PPBF: Sugar In Milk

Today I'm excited for our first PPBF of the new year.

Our pick is a bittersweet immigration tale that has
my #oneword20201 {goodness} sprinkled throughout.

Title: Sugar In Milk
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Illustrator: Khoa Le
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Birth Date: October 6, 2020
Suitable for: ages 5-9
Themes: immigration, diversity, kindness
Brief synopsis: A young girl immigrates to a new land and struggles to connect until her Aunt shares a powerful fable that helps her not only overcome her loneliness, but also empowers her with a new creative way to help acclimate to her sweet new surroundings. 
Opening page: When I first came to this country, I felt so alone.

Resources: Check out this glowing Kirkus review.
Read a comprehensive review by Elizabeth Bird {here}.
Tune in to a podcast to hear the author talk about her work {here}.

Why I like this book: I'm not sure that this timeless tale could have come at a more opportune time in our country's history, when isolation and loneliness are rampant and division threatens to break us apart. Though the circumstances may vary, the reader will instantly understand and connect to the feelings that they imagine are associated with the loneliness of moving away and the deep desire belong. Beyond the perfect timing, I love that this is a story within a story as the Aunt wisely thinks to share a beloved centuries-old Persian legend to help her niece through some very uncomfortable feelings.

When the King uses a glass of milk filled to its brim to show the people from a foreign land that his land is full and has no room for them, a quick-witted leader jumps in to add sugar to the milk, to convey to the King that he does, indeed, have room for them and that they, in fact, could add sweetness to their land. My favorite line?

"Between two wise people, sometimes words are not necessary."

Masterfully brought to life with the incredibly rich illustrations, 
there is SO much depth in this magical newcomer.

Use it as a springboard for a discussion 
on change, 
on diversity,
on kindness, 
on belonging.

Follow it up with the Pepper Experiment  

or the Pinch of Kindness lesson.

Need some more kindness ideas? Check out Kindness Is
 The REAL Global Warmingmy guest post at Dr. Jean's blog.

Or challenge your students, staff and stakeholders to
look for and find JOY in January (and beyond!)
with simple deeds you can perform daily.

Better yet, set your own intentions on a blank calendar for purposefully adding a packet of sweetness to the lives of those around you.

Check out this book; it very well could be the
most important addition to your shelves from 2020.
Then head to Susanna's blog to see other AmAzInG selections.



  1. Great experiment. Hope my library has it!

  2. I love the activities that you've paired with this book. It sounds wonderful and will be added to my TBR pile. Thanks for the rec!

  3. What a beautiful choice today -- and so timely. Thanks for including the link for the Joy in January calendar. I printed a copy. Enjoyed your other activities too. We certainly could use ALOT of JOY, KINDNESS and COMPASSION right now.

  4. Very interesting fable. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks

  5. I can't wait for all of the goodness you will find and share with us this year! The gold lettering of the book title draws me in. I do the pepper/soap/sugar with my firsties when we talk about making and keeping friends and they are always amazed! "Fun is our ticket to engagement!" my friend, Barbara Gruener always says! :) And it proves true over and over.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!