Rajani LaRocca

Award Winning Children’s Author
Newbery Honor, Walter Dean Meyer Award
Travels from: Boston, MA

“My students absolutely loved Rajani’s writing lesson!” — Kelly Van Kirk, 6th Grade ELA Teacher, Prescott Valley, AZ

Rajani LaRocca is a physician and award-winning author of books for young people. She was born in Bangalore, India, immigrated to the U.S. as a baby, and spent most of her childhood in Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she’s been working as a primary care internal medicine physician since 2001. She lives in eastern Massachusetts with her family and impossibly cute dog.

Rajani has always been an omnivorous reader of novels, nonfiction, comic books, and cereal boxes. She is now an omnivorous writer of award-winning books for young readers: novels and picture books, fiction and nonfiction, in prose and poetry. Her middle grade novel in verse, Red, White, and Whole, won a 2022 Newbery Honor, the 2022 Walter Dean Myers Award, the 2022 Golden Kite Award, and the 2021 New England Book Award, as well as other honors. She is the author of numerous other acclaimed novels and picture books, including Midsummer’s Mayhem, Seven Golden Rings, and more. She also co-hosts the STEM Women in KidLit Podcast.

The books Rajani read as a child helped shape who she is today in ways she’s still discovering. Books inspired her to pursue medicine, made her yearn to live in different worlds, and helped her consider what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. A lifelong book lover, she never saw herself in a book until she was an adult—and when she did, it was world-changing and mind-blowing. She believes that everyone deserves to see themselves in the pages of a book; that writing and reading diversely promotes empathy; and empathy makes the world a better place.

Prepare an Invitation for:

Brazaletes para los hermanos de Bina / Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers (Storytelling Math)

Charlesbridge |

¡Celebremos la diversidad, las matemáticas y el poder del cuento!

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling with this bilingual (Spanish and English) edition!

¡Ahora en edición bilingüe inglés-español! Para la celebración hindú Raksha Bandhan, Bina decide regalarles a sus hermanos brazaletes de cuentas hechos por ella misma. Para eso averigua qué colores le gusta a cada uno y cuáles no, y se pone manos a la obra. Al seguir patrones de cuentas de colores alternados, uno y uno, Bina descubre algo nuevo sobre los patrones… y sobre sus hermanos.

Los libros de la serie Cuentos matemáticos celebran las aventuras diarias de niños que usan las matemáticas mientras juegan, construyen y descubren el mundo que los rodea. Historias divertidas y actividades prácticas facilitan que tanto los niños como los adultos exploren juntos  las matemáticas de la vida diaria. Fue desarrollada junto a expertos en el currículum STEM,

For the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, Bina is determined to make beaded bracelets for her brothers all by herself. She finds out which colors her brothers like and dislike and sets to work. Working with her every-other-one beading pattern causes Bina to discover something new about patterns–and her brothers.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

I’ll Go and Come Back

Candlewick |

A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.

When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?

The Secret Code Inside You: All About Your DNA

little bee books |
Middle Grade

“Dynamic and eye-catching illustrations. . . . A solid introduction to a complex topic.” –Kirkus Reviews

This whimsical approach to explaining the concept of DNA, cells, and chromosomes manages to make a complex topic accessible to preschoolers.” –School Library Journal

Learn about the secret code that is DNA in this vibrant and informative picture book!

There’s a secret code inside you, a code called DNA.
A code that tells your body’s cells what they should do each day.
It looks like twisted ladders, or tiny, twirling noodles.
It makes us into people, instead of into poodles.

Why can’t humans breathe underwater? Why are some people tall and others short? Why do we resemble our parents and grandparents? This book explores all this and more in flowing, rhyming text, explaining cells, DNA, and genetics in a way that is simple and easy for children to understand. Colorful and brilliantly illustrated, The Secret Code Inside You illustrates that while DNA may be the blueprint for how a person looks, what you choose to do with your body is entirely up to you!

My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris

Golden Books |

Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography all about the first female Vice President Kamala Harris! The perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers!

This Little Golden Book about Kamala Harris–the first woman, first African American woman, and first Indian American woman to be elected Vice President of the United States–is an inspiring read-aloud for young girls and boys.

Read all the Little Golden Book biographies: My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris, My Little Golden Book About Frida Kahlo, My Little Golden Book About Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Little Golden Book About Betty White, My Little Golden Book About Jackie Robinson, My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King Jr., My Little Golden Book About George Washington, My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln, My Little Golden Book About Balto, and My Little Golden Book About Johnny Appleseed.

Where Three Oceans Meet

Abrams Books for Young Readers |

A child, mother, and grandmother travel all the way to the end of the earth in this picture book that celebrates multigenerational love—perfect for fans of Drawn Together and Alma.

“I want to see what’s at the end of the earth!”

Sejal, Mommy, and Pati travel together to the southern tip of India. Along the way, they share meals, visit markets, and catch up with old friends.
For Pati, the trip retraces spaces she knows well. For Mommy, it’s a return to the place she grew up. For Sejal, it’s a discovery of new sights and sounds. The family finds their way to Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet, and delight in making it to the end of the earth together.
This own voices picture book celebrates the beauty of India and the enduring love of family.

Feeling Divided, Being Whole

Rajani describes the inspiration for Red, White, and Whole and her path to writing it, from her childhood to the present day to inspire kids to tell their own stories and know that we all belong.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
45-60 minutes, Ages 9 and up

Seeing Yourself in Stories: Writing Middle Grade Novels

Rajani explains how she went from doctor to doctor-author, and the inspiration and stories behind her middle grade novels.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
45-60 minutes, Ages 8 and up

Math and Magic

Rajani talks about her fascination for math puzzles and how that led to writing Much Ado About Baseball, Seven Golden Rings, and other books, and how to embrace the wonder and joy of math and science in literature.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
45-60 minutes, Ages 8 and up

Bracelets for Bina's Brothers and Patterns

Rajani reads the book, and talks about recognizing patterns and making them, and how math is everywhere!
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
30 minutes, Ages 3-7

My Author Journey and Seven Golden Rings

Rajani talks about her love of puzzles and riddles from a young age and how it led to writing Seven Golden Rings. Includes a reading of the book.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
30-45 minutes, Ages 5 and up

Where Three Oceans Meet and the Power of Three

Rajani talks about writing Where Three Oceans Meet. Includes a reading of the book.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
30-45 minutes, Ages 5 and up

Science and The Secret Code Inside You

Rajani talks about being a doctor, the concept of “nature vs. nurture,”  how it led to writing The Secret Code Inside You. Includes a reading of the book.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
30-45 minutes, Age 5 and up

Family, Journeys, and I’ll Go and Come Back

Rajani talks about her author journey and her visits to relatives to India that inspired her picture book, I’ll Go and Come Back. Includes a reading of the book.
Audience Size: Assembly or classroom-size group
30-45 minutes, Ages 5 and up

Q&A Sessions

Q & A for groups who have read one or more of my books
Audience Size: Classroom-size group
20-30 minutes

Honors, Awards & Recognition

2022 John Newbery Honor Winner
2022 Walter Dean Myers Award Winner
2021 New England Book Award Winner
2022 SCBWI Golden Kite Award Winner
Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2021
New York Public Library Best Book of 2021
School Library Journal Best Middle Grade of 2021
NCTE 2022 Notable Verse Novel
BookPage Best Middle Grade Book of 2021
2022 SCBWI Golden Kite Award Finalist
A 2022 Notable Books for a Global Society Award Winner
A Mighty Girl 2021 Book of the Year
2021 Cybils Award Finalist, Poetry
2021 Nerdy Book Club Award Winner, Poetry/Verse Novels
Spring 2021 Kids’ Indie Next Top Ten Title
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
2022-23 Vermont Golden Dome Award Nominee
2022-23 Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Award Nominee
2022 Ohio Buckeye Award Nominee
2022-23 Iowa Chidren’s Choice Award Nominee
2020 Massachusetts Book Award Honor
Kirkus Best Middle Grade of 2019
2019 Nerdy Book Club Award Winner
School Library Journal Fuse #8 2019 Best Middle Grade
A Mighty Girl Best Book of 2019
Indie Next Pick for Summer 2019
Indies Introduce Selection for Summer/Fall 2019
2022 Mathical Honor Book
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
School Library Journal Fuse #8 2021 Best Middle Grade
2021 Massachusetts Book Award Honor
Skipping Stones 2021 Honor Award Winner
2021 Mathical Award Winner for Grades 3-5
Book Links Lasting Connections 2020 Title
School Library Journal Fuse #8 2020 Best Math Book for Kids
2023 New York Charlotte Award Nominee
2023 Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award Nominee
School Library Journal Fuse #8 2021 Transcendent Holiday Book
School Library Journal Fuse #8 2021 Best Math Book for Kids
2021 Nerdy Book Award Winner, Fiction Picture Books
2022 Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title
CCBC Choices 2022 Title

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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