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Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
Cover of Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
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Extreme weather affects two children's lives in very different ways and shows how the power of nature can bring us together.
One girl. One boy. Their lives couldn't be more different.
While she turns her shoulder to sandstorms and blistering winds, he cuffs his pants when heavy rains begin to fall.
As the weather becomes more severe, their families and animals must flee to safety—and their destination shows that they might be more alike than they seem.
The journeys of these two children experiencing weather extremes in India highlight the power of nature and the resilience of the the human spirit.
Extreme weather affects two children's lives in very different ways and shows how the power of nature can bring us together.
One girl. One boy. Their lives couldn't be more different.
While she turns her shoulder to sandstorms and blistering winds, he cuffs his pants when heavy rains begin to fall.
As the weather becomes more severe, their families and animals must flee to safety—and their destination shows that they might be more alike than they seem.
The journeys of these two children experiencing weather extremes in India highlight the power of nature and the resilience of the the human spirit.
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  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2020
    Dairman draws inspiration from the Rabari people, an Indigenous group of nomadic herders and shepherds that live in northwest India, to showcase how two children live and thrive in the era of climate change. Clipped couplets imagine a nomadic desert girl and a village-dwelling boy and how their lives intersect when the former's family travels in search of water and the latter's family seeks to escape it. Paneled pages compare and contrast the children's experiences. "Patterned veil. / Covered hair" depicts the girl's mother with a flowing veil and the boy's father winding a turban on. "Trek for water. / Head to school" reveals two different journeys. Readers see how extreme weather threatens both ways of life before, at the end of the book, both children find higher ground and dance together: "Thirst quenched. / Dry and sound. // Round the fire, / songs of joy." Bangalore-based Sreenivasan's extensive research is evident in her saturated, detailed illustrations of families, plants, animals, and nomadic and village life. Dairman's author's note provides context and emphasizes that extreme dry and wet weather "will continue to put...lives...in very real danger." Text and illustrations work beautifully in concert: Desert and monsoon scenes each have a distinctive color palette--golds, rusts, and reds; violets, greens, and blues--and variations in page composition and panel placement create necessary narrative tension. A beautiful and important book about climate change featuring those who are most affected by it. (Picture book. 4-8)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 20, 2020
    Beginning with “White sand./ Green field,” side-by-side spreads and horizontally split pages compare the lives of two children in northwest India—one from Gujarat, one from Rajasthan. Traditionally pastoralists, an author’s note explains, the Rabari people are moving away from nomadic life, a change that “brings many changes.” A girl lives amid desert tents, gathering wood and water, while a boy lives in a lowland village and attends school. Short rhyming lines by Dairman (The Great Hibernation) reveal what happens to each group when the weather turns nasty: on top of a split page, there’s a sandstorm (“Sand blows in”), on the bottom, a monsoon (“flooding floor”). The girl takes cover in the family’s tent—“Tie the flap!”—while the boy ducks into his rapidly flooding house: “Seal the door!” When conditions grow unbearable, both groups trek to higher, greener ground—and there, their families meet. Digitally painted spreads by Sreenivasan (Diwali) feature angular graphic forms and jewel-toned hues. The colors intensify as the weather worsens: the light from the desert sandstorm turns everything orange, and the blues and greens of monsoon country deepen. While introducing the diversity of the Indian subcontinent through thoughtful juxtaposition, this collaboration also confronts the threats that extreme weather poses to various ways of life. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, Red Fox Literary.

  • Booklist

    April 15, 2020
    Grades K-2 In an author's note, Dairman explains that this story was inspired by the lifestyles of the Rabari people who live in northwestern India. Their lives, as we see in this very simple yet poignant book, are intimately connected to the environment. Young readers will find the jaunty rhyme of the narrative fun to follow as they are visually treated to detailed panels depicting the lives of a girl who lives in the desert and a boy who lives in a village where monsoon rains can force migration. The book juxtaposes the ways in which fabric, routines, chores, and traditions are different in the dry and rainy environments, shaping the lives of the inhabitants. Expressive faces and dynamic gestures complete the meaning behind the spare text on each page. When rain and dust storms force both groups of people into a single location, the union is a happy one, but the implications of continued environmental change linger underneath.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
Tara Dairman
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