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Silver Birch Express Award 2023

Alina in a Pinch
By (author): Shenaaz Nanji
Shenaaz Nanji


Second Story Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Juvenile: Age (years) 6 - 8, Grade (CAN) 1 - 3, Grade (US) 1 - 3, Reading age 6 - 8
May 03, 2022
$10.95 CAD


7.5in x 5.25 x 1 in | 108 gr

Page Count:

88 pages
Second Story Press
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism
Children’s / Teenage: Chapter books (transitional storybooks)|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Prejudice and intolerance
Forest of Reading, Silver Birch Express Award 2023, Short-listed The Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award 2023, Short-listed
  • Short Description

A charming story about a young girl struggling at a new school and learning to be brave by embracing her heritage through food.

Lunchtime can be lonely when you’re the new kid at school.

Moving to a new city means Alina has to make new friends, and nothing is worse than lunch at a new school. When her grandmother visits, Alina is inspired to help her cook the delicious Afro-Indian meals she’s always loved, but a cruel note from a mysterious lunchtime bully leaves a bitter taste that even Nani’s excellent cooking can’t erase.

With an audition for Junior Chef fast approaching and Nani’s wise lessons helping her, can Alina embrace her heritage and convince her classmates that being different is a good thing?

Key Selling Points

  • Loosely based on Shenaaz Nanji’s classic picture book, Treasure For Lunch (9781896764320)
  • An early reader chapter book about a young girl coping with being the new kid in school and the only Afro-Indian child in her class
  • Touches on common issues that kids deal with when they’re an ethnic or cultural minority in their school, such as feeling embarrassed about their "different" lunch foods
  • Portrays a close relationship between a grandchild and her grandmother who lives overseas, and the bonds that form around food
  • Reflects contemporary goals that kids have around cooking (Alina starts her own cooking channel on Youtube, auditions to get on a cooking show)

Shenaaz Nanji is an internationally published author with twelve award winning novels, short stories, and picture books. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Her novel, Child of Dandelions, was a finalist for the Governor General award in Children's Literature. Born in Kenya, she now lives in Calgary.

"Alina’s relationship with Nani is heartfelt, and the protagonist’s growing self-assuredness and perseverance will be a comfort for fellow new kids who see themselves in her struggles."

- Publishers Weekly

"A smart, timely tale of acceptance, pride, and identity, Alina in a Pinch is a book that has you cheering for its plucky protagonist."

- Open Book

"This is more than a story about fitting in. Alina realizes that her classmates also have insecurities and differences and comes to accept her background. She looks forward to celebrating it as she tries for a title of Junior Chef."

- Helen Norrie, Winnipeg Free Press

"This chapter book will guide readers into diversity and equity and acceptance… and not just because of the food we eat."

- Larry Swartz, Dr. Larry Recommends

"I think kids should read this book because it’s very informative about culture and that you should express it if you enjoy it. You should not hide what you like just because other people don’t agree with it."

- Ginger, EMWF Children’s Book Reviews

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Also Available

Child of Dandelions Shenaaz Nanji 9781897187500 $9.95 CAD Sep 01, 2008
An Alien In My House Shenaaz Nanji 9781896764771 $15.95 CAD Oct 09, 2003
Treasure for Lunch Shenaaz Nanji 9781896764320 $14.95 CAD Sep 29, 2000

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