The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani DasGupta (Scholastic, 2018)
- NYPL List of 14 Books to Read after Harry Potter
- Booklist 2018 Editor’s Choice
- Bookriot 52 Awesome Children’s Books of 2018
- UPENN GSE Best Books for Young Readers 2018
- Center for Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Multicultural Children’s Books 2018
- Bank Street Best Book of the Year
- an EB White Read Aloud Honor Book
On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey, until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. It turns out that there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories — for example, that Kiranmala is a real Indian princess who comes from a secret place not of this world.
To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons, all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen, in order to find her parents and, essentially, to save New Jersey, as well as her entire world and everything beyond it.
Sayantani DasGupta is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she’s not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse Books, and can be found online at sayantanidasgupta.com and on Twitter at @sayantani16.
Kazia Berkley-Cramer is a children’s librarian at a public library outside of Boston. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature as well as an MS in Library and Information Science. Part of the Reading While White blog team and a reviewer for Kirkus, she particularly loves discussing representation in children’s and YA media. She has served on the 2019 Robert F Sibert Committee and is currently serving on the Stonewall Book Awards Children’s and Young Adult subcommittee for 2021. You can find her occasionally tweeting @cateyekazia or see what non-committee books she’s been reading on Goodreads.