Sandhya Parappukkaran

Sandhya Parappukkaran

Formerly a food technologist, Sandhya now writes picture books with themes of embracing your cultural heritage, celebrating your differences and being proud of who you are.

Sandhya’s first picture book The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name won the the 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia’s New Illustrator Award, was a 2022 CBCA Notable book, finalist in the 2022 Queensland Literary Awards, shortlisted in the 2022 West Australian Young Readers Book Award, longlisted in the 2022 ABDA awards and highly commended in the 2022 NSW Premiers Literary Award.

Her second book Amma’s Sari was a 2023 CBCA Notable book and a finalist in the NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Both her books are read on Story Box Library by actor and playschool presenter Leah Vandenberg.

Sandhya’s new book, Stay For Dinner, will be released on the 17th of May 2023. Sandhya resides in Brisbane with her husband, three kids and a backyard brimming with mango trees, curry leaves and green chillies. Sandhya is a huge lover of libraries and visits once a week to borrow stacks and stacks of books!


All my sessions are 45 minutes but can be adjusted to 30 minutes to 1 hour. The sessions include story reading, getting to know the picture book, discussion on endpapers and illustrations and a craft or writing activity based on the book.

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink his Name

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name.
When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim – but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his long name.
Sandhya will lead a discussion delving into names paired with craft or writing activity.

For years 1 to 3:

We get to unravel Zimdalamashermishkada’s name! An investigation into Michelle’s illustrations. Make your own collage name craft activity.

For years  4 to 6:

Discussion on the importance names play as part of your identity, paired with a writing activity.

Topics covered:

* What do our names mean to us?
* What do our names mean to our parents?
* Why is it important to pronounce names correctly?
* How to write your name to help others learn it.
* Make your name collage artwork Sandhya Parappukkaran Amma

Amma's Sari

Years 1 to 6 

Amma’s Sari is a story about finding pride in your differences and learning to embrace your cultural heritage. Six-year-old Shreya’s life tilts between her life at home and the outside world. While her love for her family lifts her up, her spirits plummet at the stares and whispers that her mother’s sari attracts. But when Shreya finds herself lost in a crowd, it’s the shimmer of Amma’s sari that leads her to finding pride if her difference.

Sandhya will offer an immersive and interactive story time, followed by engaging and creative activities.

For years 1 to 3:

Learn all about sari materials, patterns and how to wear a sari. Design your own sari on paper.

For years 4 to 6:

Discussion onto why Shreya resists Amma’s bold embracing of their culture paired with a writing activity.

Topics covered:

• How long is a sari?
• How do you wear a sari?
• What does family and culture mean to you?
• Do you have special clothes and stories your parents/family share with you?
• Sari collage craft activity

Stay for Dinner

Stay for Dinner is a powerful story that celebrates culture and connection through food, from the creators of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name, winner of the 2022 Children's Book Council of Australia's Award for New Illustrator. Reshma’s family eat with their hands. When she’s invited to stay for dinner at her friends’ places, she finds out that they all eat in different ways. Some go ting ting with their cutlery, and others go click clack with their chopsticks. So what will her friends say when they see her family eat with their hands?
Sandhya will explore the ways we eat food paired with a craft or writing activity.

For years 1 to 3:

What’s your favourite food? What is a banana leaf plate? Make your own favourite food artwork.

For years 4 to 6:

Discussion on the different social etiquettes that are acceptable in various cultures around the world, paired with a writing activity.

Topics covered:

* How to incorporate food into your stories.
* What are the different ways we can eat food?
* How is food connected to memories?
* What is a sadhya and what type of foods are included in a sadhya?
* Make a food collage artwork. 

Getting Unstuck With Your Writing

 How to move your narrative forward by freeing your creativity with improv inspired games . Seeing yourself and others in art and literature. What does this mean and how do you write own voice stories? Sandhya shares insights from the writing of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name, Amma’s Sari and Stay for Dinner.

Topics covered:

* Making your character shine.
* Finding props to move your story forward.
* Story structure.
* Add your culture into your stories.



  • Sandhya Parappukkaran’s session was focused on brainstorming ideas for writing topics. The students left the session truly inspired, begging to continue with their ideas when we returned to class. We have since been able to use these techniques in the classroom.
    This was an excellent session where the students learnt great skills, including incorporating their own cultures or special memories into their writing.

    Harlaxton State School, Toowoomba - August 2022

    Harlaxton State School, Toowoomba - August 2022
    Sandhya Parappukkaran


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Sandhya Parappukkaran