Rajani LaRocca

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December 2015


Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her family and impossibly cute dog. She spends her time writing middle grade novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. Her debut middle grade, MIDSUMMER'S MAYHEM, an Indian-American mashup of A Midsummer Night's Dream and competitive baking, was an Indies Introduce selection, an Indie next pick, a Kirkus Best Book of 2019, and a Massachusetts Must-Read title.

Her debut picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS: A TALE OF MUSIC AND MATH is set in ancient India and introduces the basics of binary numbers.

Her forthcoming middle grade novel in verse, RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE, involves heritage and fitting in, Hindu mythology and
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Rajani LaRocca I'm going to cheat and pick two fields. I'd love to be a musician (I play the piano and sing), but I don't think I'm good enough to make it performing…moreI'm going to cheat and pick two fields. I'd love to be a musician (I play the piano and sing), but I don't think I'm good enough to make it performing, and I'm definitely not a composer! But music is very important to me, and it plays a crucial role in MIDSUMMER'S MAYHEM.
The other creative field I'd love to be involved in is cooking. I'd love to travel the world, learn about amazing cuisines, and bring them home to my family. We've been fortunate enough to visit lots of places and eat lots of delicious food, but I'd love to do even more. As you can imagine, creativity in the kitchen plays a huge role in the book as well!(less)
Rajani LaRocca Great question! I love cooking and baking competition shows!
My favorite baking competition show is The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British…more
Great question! I love cooking and baking competition shows!
My favorite baking competition show is The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake Off in the UK). I love that all the contestants are amateurs (but seriously talented!); that the hosts, competitors, and judges get all nerdy about technique and ingredients; that the competitors come from all over the UK from a variety of backgrounds; that they compete just for bragging rights and a cake stand; and that everyone is so nice to each other. I also love the Kids Baking Championship, hosted by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli. The hosts are super kind and knowledgable, and Duff might have been part of the inspiration for the celebrity pastry chef in Midsummer's Mayhem. :) The kid contestants are so talented and come up with such creative ideas, but they are also real kids who cheer for each other and are disappointed when they have to leave the show. I love the kindness that shines through. even in the midst of a competition. I hope kids enjoy reading about the baking contest in Midsummer's Mayhem...although it might involve more shenanigans than the contests I just mentioned!(less)
Average rating: 4.32 · 869 ratings · 327 reviews · 9 distinct worksSimilar authors
Midsummer's Mayhem

4.26 avg rating — 762 ratings — published 2019
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Seven Golden Rings: A Tale ...

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4.73 avg rating — 41 ratings — published 2020 — 2 editions
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Red, White, and Whole

4.82 avg rating — 55 ratings — expected publication 2021 — 2 editions
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Much Ado About Baseball

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — expected publication 2021 — 3 editions
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The Secret Code Inside You

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — expected publication 2021
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Bracelets For Bina's Brothers

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — expected publication 2021 — 3 editions
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Where Three Oceans Meet

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — expected publication 2022
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I'll Go and Come Back

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — expected publication 2022
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Masala Chai, Fast and Slow

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Empire of Sand
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Rajani’s Recent Updates

Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
"A light and entertaining contemporary fantasy (it can't be urban fantasy if it's set in the woods, right?) that combines girl power, an underdog story, baking, Indian culinary heritage, and Shakespeare's Midsummers' Night Dream. It was the perfect re" Read more of this review »
Seven Golden Rings by Rajani LaRocca
"In ancient India, Bhagat travels to the city hoping to change his family's fortune by being selected as a singer for the rajah. He takes his family's fortune with him--one rupee and a chain of seven golden rings. But the innkeeper wants a ring for ea" Read more of this review »
Seven Golden Rings by Rajani LaRocca
"I’ve always loved tales where the hero had to use his/her brains to complete a quest, and this tale is a perfect example. Bhagat is a kind, bright boy who dreams of singing for the rajah, but ends up doing much more, benefitting the entire kingdom. (" Read more of this review »
Seven Golden Rings by Rajani LaRocca
"Seven Golden Rings follows a boy with limited means who tries to create a better life for himself and his mother by risking everything they have in order to audition for a spot on the rajah's musical troupe. That in itself is a really compelling stor" Read more of this review »
Rajani LaRocca is currently reading
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
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Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
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Search for the Sparkle by Jason June
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An absolutely adorable book about Lucky the Mermicorn and his quest to find his sparkle (magic). Filled with hilarious puns, sweet friendships, and gentle adventure, this is a delightful start to a sparkly chapter book series!
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly  Jackson
More of Rajani's books…
“We walked among the different plants and by using The Book, we did our best to identify them and understand how to use them. Some were easy- spearmint, "for refreshment, strength, and healing," and rosemary, "for remembrance, and the prevention of nightmares." We also found a swathe of sage, which could be used "to cultivate wisdom and intelligence." When I came across a bunch of plants with dark green leaves and tiny white flowers, it took us quite a while to identify it by its drawing in The Book: gotu kola, an herb that could "restore the senses and clear confusion."
"Oh, look at this one," I said. "Saffron, for success. I should probably bake with that."
"If only it grew here," said Vik.
Finally, on the bank of a small stream, we found gigantic thyme stems, almost two feet tall and topped with plump clusters of purple flowers. "What's thyme good for?" I asked Vik as I plucked a dozen stems and inhaled their herbaceous scent.
"Thyme attracts affection, loyalty, and the goodwill of others," read Vik, "and can foster strength and courage when needed.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“My nutmeg-caraway shortbread had too many conflicting spices, he would say. And of course, it had nothing to do with leaves. The lemon-raspberry cake decorated with lemon leaves was too tart, and the toffee cupcakes with leaf-shaped maple candy were cloying.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“I was in the mood for some savory scones- I couldn't eat only sweet things, no matter what Mrs. T said.
I cut cold butter into flour with my pastry blender, added minced sun-dried tomatoes, fresh Parmesan, salt and pepper, sprinkled in oregano, and then, on a whim, tossed in crushed fennel seeds. I mixed in an egg and some milk. I kneaded the dough a few times, cut out rounds, and plopped them on a cookie sheet. I brushed the tops with more milk and slid the sheet into the hot oven.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“We walked among the different plants and by using The Book, we did our best to identify them and understand how to use them. Some were easy- spearmint, "for refreshment, strength, and healing," and rosemary, "for remembrance, and the prevention of nightmares." We also found a swathe of sage, which could be used "to cultivate wisdom and intelligence." When I came across a bunch of plants with dark green leaves and tiny white flowers, it took us quite a while to identify it by its drawing in The Book: gotu kola, an herb that could "restore the senses and clear confusion."
"Oh, look at this one," I said. "Saffron, for success. I should probably bake with that."
"If only it grew here," said Vik.
Finally, on the bank of a small stream, we found gigantic thyme stems, almost two feet tall and topped with plump clusters of purple flowers. "What's thyme good for?" I asked Vik as I plucked a dozen stems and inhaled their herbaceous scent.
"Thyme attracts affection, loyalty, and the goodwill of others," read Vik, "and can foster strength and courage when needed.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“My nutmeg-caraway shortbread had too many conflicting spices, he would say. And of course, it had nothing to do with leaves. The lemon-raspberry cake decorated with lemon leaves was too tart, and the toffee cupcakes with leaf-shaped maple candy were cloying.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“I was in the mood for some savory scones- I couldn't eat only sweet things, no matter what Mrs. T said.
I cut cold butter into flour with my pastry blender, added minced sun-dried tomatoes, fresh Parmesan, salt and pepper, sprinkled in oregano, and then, on a whim, tossed in crushed fennel seeds. I mixed in an egg and some milk. I kneaded the dough a few times, cut out rounds, and plopped them on a cookie sheet. I brushed the tops with more milk and slid the sheet into the hot oven.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“The sun-dried tomatoes were robust and sweet and played well with the salty Parmesan. The oregano added a floral note, and the fennel made it energizing and playful.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

“The bowl was warm, and I inhaled the comforting aroma. It was kesari bhath, a dessert Mom had learned to make from her mom, who'd learned it from hers in India, and on and on and on for who knew how many generations. It was made with semolina, sugar, milk, and ghee, flavored with saffron and cardamom, and studded with raisins and cashews. I tasted a spoonful of the thick, golden pudding. It was perfect.”
Rajani LaRocca, Midsummer's Mayhem

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GMGR brings together parents, teachers, librarians, writers and readers, who all love middle grade books. If you've ever wished for your very own magi ...more
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