I Am Yours by Reema Zaman

a nutshell: this (stunningly written) memoir is a testament to self-love at a time when self-criticism is more in vogue – though not without flaws, it explores what it is to be a woman in a society set up for men and an immigrant in a society set up against outsiders

a line: “We know all I’ll get from biting my tongue is blood”

an image: I really liked how Zaman continually revisits her selves at various ages (3, 5, 11, 13, 18, 23, 27, 29) to mend & arrange the pieces

a thought: I found myself incredibly infuriated by some of the memoir’s male figures, particularly the one (anon. so as not to give anything away) who repeatedly orders her to “be less” – to tone down her intelligence/beauty – and her observations on the nonchalance with which he wounds, this noose woven by own hands

a fact: born in Bangladesh & raised in Thailand, the author graduated with degrees in Theater and Women’s Studies and made a living in NYC from acting/modelling/babysitting before deciding to dedicate a year to writing this book

want to read I Am Yours? visit here

Kaluti by Shazia Usman

kaluti book and plant

a nutshell: this empowering book for children tells the story of a 10-year-old girl, Zia, who is forced to confront colourism when her aunt refers to her as ‘kaluti’ – a derogatory term used by Fijian-Indian people to describe those who have dark skin

a line: “Maybe I am not important to anyone because I am dark”

an image: after hearing herself dubbed ‘kaluti’ for the first time, Zia borrows her father’s phone to look up the word and her response is heart-breaking

a thought: the book also subtly raises the notion of traditional gender norms in childhood – whereas Zia’s aunt forbids her daughter to be in the sun, fearing the idea of darkening skin, she allows her son to do as he wishes

a fact: I was lucky enough to interview Shazia for International Day of the Girl, and learned that her inspiration for the book came from seeing girls go through what she had when she was their age; she describes the book as a love letter to her younger self and other brown girls out there


want to read Kaluti? visit here