Written By: Mamta Nainy
Illustrated by: Niloufer Wadia
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Gender Roles, Stereotypes, Indian Cultures, Bakarwal, Kashmir, India, Family.
Summary: Sadiq is a young boy who lives with his Ammi in the Kashmir valley. They are part of the nomadic Bakarwal community, known for herding goats and sheep as well as finely embroidered rugs, wall-hangings and other objects.
Sadiq loves to help his mother embroider, but she is less than thrilled about it because of the heavily gendered roles their community has. Sadiq tends to their herds because his father died two years ago, and his Ammi embroiders while he’s away. When she gets sick and cannot finish an order, Sadiq decides to take action.
This book is lovely for several reasons. I learned a lot about a community I had never heard of, and the story is useful for starting discussions about gender stereotypes and gender roles. It discusses parental acceptance and reviving a dying art, the embroidery skills the Bakarwal’s are known for. As an advocate for breaking down stereotypes, I believe these discussions about traditions rooted in gender-specific activities can be helpful in discussing how limiting they can be, especially for those who desire to break free and just do something they love.
Mamta Nainy spent some years in advertising before a rotten apple fell on her head while she was sitting under a mango tree, and she had her Eureka moment. Now all she does is write for children, devour books and cupcakes, play with a yo-yo, and write some more. She lives and dreams in Delhi.
Niloufer Wadia quit her 20-year career in advertising to follow her passion – illustration and painting. She works in traditional and digital media. Storybook illustration happened quite by chance, but this is her seventh picture book and while it has gone well so far, she believes she has miles to go, and much to learn.