Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps

English & Tamil



Gender Stereotypes

Intergenerational Stories


Srividhya Venkat & Kavita Ramchandran


Ya’ll know gender stereotypes are real high up on my list of things that are the bane of my existence and fuel my ever-burning feminist rage that sits deep inside my soul. Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps follows Varun and his enchantment with the classical dance style of bharatanatyam. Varun’s sister Varsha takes lessons on the weekends and Varun goes to drop her off with their grandfather. One day, he steps inside the dance studio to watch Varsha and he’s instantly drawn into the class, much to Varsha’s dismay.

Although their grandfather says he used to dance at festivals when he lived in India, Varun isn’t convinced that he can take lessons. After asking some friends, they confirm was Varsha said: dancing isn’t for boys. He should just stick to karate. But Varun just can’t let it go…why can’t boys dance? This story spans a good length of time, and gets to the heart of the matter.

Gendered societal pressure is so strong that Varun listens to his friends and sister, saying that he can’t do something, rather than to his grandfather who has actually done that thing for years. But, beautifully and inevitably, Varun can’t stay away from something he’s passionate about. I really appreciated the Tamil sprinkled into the story, and I learned about a style of dance that was unfamiliar to me as well!

This book was kindly sent by Yali Books, but all opinions are my own!

Srividhya Venkat

Srividhya Venkat’s first story was illustrated and published by her brother when she was eight years old. Then she grew up to be just another adult. But after reading several books to her children, she became a child once more and began to weave stories again. Today she is a children’s author and oral storyteller who loves to create and share stories about our big beautiful world where everyone is different, yet same-same. Connect with her at Srividhya’s World.

Kavita Ramchandran

Kavita Ramchandran received her MFA in Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York and has spent more than twelve years as a graphic designerin the children’s educational and entertainment industry including art directing the award-winning kids’ magazine Kahani, designing for Scholastic, McGraw Hill, and Harcourt, and working with networks like Disney Jr., Nick Jr., and Sesame Street Productions.  A self-taught illustrator, and a dreamer & doer of her own Make Believe Design Studio, she lives in New York with her husband, two children, and a few imaginary characters.  See more of her work at We Make Believe.

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