According to the synopsis, “This book tells the story of a second-generation, Indian-American young girl who experiences gender inequality in her own home. She is held by her parents to a different standard of personal and academic success than are her brothers. The book is her journey, through her love for dance, beyond the stereotypes and cultural biases negatively impacting girls, towards shining within her own spotlight.”
Patel said the inspiration for the book came from the women in her family and her own observations.
“My mother, both grandmothers, and aunts have shared stories about their upbringing, being held to a different standard than their brothers,” Patel said. “Additionally, through my Bollywood dance rehearsals, I have met many Indian girls my age who are not allowed to travel for college solely because they are girls. These scenarios inspired me to create change, which is what lead me to the idea of writing the book.”
The idea first came to Patel a couple of years ago, but it was about a year ago when she first started working on a rough draft and began expanding on the story.
“Because I was juggling school, dance, and other activities, it took sometime to pull everything together,” Patel said.
She wrote the copy and finished the initial sketches and ideas behind each illustration in the book, but another illustrator took over that, she said.
Does Patel have a future as an author?
“I actually have a desire to study economics, however, this book was really fun and interesting for me to take on and I would love to do another in the future,” she said.
Working on the book wasn’t always easy, but she’s glad she kept with it, Patel said.
“For anyone who wants to take something like this on, my only advice is to pick a purpose for the book and stick to it when writing,” she said. “I know for me it was easy to get sidetracked or exhausted from the long process, but with all of the feedback I have received, everything was worth it!”