Spotlight on Pushpinder Kaur, children’s book author

Illustration by Sukhpreet Singh of Pushpinder's book and Games We Play

Illustration by Sukhpreet Singh of Pushpinder’s book and Games We Play

Rightfully depicted as “A journey down memory lane with childhood games from the Sikh heartland of the Punjab” Games We Play will transport you back to Punjab through the images and the narratives in this bilingual book.  Once you are back, you will be in the center of your childhood again on the dusty streets of Punjab.

I decided to write the narrations for these beautiful pictures because they spoke to me; I was instantly a little girl again, and that feeling is priceless.

As you turn the pages in this book, you too will return to your youth: hopping and skipping through hopscotch, aiming and hitting the Pithus, rubbing your hands in dust to grab geetay , filling pockets of baantay to wager them in hopes of winning more, flying colorful ptang in the evenings, hitting the gulli so hard your friends would run like the wind to mark the spot it hit the ground, fields full of Kabaddi players and many, many more games.

Your heart will be delighted when you see pictures of yourself tying your pug while holding the mirror in-between your knees. And oh, the excruciating pain of the danda from Master Ji will send a wave of terror up your spine but put a smile on your face for revisiting his classroom. 

This book will fill you with nostalgic longing to go back home and will bring you as close to your childhood days as possible while living in America today.  I hope you come back to this book again and again to revisit the Games We Play in our childhood in Punjab. 

Pushpinder Kaur and her family

Pushpinder Kaur and her family

A Q and A with Pushpinder Kaur. 

What encourages you to write, especially when writing about sensitive subjects regarding Sikh American children?
When I was a new, non-English speaking mother in the US, I faced many challenges in providing my children with protection in the outside world. I want other mothers out there to know that raising Sikh children is challenging, but is also an extremely rewarding experience. All children need to have absolute trust in themselves and the confidence that they are as good as anyone else. That confidence will come from knowing who they are. I know it can be done. Don’t give up.

Why children’s books?
Children’s books appeal to me because the impact of children’s books can be far reaching. Not only that they themselves will learn from books, but they may also teach others around them. Socially educated children of today will be caring members of our communities and citizens in a harmonious society of tomorrow.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
The success of my own children is an inspiration for me. Something worked. Since I successfully helped my own children, I want to share this information with others. What better way to share than with books?

What do you enjoy most about being an author and writing about your personal experiences?
The fact that I have a very typical life story that millions share with me makes me think that whatever helped me can help others too. It inspires me to share what I have been through if it means another family can benefit from it.

What are you working on right now?
I have so many ideas but I haven’t been able to nail one down yet. One thing I really want to work on in near future is a collection of the horrible experiences young children have in schools and how they overcome them. I feel this collective wisdom will help Sikh children, and hopefully all young children, fight cruel social battles in a collective way.

What is your message for Sikh American youth given your focus on Sikh identity in your books?
Sikhi is not for the weak or the meek. You are born into a Sikh family for a reason. You have the power to eradicate ignorance and create a harmonious society. More importantly, you have the right to be who you are. Learn who you are and show the world what a wonderful, fantastic human being you can be.

Pusphinder Kaur

Pusphinder Kaur

Pushpinder Kaur was born and brought up in a small village in Punjab before eventually moving to San Jose, California. While she wanted to be a doctor when she was younger, Pushpinder got a Bachelor’s in Education, a Master’s in Elementary Education with an emphasis in teaching English as a Second Language. Her training in ESL inspired her to design Punjabi as a Second Language (PSL) materials that are being used by a number of schools across the United States to educate thousands of Sikh children in Punjabi, Gurmukhi, Gurbani, and Sikhi values. The author within Pushpinder was born when she contributed a short story to the Writers of the Sikh Future competition organized by the Sikh Foundation in April 1998 and won first prize. Since then, Pushpinder has published bilingual children’s books that will appeal to the Punjabi and English reader alike. Pushpinder is able to accomplish so much because of her beautiful and supportive family. She would love to continue to write stories that will help young people overcome difficult situations, and for mothers to keep their hopes high.

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