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Preserving Malayalee- Indian American Culture through children’s books

July 12, 2016

Adventures of Molz Book 1 Ammu the AamaSusan (Jacob) Kokura was born in 1981 in Kerala, India and lived in Aluva until 1989.  In 1989 her parents Jacob Varkey and Kunjamma Jacob brought her and her older siblings to the United States with the hopes of achieving big dreams and a better life similar to many Malayalee families.  At the age of 8, struggling to adjust to the American culture and during hardship that many immigrant families experience, she immersed herself in books and imagination but wondered why books did not show any Indian children in them.  At the age of 8 she vowed one day she would create a children’s book character after herself so children all around the world can identify with her south Indian heritage.

Adventures of Molz, a new children’s book series, introduce the young reader to an ordinary girl from Kerala who deals with ordinary problems.  As a south Indian woman who grew up in America and a mother of 2 young boys as well as an aunt to so many children, while searching through numerous children’s books, watching television shows and movies, she realized there is very limited representation of the diversity of Indian cultures.  The main character, Molz is developed to represent the diversity of South Indian culture.  Recalling the earliest memories from her childhood in order to share stories with her children, nieces and nephews, and friends children what better way than to transform memories into reality.  With the beautiful illustrations by Frank Passaretti, the reader can join Molz on her adventures through the enchantingly beautiful emerald greenland of Kerala.

Frank Passaretti

Frank Passaretti

Book 1 is a heartwarming story about Molz, who is a young girl that lives in Kerala who loves her Ammachi (grandmother). Ammachi andMolz go for walks by the Periyar River where she finds a new pet to take home – an Aama (tortoise) thatshe names Ammu. Molz has adventures with Ammu like floating paper boats in the river, and playingdress up with her. Needless to say, she develops a strong bond with Ammu as it is her first pet. Whenshe learns of Ammu’s sudden passing one morning, she experiences emotions of sadness and life’sdifficulties for the first time. With the help of her Ammachi, Molz is able to get through the feeling ofsadness, learns about grieving, and is able to find happiness once again.  Book 1 Adventures of Molz:  Ammu the Aama will be released in the Fall of 2016.

About the Author:

Susan Kokura is a NYC based clinical pharmacist and South Indian writer. Susan is a married full time working mother of two boys a 9 month old and a 2 year old.Contact information: Cell phone number: 516-526-1610 Email:


About the Illustrator:

Frank Passaretti has been drawing for as long as he can remember.  He grew up in New Jersey and received his bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts.  Frank has worked as a kindergarten teacher since 2005 and continues to draw as often as possible.  His published works include Faery Worlds Magazine and Legend of the Faie: Arden and Tye’s Tale.

family picture with my parents

Family picture with parents

Me as a kid 1988

Me as a kid 1988

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