Always Anjali

Written by Sheetal Sheth, Illustrated by Jessica Blank

What a sweet book! Anjali’s experience is such a common one. I love the very real problem of not finding her name on a novelty license plate. So many students will connect with this example.

I love that instead of just saying “ignore the teasing” or “your name is special,” Anjali’s mother takes the time to explain why her name was chosen for her. She tells her the meaning and makes Anjali understand the specialness she carries with her.

I also love that Anjali takes it upon herself to find a solution. We all can use help and encouragement, but in the end it is up to us to overcome the problem. Her self-made license plate helped her to embrace the importance of her name and also communicated to her peers that she was bigger than their teasing. It was so sweet that her friends made her a license plate too, what a great reminder that we always have people in our corner!

The art in this book is also gorgeous. A perfect representation of an Indian American child. It’s relatable but also has elements that stand out and can ignite questions. This story would be wonderful for anyone whose name “can’t be found on a novelty license plate,” but it also could inspire any student to ask their parents why their name is so special and why it was chosen.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to use it as a read aloud in my library!

Reviewed by Tiffany Brito, Librarian, Hunter Elementary
Review shared in September 2023
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-5

Book Series Website:

Always Anjali
Written by Sheetal Sheth, Illustrated by Jessica Blank
Random House
40 pages
Release Date: April 25, 2023
ISBN: 9780593648834
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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