Harman Singh
Character Education, Literature
Material Type:
Reading, Reference Material
Lower Primary
The Sikh Coalition
  • Courage
  • Religion
  • Resources from Sikh Coalition
  • Sikh
  • Sikhism
  • Turban
  • resources-from-sikh-coalition
    Educational Use Permitted
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh -- Discussion Guide

    The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh -- Discussion Guide


    • Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from pink for dancing to bhangra beats to red for courage. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—smoothing it out and making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, all he wants is to be invisible. Will he ever feel a happy sunny yellow again?


    Authors: Supriya Kelkar (Sterling’s Childrens Books) & The Sikh Coalition

    Student Handout for the Discussion Guide

    Teacher Notes


    Kindness, compassion, empathy, inclusion, diversity (appreciation of ), friendship, cultural diversity, othering, microaggression, exclusion, emotions, dealing with change, moving to a new home


    This glossary / vocabulary list can be either shared as a handout or written on the board before reading the book. For younger children, the teacher could share the explanations of words when the context arises.

    Article of faith

    An article of faith is something that must be worn by someone who follows that faith at all times. It cannot be taken off. It must be treated with respect and never touched without the wearer’s permission. Someone who wears an article of faith must never be asked to remove it.

    Sikh / Sikhism

    A Sikh is a follower of a religion called Sikhism, which is the fifth largest world religion with more than
    25 million followers. The ‘i’ in the word ‘Sikh’ is a short ‘i’ sound similar to the ‘i’ in the word brick; it should not be pronounced ‘seek’. Sikh core values include love, equality, selfless service, and social justice.


    As part of their faith, practicing Sikhs do not cut their hair. A turban is a Sikh article of faith and is tied on the head to cover the hair. It is integral to a Sikh’s identity, similar to a uniform that is worn every day. The Sikh turban represents a commitment to living the Sikh values described above.


    A patka is a type of turban that is generally worn by younger children until they transition to a full-size turban. The word ‘patka’ is pronounced ‘pat-ka’ (‘pat’ is said like the word ‘shut’).


    Bhangra is a cultural dance from the Punjab region of South Asia. It does not have any religious significance. The word ‘bhangra’ is pronounced ‘bhang-ra’ (‘bhang’ is said like the word ‘rung’).

    Singh / Kaur

    The name Singh is given to all male Sikhs and denotes a lion. The name Kaur is given to all female Sikhs and denotes female royalty. Both names signify sovereignty and responsibility.


    • *When speaking about the patka, it is important to retain cultural sensitivity and to remember that for Sikhs, it is an article of faith. Please also note that there is no religious significance in the colors of patkas, and they are not typically associated with moods. The association of colors with moods is specific to Harpreet Singh’s character in the book—he expresses his moods with colors in a variety of ways, rather than just with his patka (e.g., see page in the book where his parents are suggesting different-colored clothes for him to wear.)

    •  It is important never to refer to the patka as a ‘hat’ because it is an article of faith. It is not simply taken on or off like a hat. It is tied every day and holds deep religious significance. There is a line in the book which reinforces this when Harpreet states “Mine’s not a hat, actually. It’s called a patka.”

    • Please note that it would not be appropriate to encourage children to design or wear their own patkas.


    Before Reading

    This pre-reading section includes discussion questions and an activity.


    • “What different emotions can you think of ?”
    • “How does your body feel when you are experiencing different emotions?”

    • “What is something you do when you are feeling certain emotions?”
    • “What colors are your favorite?”


     “We are going to give you a series of words to respond to. You can share your personal interpretation of the prompt through acting out a pose, speaking, drawing/coloring, or singing.”




    * Happy

    * Sad

    * Shy
    * Nervous

    * Sunny 

    * Gloomy
    * Celebratory
    * Invisible
    * Courageous/Brave


    “What do the things I wear say about me?” 

    “What is an article of faith?” 

    "What other articles of faith can you think of ?"

    “What is a patka?” 


    After Reading

    Teaching with Harpreet


    Dealing with change and having empathy

    • “Was there a time that you went through a big change? How did that make you feel?”

    • “What were some things that helped you feel better when you went through this change?”

    • “What are some acts of friendliness that make you feel appreciated?” “What can we learn about kindness from the illustrations in the book?”

    Part 2: Smiley Faces


    “Smiley faces are a visual theme in the book. What do you think they represent?”



    Community Portrait Activity

    Valuing Diversity and Celebrating Community

    This activity involves assembling a mural. It encourages students to celebrate their own diversity and story, and also encourages acts of kindness and compassion. The final community portrait illustrates their interconnected support system.


      • *  “Harpreet likes to spread cheer everywhere he goes. How can we be kind and try to be a good friend? Please think of one to three ideas and write them in orange on your sunrays.”

      • *  “Next, let’s think of people who are kind to you, who support you, and who bring you joy. These can be your family, your friends, or anyone who is special to you. Please draw a portrait of them trying to really capture their personality on your outlines.”

      • *  “Lastly, please write a short paragraph in your cloud about yourself and the people around you who support you and bring you joy. How do they make you feel, and how do they support you?”

    1. Cut out the printout of Harpreet and Abby with their quote “Together, we can create a kinder world,” which can be placed in the center of the mural.

    2. Encourage the class to set up the mural with you when they are done with their individual parts.

      • *  In the center, place Harpreet and Abby with their quote “Together, we can create a kinder world.”

      • *  Have students place their portraits surrounding Harpreet and Abby in a crowd.

      • *  Place the yellow circle on the top of the mural (in one of the corners), and place the sunrays that the students have created around it.

      • *  Place the clouds in the sky wherever the students want them.

      • *  Optional: Encourage the students to add some swirls in or around the clouds like the ones seen on the inside cover of the book; They should feel that these clouds convey themselves and their loved ones just like the swirls seen on the inside cover.

    3. Use #CommunityKindnessMural on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see examples of assembled murals and to share the one from your classroom!