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Masala Chai, Fast and Slow

Masala Chai, Fast and Slow

Illustrated by Neha Rawat


Masala Chai, Fast and Slow

About the Book

Newbery Honoree Rajani LaRocca, author of I’ll Go and Come Back, turns her focus to a careful, deliberate grandfather and his impatient grandson in a cozy family story featuring a recipe for spiced chai.

Aarav loves his grandfather very much, but they’re as different as water and molasses. Where Aarav runs and races, Thatha likes to saunter and stroll. Every day at five o’clock, Thatha makes masala chai for the family, and no matter how much Aarav urges him to hurry, Thatha insists on taking his time. “Masala chai cannot be rushed,” says Thatha. “It must be made carefully.” One day, when Thatha sprains his ankle and must rest on the couch, Aarav eagerly decides he’d like to make the chai himself—after all, what would make his grandfather feel better than a cup of warm, spiced sweetness? But no matter how hard Aarav tries, his rushing causes him to miss some crucial step. Will Aarav be able to slow down and get the recipe right? With charming illustrations by Neha Rawat that are as enticing as the aroma of spiced tea, author Rajani LaRocca invites readers in for a visit with Aarav and his family—and shares her favorite masala chai recipe at the end.

Product Details

On sale: September 5, 2023
Age: 3-7 years
Grade: Preschool - 2
Page count: 40 Pages
ISBN: 9781536219401

Author Bio

Rajani LaRocca was born in Bangalore, India, and immigrated to the US when she was a baby. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Harvard with both a BA and an MD, and has worked as a primary care physician since 2001. She is the author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor Book Red, White, and Whole and the picture book I’ll Go and Come Back, illustrated by Sara Palacios. Rajani LaRocca lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her family.

Neha Rawat is an engineer and the illustrator of several books for young readers. She lives in India.


Although this intergenerational story centers on a South Asian practice—afternoon chai—its sweetly conveyed message of mindfulness will resonate with impatient little ones everywhere. The muted, earth-toned illustrations, depicting an adorably exuberant tot and a loving family, complement the text effectively. A much-needed reminder to slow down and live in the moment.
—Kirkus Reviews

This is a delightful tale of intergenerational love, the importance of patience, and the joy of a simple afternoon family ritual. Bright, jaunty illustrations add humor and cultural details that ground this story in a contemporary Indian context. A recipe for masala chai will have readers heading to the kitchen to try it for themselves.

LaRocca highlights an intergenerational relationship in an ode to a beloved family ritual. . . . Rawat’s soft-focus, earth-tone illustrations convey a cozy feel and a deep love of family.
—Publishers Weekly

LaRocca’s playful text is warmly inviting and accessibly straightforward, easily conveying the love between grandfather and grandson despite their different approaches to their daily tempo. Aarav bounces through the soft hues and buoyant textures of Rawat’s digital art, with wide-eyed expressions accompanying toothy grins or appreciative smiles. Heat up a pot and follow the included recipe for masala chai for a cuddly lapsit or lulling storytime celebrating intergenerational bonds.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A heartfelt story about family, compassion and, most of all, mindful patience. Is there anything Rajani LaRocca can’t do?
—Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshop