Pashmina was one of my most anticipated releases for this year – I heard about it months ago and haven been counting day the days until it releases. I was so excited when I had the chance to participate on the blog tour for the book and when a review copy landed in my mailbox (thank you!).
This book – it’s breathtakingly beautiful. I loved every single thing about it, from the cover to the story and illustrations within. It’s graphic novel perfection. I’ve read it twice. I’ll read it again. I wish I could buy each and every one of you a copy of this book and have you read it – it’s just that amazing.
I can admit right off that I honestly don’t know too much about India or Indian culture, so this book was not only an exciting read, it was also a bit of a learning experience for me. I was really happy that the book had a glossary in the back – I found it really helpful for terms that I wasn’t familiar with. This can make the story easier to read for all ages – it’d even be great to share with younger audiences if they have an interest.
One thing I really love about this book is that most of the illustrations are done in black, gray, and white. However, once Priyanka puts the pashmina on that she finds, everything is in beautiful and vibrant colors, making them pop. Once the pashmina is removed, the illustrations return to black and white until it is worn again. I really loved this touch – the colors are gorgeous and so much fun.
The story within the pages of Pashmina is incredibly powerful and one of family and discovering your roots. Priyanka has so many questions about where she came from – she knows nothing about India, where her mother was from. Every time she asks her mother about her father or India, her mother doesn’t want to talk about it, so she is left only to her imagination to come up with ways to see India. Once she discovers a pashmina inside an old suitcase, and then puts it on, however – she has the ability to see a bright and happy India with the help of two guides. But everything here is so happy, and Priyanka can’t help but wonder if that is what India is really like, especially when she starts to see a weird shadow around, and her guides constantly try to tell her to stay away from it.
Intrigued, she starts badgering her mother to allow her to go to India and discover what she has never had the chance to experience. At first, her mother is reluctant to let her go, telling her that it isn’t safe and she shouldn’t go there. She also tries to tell Priyanka that she doesn’t have the money to send her there, but when Priyanka wins a comic contest and wins $500, she feels that she has enough money to cover her plane ticket. Priyanka’s aunt calls her mother with news that she is pregnant, and that is when her mother decides to allow Priyanka to visit India. Only the India that Priyanka sees when she puts on the pashmina and the real India that she visits might be drastically different…
I loved Priyanka’s character. She is so headstrong and determined, and wants to learn about her background. She is also tempted to believe that India really is the way that it is when she puts on the pashmina, which is what prompted her desire to go there in the first place. Once she is there, she attempts to track down the maker of the pashmina.
I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, but I have to say this is probably the best one that I’ve read to date. I simply loved everything about it, especially how family focused the book is. It also encourages readers to follow their dreams and learn about where they came from. Pashmina is full of important things for young adults, adults…and even kids. It truly is a beautiful work of art. If you are going to read one graphic novel this year, I urge you to pick up Pashmina. It is full of hope, life, and love. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars. I wish I could give it all the stars – it definitely deserves it!
Nidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and writer. She is the owner of Everyday Love Art. Her debut graphic novel, Pashmina, will be released by First Second Books in October 2017. She recently illustrated Misty – The Proud Cloud, a children’s book by Hugh Howey. She is an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts, Comics program at the California College of Arts.
Nidhi was born in Calcutta and raised in suburban southern California. She holds a degree in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She creates because it makes her happy – with the hope that it can make others happy, too. In April of 2012 she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change.
Her media appearances include CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and BBC Radio. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, the Women’s March, My Modern Met, Bored Panda and India Times. Nidhi has worked with Disney, ABC, Airbnb, Sony, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance and a variety of other clients. Her non-fiction comics have appeared in the Nib. Everyday Love Art products are sold in retail shops across the country, including the San Francisco International Airport, Books Inc., and Therapy stores.
Nidhi draws and dreams every day with her husband, daughter and their two cats in the San Francisco Bay Area.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of PASHMINA, US Only.
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