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Children's Fiction Prejudice & Racism

Alina in a Pinch

by (author) Shenaaz G. Nanji

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
May 2022
Prejudice & Racism, Friendship, Cooking & Food
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

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 of over a dozen books for children. 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. Her chapter book, Alina in a Pinch, was a finalist for the Silver Birch Express award. Born in Kenya, she now lives in Calgary.

Shenaaz G. Nanji's profile page


  • Short-listed, The Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Short-listed, Forest of Reading, Silver Birch Express Award

Editorial Reviews

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

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."

EMWF Children’s Book Reviews

"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

"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

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