BOOK: DESERT GIRL, MONSOON BOY
AUTHOR: TARA DAIRMAN
ILLUSTRATOR: ARCHANA SREENIVASAN
PUBLISHER: G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS
AGE RECOMMENDED: 4+
Desert girl, the monsoon boy, talks about Rabari people, an Indigenous tribe of nomadic herders and shepherds that live in northwest India. The book represents two families of different Rabari groups. The girl is from Gujarat and the boy is from Rajasthan. Both families have different lifestyles, cultures and follow different practices.
This book compares both families based on living spaces, landscape, clothes, jewellery, climatic conditions, lifestyle, food, and other details. Each page is illustrated in a way where we can see similarities between the boy’s family and the girl’s family, even when they are in different climatic conditions.
The Rabari people just like the girl’s family for years lived in the desert and to find food and water they walked towards the green slopes of the Aravalli range, east of the desert. Today, more and more Rabari are giving up their nomadic ways to settle in permanent homes like the boy’s family.
But, people who live in villages are not always protected from the weather. During, monsoons, sometimes it causes dangerous flash floods and the villagers have to evict the place. The girl’s family faces scorching heat and sand storms. This story imagines a nomadic family in search of water and a village-dwelling family seeking to escape it. They meet near the Aravalli hills and they together celebrate their safety.
A beautiful story of togetherness and how different cultures are together in spite of the differences. This book can be a part of many discussions and kids can learn about weather, culture, nomadic life, migration, tribes, indigenous people, etc.
The illustrator has done a commanding job and we can learn the story from the pictures. The words were fewer, and the children could read by themselves and understand the story by themselves. Overall, A glimpse of India’s nomadic people allows us all to see how weather impacts life.
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