Sikh Awareness and Appreciation

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

The state of Illinois has designated April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month to recognize the many ways Sikh Americans have influenced American history, achievement, culture, and innovation.

  • The Sikhs

    2000 by Singh, Patwant

    As described by Publisher's Weekly, "In accessible if scholarly prose, Singh traces Sikh history from its origins in the 15th century through Indira Gandhi's 1984 storming of the Golden Temple (the holiest Sikh shrine and the event that led to Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards). Sikhs, he argues, have for centuries been an embattled people because their culture and religion defy the predominant religions in the region, as well as the Indian caste system with its ruling elite. For this reason, Hindu and Muslim rulers strove again and again to violently crush the Sikh religion; over the centuries, Sikhs grew increasingly militarized in order to defend their religion and themselves. The author discusses how the partition of India, the rise of fundamentalism and the perceived indifference of the Indian government to their concerns led to Sikhs' desire for a separate state in the Punjab." Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag


    A sweeping, award-winning biopic about legendary track and field athlete Milkha Singh, nicknamed "The Flying Sikh." This film packs an emotional punch and is truly inspirational. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

    2017 by Jaswal, Balli Kaur

    This book touches on female empowerment, friendship, family, and community, as well as heavier topics like immigration, identity, and power dynamics. There’s also a mystery, which I didn’t expect, and it gets so thrilling that I couldn’t stop turning the pages. When it ended, I wanted to hug this book, I loved it so much. Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Super Sikh: Issue 1, Takeoff and Landing

    2017 by Alden, Eileen Kaur

    Meet Deep Singh. He loves Elvis and hates the Taliban. By day he works at a tech company and lives with his parents. But that's just a front. Deep Singh is really a top secret agent for the United Nations, fighting terrorism all around the world. But right now, he really needs a vacation. And there's only one place to go...Graceland! Recommended by Becca.

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  • When You Ask Me where I'm Going

    2019 by Kaur, Jasmin

    As a Punjabi Sikh woman, Jasmin Kaur puts together a deep and insightful collection of poetry, prose, and illustrations that bring light to an experience that is unknown to many. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Bend It Like Beckham


    Huffpost said it best: "If you're not used to seeing people who look like you onscreen, the times you do are unforgettable. When the film Bend It Like Beckham scored big in theaters in 2002, the classic teen comedy was a game-changer for young South Asians who saw themselves in Jess Bhamra and her Punjabi Sikh family." Recommended by Chris.

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  • What the Body Remembers

    1999 by Baldwin, Shauna Singh

    Kirkus calls this novel "A richly textured, often poetic story of one East Indian woman's tumultuous personal fortunes as they develop against the backdrop of India's independence." Recommended by Paul.

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  • Into the Great Heart: Legends and Adventures of Guru Angad, the Second Sikh Guru

    2020 by Kapur, Kamla

    With a mix of fiction, biography, spirituality, and philosophy, this book is filled with beautiful stories and beautiful writing. Not only will you learn about Sikh teaching, but you may also learn something about yourself. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Patiala House


    At Patiala House lives the Kahlon family, ruled by Bauji. They follow his rules as he tries to hold onto his "Indian values." The younger generations want to follow their dreams, but they are held back by their respect and love for Bauji and the shining example of Bauji's eldest son, Gattu. Gattu gave up his dream, and for the last 17 years he has been working in a corner store. Will Bauji loosen his hold and let the youngsters find their own dreams instead of following his? Recommended by Mary.

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  • We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

    2015 by Iyer, Deepa

    Library Journal says, "Examining the trials and tribulations of immigrant lives, Iyer demonstrates how these immigrants continue to shape America's multicultural future. Inspired by the spirit of Langston Hughes's poignant poem 'I, Too,' the author frames the discussion of her book's subjects into a broader framework of race, ethnicity, and the U.S. immigrant experience." Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness after Hate

    2018 by Michaelis, Arno

    After the Oak Creek tragedy, Arno and Pardeep worked together to start an organization called Serve 2 Unite, which works with students to create inclusive, compassionate, and nonviolent climates in their schools and communities. Their story is one of the triumph of love over hate--and of two men who breached a great divide to find compassion and forgiveness. With New York Times bestseller Robin Gaby Fisher telling Arno and Pardeep's story, The Gift of Our Wounds is a timely reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the courage and compassion that reside within us all. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Train to Pakistan

    2006 by Khushwant Singh

    The village of Mano Majra is a place, Khushwant Singh writes, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the “ghost train” arrives, a funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refugees, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Written in 1956, this is the story of an isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcended the ravages of war. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Sikhism: An Introduction

    2011 by Singh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur

    Now the world's fifth largest religion, with a significant diaspora especially in Britain and North America, this remarkable monotheistic tradition commands the allegiance of 25 million people and is a global phenomenon. In her balanced appraisal, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh reviews the history, theology, and worship of a community poised between reconciling its hereditary creeds and certainties with the fast-paced pressures of modernity. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Tj Powar Has Something to Prove

    2022 by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

    When TJ Powar, Sikh high school student and debate team superstar, decides to stop removing her body hair, she challenges harmful beauty standards for girls. This is a young adult novel with an empowering message. Recommended by Brenna.

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  • Home Body

    2020 by Rupi Kaur

    Rupi Kaur’s work touches on themes of mental health, love, hope, and migration. Her distinct poetry uses only lowercase letters and very little punctuation, inspired by the Punjabi writing style, and is an ode to her heritage. Recommended by Brenna.

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