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.
This was the first graphic novel I’ve read in a loooong time. Pashmina was an absolute delight to read. The art was mesmerizing, and the story itself so empowering and touching.
Pashmina follows Priyanka Das, a teen Indian-American who has trouble coming to terms with the Indian side of heritage. When the opportunity arises for her to visit her aunt back in India, she snags on it. After all, this is the country where her mother was from but almost never talks about. What teen wouldn’t be curious about her heritage? With the help of a magical pashmina, a wool shawl from her mother’s briefcase, she finds out more about her culture, her family’s past, and her own person. The story was absolutely touching, as you can’t help but relate to Priyanka’s frustrations and doubts at first. She doesn’t believe in her art, her classmates pick on her, and her favorite uncle is having a baby who will no doubt replace her. But through her journey in India, she discovers the importance of family, freedom, and the truly important parts of life, wrapped in love and care. The small incorporation of Indian culture was awesome to see (those huge DOSAS! YUM!), and the authentic voice of this #ownvoices book will speak to a reader’s heart. Any first or second-generation teen searching for their own heritage and person needs to pick this book up.
I adored the art as well! It’s a very cartoon-y vibe, but really fits the atmosphere of the story. Whenever a character puts on the pashmina, the pictures are suddenly in color, showing the possibilities of the future. The transitions are a bit choppy at first, but the characters’ expressions and thoughts are deftly drawn in.
Thank you Fierce Reads for the copy!