Kaluti by Shazia Usman

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

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