Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
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?
About the author
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."
"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."
Winnipeg Free Press
"A smart, timely tale of acceptance, pride, and identity, Alina in a Pinch is a book that has you cheering for its plucky protagonist."
"This chapter book will guide readers into diversity and equity and acceptance… and not just because of the food we eat."
Dr. Larry Recommends