Yasmin's Hammer by Ann Malaspina could in many ways be a picture book companion to Rickshaw Girl, the simply and beautifully written chapter book story by Mitali Perkins in which a girl struggles between her love for a traditional art form and her family's needs, all the time seeing her own education about to be held hostage.
What is so refreshing about both books is that neither features the culture as the source of conflict. One of the most touching spreads in Yasmin's Hammer is the one with the family poring over the book she has just purchased with her hard-earned taka. Before the father stands up, before he makes his announcement, we are poised with this family, on the edge of that story turn. It's quite remarkable.
I also really appreciated that while there is the obligatory glossary, words like taka and the glorious, mythic Bangla word for the water buffalo, mohish, are allowed to be understood contextually on the page without pulling the reader out of the story for the purposes of translation.
And I'm happily reminded yet again of Katia Novet Saint-Lot's lovely book, Amadi's Snowman. It also deals with the power of books and reading but it does something else I absolutely love. It takes a sly jab at the notion of what it means to be "exotic."