By Nidhi Chanani
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions–the topic of India is permanently closed.
For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.
In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds. (Goodreads)
Pashmina is an interesting graphic novel telling the story of a young girl named Priyanka Das (Pri) and her inquisitiveness about India, why her mother abandoned her life in India and who is Pri’s father? Pri discovers a magical pashmina in a suitcase. Whenever she puts it on, Priyanka is transported to India – a very colorful and vibrant India. There is a mysterious shadow in this colorful land, which is a bit disconcerting. An interesting way of exploring India without actually going there. Wonder how the pashmina works?
I really liked how the contrast in portraying their current home life (in dull coloring) versus the India Pri sees while wearing the pashmina (very colorful). The graphics were a pleasure to view and read through – seemed to really make the story come alive.
It was interesting to see Pri’s reaction to her uncle announcing that he and his wife were having a baby. Given that they were family, Pri should have been overjoyed. With respect to timelines, one item that was a bit disconcerting was that the reader just read about the new baby (auntie is 4 months pregnant) and the next page, the baby has arrived, albeit a bit prematurely. So I was thrown by this quick passage of time.
One also has to ponder her reaction when her teacher was prodding her with respect to entering the contest. In the end, she does write a comic – after her real physical trip to India.
I enjoyed learning new words in Hindi as well as more about the Indian culture. It is a book that I think both younger and older children would enjoy – on different levels.
Wish we could all have a magical pashmina ☺ Thank you Nidhi Chanani for writing such a fun and engaging graphic novel.