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Discover The First but Not the Last, South Asian Woman

Peering out into the big world

filled with curiosity and wonder, a little being of two can take in so much. At this age where toddlers tend to ‘monkey see, monkey do’, who and what they are surrounded by can impact the type of person they grow up to be. Wanting to inspire others, like her daughter, to be unapologetically themselves is Pin Sahota, first time board book author and illustrator of “The First but Not the Last“.

After becoming the first Asian African American female Vice President of the United States, Harris had shared a quote from her mother, “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last”. It was Harris, or more accurately her mom that motivated the start of this passion project. It sparked Sahota’s curiosity to find as many other inspirational South Asian women who were firsts in their lifetime. Upon discovering almost 30 potential candidates to highlight, she decided to narrow down the list to 15 for her first publication.Though there were many amazing women who helped pave the way in STEM, Sahota had wanted to show variety including artists, athletes and leaders.

When turning through the pages, readers will see a culturally and historically inspired colour palette using different media. Far away from traditional illustration methods, a unique combination of photographs, solid blocks of colour and digital illustrations are done for each person. Reminiscent of being a feature in a newspaper, the empowering women are seen to be taking their seat at the metaphorical table independent of the other. When asking Sahota about the book process she shared, “The funny part about all of this is that I actually illustrated the book before I wrote it. When everything came together and it really looked like a beautiful book that I personally would buy for my child, I knew it was right. This is exactly what I wanted and needed for her. And then getting it in my hands, with my sample copy, was my skies parting and angels singing moment.”

With only hours away from the end of her Kickstarter campaign, this empowering creative Canadian woman, will soon be able to proceed with getting this picture book into the hands of readers needing to see diversity and representation in literature. In thinking about The First but Not the Last highlighting truly newsworthy women in their respective fields, I had asked Sahota what kind of role models she would hope for her daughter to look up to. The curiosity stemmed from wondering if this proactive mother had high expectations for her two year old for when she grew up. Her answer was, “I want my daughter to have role models that aren’t afraid to speak their minds and stand up for what is right, even if it’s not the popular opinion. Her career path is her own choice, but I want her to always be unapologetically herself. I hope I can model that for her as much as I hope she sees it in other beautiful, smart, and capable brown people.” To no surprise this first time board book author and illustrator solidified the first impression I had of hers when discovering her Kickstarter campaign. Pin Sahota saw an issue she was concerned about, and instead of just hoping for an answer she became one of the first answers for her sassy unicorn.

Note: 1. The First but not the Last was developed in Calgary, Alberta.
2. When I asked Sahota which woman she guesses would be her daughter’s favourite, she assumed Janaki Ammal, India’s first female botanist. She guessed this role model as her daughter loves flowers.
3. Sahota’s friends (from across USA and Australia whom she had connected with through infertility spaces) and her cousins were identified as being two of her greatest supports in the production of this board book.
4. For those interested in getting their hands on ‘The First but not the Last’ but did not see the Kickstarter campaign, can get a copy at

The Little Brown Shop.

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