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Mehndi Boy

By Zain Bandali
Illustrated by Jani Balakumar
Interest Age: 6–11
Grade: 1–6
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.2.2.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Hardcover : 9781773217925, 108 pages, October 2023 , 8.0" x 6.5"
Paperback : 9781773217932, 108 pages, March 2024 , 8.0" x 6.5"


"Delightful . . . the world needs more ‘mehndi boys!’” —Vivek Shraya, author of The Boy and the Bindi and God Loves Hair

“A triumph . . . a story I wish I had as a child.” —Danny Ramadan, award-winning author of Salma the Syrian Chef

Now in paperback! An artistic, fashion-loving boy unlocks a new talent—and learns to stand up for it—in this chapter book perfect for fans of the Sadiq series and Meet Yasmin!

Tehzeeb drew curvy clouds, grand galaxies, squirmy squiggles, and delicate dots. He made charming checkerboards and even perfected paisleys. His practice was finally paying off!

The first time Tehzeeb tries mehndi, his passion for the art form blossoms. Soon, he’s creating designs for all his friends and family, and dreams of becoming the most in-demand mehndi artist in town. So Tez is hurt and confused when his favorite uncle tells him mehndi isn’t for boys. His art brings people joy. How could it be wrong? Tehzeeb doesn’t want to disappoint his uncle. But when a crisis before his cousin’s wedding puts his talents to the test, Tehzeeb must find the courage to be his true creative self.

Jani Balakumar’s expressive, vibrant illustrations bring Tehzeeb’s designs—and his community—to life. This charming, affirming story by debut author Zain Bandali will have you celebrating creativity, artistic expression, and being unapologetically yourself.

Readers can learn more about mehndi at home with activities at the end of the book.


“[A] fast-paced chapter book, replete with vibrant illustrations . . . This would be a lovely read-aloud, taking readers on an emotional journey along with Tehzeeb.”

- Booklist, 09/28/23