The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
Written by Supriya Kelkar & Illustrated by Alea Marley
“Yes, Harpreet Singh loved his colors. He had one for every occasion. Even for just hanging out with a friend.”
This vibrantly illustrated book highlights the power of friendship in helping children feel more confident and happy. Harpreet Singh uses his colorful patkas (traditional Sikh head coverings) to help express his feelings. After moving to a new city & school, Harpreet begins to only wear white patkas as he struggles to find his place in a new environment. However, once he makes a friend the world seems brighter and even the color white takes on a new meaning.
Talk About It
- Do you have certain colors you wear depending on your mood? What other ways do you have to express yourself?
- Have you ever heard of a patka? Explain that these are traditional head coverings worn by boys & men in the Sikh religion.
- What do you think Harpreet was thinking & feeling about having to move away? Can you relate to his experience?
- Why do you think Harpreet felt shy at his new school? Have you ever felt shy? What helped you get more comfortable? What would you do to help Harpreet if he were in your class?
- How does talking to Abby change things for Harpreet? Look at his smile. What do you think he’s feeling? What about Abby?
- What’s different for Harpreet the next time he wants to wear his white patka? Why do you think his feelings have changed?
- The afterword explains the significance of patkas. Take a few minutes to reflect on what you read, especially the fact that they are a sign of respect & meant to make the wearer feel proud & confident. Talk about the importance of making sure anyone who wears a religious head covering is treated with respect for their choice.
- Spend some time learning more about Sikhism, Patkas, & Bhangra Beats. Check out: Who Am I? What’s on my Head?; Information on Sikhism; History of Bahngra; Bahngra Songs Playlist.
- This book highlights the power of a single friendship to make a child feel more confident & happy. Make a list of ways you can help make new kids at your school feel welcome. Share those ideas with your class & principal. Maybe even start a welcome club!