same, same but different

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Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!

Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys living oceans apart can be the best of friends.

Henry Holt and Co. / Christy Ottaviano Books, September 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0805089462

Honors and Awards:

  • Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2012
  • Ezra Jack Keats New Author Honor, 2012
  • MD Frostburg State University Children’s Literature Centre A, 2012
  • South Asia Book Award, 2012


Please consider purchasing my books from your local, independent booksellers! 



When I was little, my dad traveled the world. I remember him telling me that people are the same everywhere and that people are good-hearted. He inspired me to travel the world, too, and I have learned the same beautiful lesson. In Southeast Asia, I learned this popular saying when comparing different cultures,

“Same, same. But different!”

This book was inspired by my travels in India and Thailand, my dad, and my little friends/students at Sunshine School in Bhaktapur, Nepal. I did a project with my Nepali students where they shared different parts of their culture and daily lives with my friends in the U.S. We went for walks in their village and drew temples, musicians, potters, and farmers. They drew their parents at home in their traditional dress, and they drew their mud houses, wells and animals. They drew themselves and they drew each other and had so much fun! These, along with a few bulging sketchbooks of mine over several trips, have been great research+inspiration for this book.