I think of a lot of books I enjoyed reading as a child. The Boxcar Children. Fudge. The Goosebump Series. I could get lost in these books because I felt so connected to the characters. Dare I say, I identified with them? Yes, I could definitely say that because I often did. Which is why I never considered that many grow up not getting to say the same thing.
My guest today is one of them. Shetal Shah has been in and around education for many years. One thing she noticed was the lack of books in the classroom featuring Indian or Indian-American women like herself. As a former history teacher at an all girls school, Shetal witnessed how curriculum and literature inclusive of women from diverse backgrounds can have a positive impact on girls’ self-esteem, identity development, and belonging. She knew what she had to do: She decided to write her own book.
She chose the Hindi word Shakti for the title because it means feminine energy and strength, power, and a force to be reckoned with. I am excited to welcome Shetal today to talk more about her book Shakti Girls: Poems of Inspiring Indian Women, and why we need to see a more inclusive curriculum of many cultures.
As a second-generation Indian-American, Shetal Shah hoped to one day see more stories of girls like her fill the shelves of local bookstores. A former educator, Shetal taught world history in all-girls schools where she was reminded how curriculum and literature inclusive of women from diverse backgrounds can have a positive impact on girls’ self-esteem, identity development and belonging. Shetal also developed and led numerous educator workshops, presenting at national conferences covering topics on pedagogy and diversity and inclusion. Shetal currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family while pursuing her writing and mission to bring diversity to bookshelves with stories that inspire. “Shakti Girls” is her inspiring debut.