writer by night. She also enjoys spreading the word about the latest in South Asian Kidlit.

Darshana lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, two daughters, and a furry pooch. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, solving jigsaw puzzles, and eating dark chocolate.

She is a proud member of the Soaring 20s, a group of picture book authors and illustrators debuting in 2020/2021.

You can find Darshana online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @darshanakhiani.


Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is an children’s book illustrator creating mostly picture books and middle grade books.

She was born in Malaysia, grew up in Los Angeles, and lived in Amsterdam for the last 20 years. After 20 years in Amsterdam, Joanne and her family decided they needed a change and a new adventure so six months ago, they moved to Malaysia. They plan to spedn their future traveling between Amsterdam, K.L, L.A, and NY.

After receiving her B.A in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena,California, she worked in the television industry as a character and concept illustrator for clients pitching children’s television shows.  A few years later she moved to New York and trained as a graphic designer at a Design Studio working with various clients such as Columbia University, New School, and IJDG in NYC.

Many of her illustrations are focused on relationships, connections, struggles and in children’s daily lives while giving her art a certain tenderness and humor. She loves illustrating themes that help readers better understand and communicate with their families or friends. For example: Parkinsons (A Day with Parkinsons), death or separation from a love one (You’ll Find Me or Invisible String series), Autism (Too Sticky). Beautiful is another great book that she worked on which “encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realise their endless potential”

Joanne is represented by Mela Bolinao at MBARTIST in NYC.

You can visit Joanne using the following links:

Instagram : @joannelewvriethoff
Twitter: @jlewvriethoff
Facebook: joannelewvriethoffillustrator

Thank you Darshana for sharing your book and journey with us. I have been reading a lot of MG and YA books with Indian characters and culture. I have learn a lot. I am glad to see it is also being shared in picture books. Joanne did a great job with the illustrations. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations, Darshana! I love hearing about the story’s journey. Brava for your persistence!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed hearing how this terrific book’s publishing journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, gee! I’d like to think it was an allergy day when I scrambled this sentence! haha!


  3. This book is filled with so much joy that it’s impossible to resist. Thanks for the chance to win it, I’d love to have a copy.
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This book sounds amazing! I love the idea and have always loved the colorful clothing my friends wear from their trips back home to India. I’m smiling after just seeing a few pages. I am an email subscriber and shared on social:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book. There’s nothing cooler than a sari.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am eager to read this book to a special young lady, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this book, so I really, really hope I win! I lived in India as a girl so there’s a familiarity about it. See me waving my hand in the air?! “Pick me! Pick me!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so much fun! Congrats, Darshana!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This looks so cute, Darshana. I enjoyed reading how you sold the story. Congrats, again!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a gorgeous and joyful book. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful book! Congratulations! I look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so excited for Darshana and this book! I remember reading her stories when we took Susanna Hills writing class together and hoping that her South Asian tales would become books soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Cnngrats, Darshana! Very excited for you. (I RTed this as well.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What beautiful fun illustrations. Kids will love this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for sharing the journey of your book, Darshana. I love the determination your main character exhibits!

    Kathy, I shared on Twitter and I get your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So looking forward to reading this new picture book! Congratulations on your continuing success!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This book looks delightful! I can’t wait to learn about saris – they’re so beautiful! Congrats and thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love your story, Darshana. So glad you found a home for it!

    Liked by 1 person

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