Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 7, 2023

Book Giveaway: SUMMER IS FOR COUSINS by Rajani LaRocca

Rajani LaRocca has written a new book, SUMMER IS FOR COUSINS, illustrated by Abhi Alwar and published by Abrams Books For Young Readers. It hits book shelves on May 16th. Abrams will send a copy to one lucky winner in the US.

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 Rajani and Abhi.

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!


From Newbery Honor author Rajani LaRocca comes a celebration of extended family and summertime fun

Summer is for cousins.
Mom and Dad,
Two uncles, two aunties,
Thatha and Pati,
Seven cousins,
All of us are together.

Ravi can’t wait to spend summer vacation at the lake house with his family—especially his cousins! Summer vacation is for days at the beach, long hikes, paddleboarding, and—of course—ice cream. Ravi and his oldest cousin, Dhruv, had the same favorite flavor last year, but everything feels different now.

Dhruv’s much taller and his voice is deeper. Ravi’s worried that Dhruv won’t be interested in spending time with him, the little cousin. The ice cream shop doesn’t even have their favorite flavor this year. But on the last night of vacation, the cousins decide to make dinner, and Ravi’s in charge of dessert. He only has one special thing in mind!

This picture book all about summertime fun celebrates the resilient bond between extended family members.


Hi Kathy! Thanks so much for having me on your blog again. I’m excited to talk about my forthcoming picture book, Summer Is for Cousins, sweetly illustrated by Abhi Alwar and coming from Abrams on May 16!

I wrote this book because my agent and friend, Brent Taylor, asked me to write a picture book about summer, and I thought this was a lovely idea. I thought back to my favorite summer memories, and they almost all involved time spent with cousins—my own cousins, when I visited them in India, and my children hanging out with their cousins at home and on Cape Cod. I poured all those summer reminiscences into this book.

When we sent this story to my editor, Courtney Code, it was originally narrated by a girl whose family was on vacation with their cousins and who was wondering about her little brother’s favorite flavor of ice cream, one that was never available at the ice cream store. Courtney encouraged me to revise with more of a focus on the cousin relationship.

This really resonated with me, so I thought hard about my feelings about my cousins. When I was a kid and hadn’t seen my cousins in a few years, I really looked forward to meeting them, but I also wondered whether they had changed so much that they no longer remembered the things we used to share. In Summer is For Cousins, the main character Ravi wonders the same thing about his oldest cousin, Dhruv. Luckily for me and Ravi both, cousins grown and change, but the affection between them never fades.

I was absolutely thrilled when Abhi Alwar signed on to illustrate this book. She brings the large extended family alive with such sweetness and energy, and her luminous colors make summer come alive on the pages. I’m so excited for this book to reach readers!


Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning books for young people, including Red, White, and Whole, which won a 2022 Newbery Honor. Her other books include: Midsummer’s Mayhem (2019), Seven Golden Rings (2020), Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers (2021), Much Ado About Baseball (2021), Where Three Oceans Meet (2021), My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris (2021), The Secret Code Inside You (2021), I’ll Go and Come Back (2022), and more. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks.

Rajani was born in Bangalore, India and immigrated to the U.S. as a baby. She spent most of my childhood in Louisville, Kentucky.

She attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has been working as a primary care physician since 2001. Rajanilives in eastern Massachusetts with my wonderful husband, our two brilliant kids, and an impossibly cute dog.

Rajani is represented by the marvelous Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency.

You can visit her on:


It’s “Abhi” like “a bee”!

I’m an Indian American illustrator & designer based in NYC. I enjoy making funny, absurd, and downright silly stories through comics and picture books! I also have a special fondness for oddball characters and truly upsetting puns.

I’m one of the founders of “unimPRESSed”, a zine press/collective where me and my co-conspirators Kandace Coston and Keilin Huang make and develop all sorts of zines and creative projects! Support us on Gumroad, or check us out on Instagram @unimpressedpub

You can support me by buying or preordering any of my upcoming books: Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates , Super Pancake (Feb 2023), Summer is for Cousins (May 2023), Don’t Blow Your Top (Oct 2023)!

Or check out the illustration print shop I run with my friends at www.paperjamstudios.comFor any literary project inquiries, contact my awesome agent, Alexandra Levick at Writer’s House!

Thank you Rajani for sharing your book and journey with us. Summer is for Cousins made me smile remembering all the fun I had growing up playing with my cousins. I love that your book shows an Indian-American family, but every family will be able to see their own family in the cousins, aunts, and uncles. Even small families will just love spending time with this big loving family and smile. Abhi did a wonderful job creating the illustrations to bring this book to life. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This is such a cute concept! If I win I promise to read it to my kids and their cousins this summer! Preferably while we all eat ice cream.

    I’m on the email list.


  2. This book will resonate will children. I recall the summers my family went away with my cousins. Some fond memories! Good luck with this

    Kathy, I subscribe and look forward to your blog


  3. I can’t wait to read Summer is for Cousins for its resonant story and lovely illustrations. Congratulations!


  4. I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you so much for sharing your journey, and congratulations!!!


  5. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first saw it. I love the extended family. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.


  6. A beautiful pairing of author and illustrator … and family!


  7. Would love to win a copy!! Tweeted plus email subscriber.


  8. Fantastic response to an R&R! Looking forward to reading this book! I follow and tweeted about the giveaway. Cheers!


  9. Summers with cousins — one of my favorite memories. This book looks terrific. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for telling me about it and for a chance to win a copy. I subscribe to your blog by email.


  10. Summer fun and cousins! Perfect! I loved the time I spent with cousins when we were growing up. Now, too, but that’s different. 🙂 Congratulations, Rajani and Abhi!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂


  11. This book looks so sweet!! Can’t wait to read it! Congrats, Rajani and Abhi!


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