Laxmi’s Mooch

Kokila. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984815651.
Gr 1-3–Laxmi is a South Asian girl, sporting dark hair, tan skin, and tiny dark hairs above her upper lip. Her mooch, or mustache, becomes the topic of conversation one day at school, causing Laxmi to become extremely self-conscious about all of her body hair. At home, Laxmi asks her parents about her mooch; they, in return, quell Laxmi’s insecurities by comparing her to other beautiful people and creatures who have hair elsewhere than their heads. The next day, Laxmi proudly displays her mooch, inviting her classmates to celebrate their own—real or not—along with her. Beautifully illustrated using a wide array of colors, Laxmi’s world is filled with people of many skin shades, body types, and cultural backgrounds. The images pair delightfully with the text, propelling the story forward and connecting readers to Laxmi and her life. Additionally, Laxmi invites readers into her story at the beginning and the end, breaking the fourth wall and making children feel seen in a safe, friendly way. Mid-length text makes this story well suited to kids, whether as a read aloud or an independent read. Hindi words blend seamlessly into the dialogue, requiring no translation; however, these words also appear on the endpapers with accompanying visuals to reiterate this potentially new vocabulary.
VERDICT Readers of all ages will appreciate the message of self-love presented within Laxmi’s story, which takes on body positivity for a relatively young audience in an uplifting way.

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