{book} mother’s

30 days of pbDay Twenty-SixMy Mother’s Sari

By Sandhya Rao 

illustrated by Nina Sabnani

NorthSouth 2006

my mothers sari coverIllustrated using mixed-media, My Mother’s Sari opens with the endpapers bearing instructions in how to don a sari. The photographed human model’s person painted over in the manner of the characters we will soon meet in the story.

my mother sari 65_page1

Whether it is in imaginative play, nose wiping (a favorite), or finally to wrap oneself up in and dream, each of the children’s mother’s sari function differently. And yet the unity of the text, that possessive I the reader will hear with one voice, recommends that one mother’s sari can do all these things.

my mothers sari 65_page2

The children are in paint, but the sari is collage, bright in color, variant in pattern and texture.  The sari appears light with effervescent movement next to the densely drawn figures interacting with them, giving them the ephemeral dream-like quality.

a bilingual version

The metaphor of the sari is tied to the mother, and to the maternal and cultural burdens she bears. “How it makes me dream,” the narrative concludes.


Sandhya Rao is Senior Editor at Tulika Publishers. One of the finest writers for children in India today, her books have won awards and accolades: My Friend the Sea won the Ambitious Children’s Book Project award at the Berlin Children and Youth Literature Festival, 2005. My Mother’s Sari was chosen as an Outstanding International Book, 2007, by the United States Board for Books for Young People (USBBY) and the Children’s Book Council. What Sandhya cherishes most is that she has been able to follow her dream – doing books for children. For this, she cheerfully gave up a promising career in mainstream journalism and joined longtime friend Radhika to create multilingual books for children at a time when independent children’s publishing in India was nascent. She has written over 20 books and translated Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstrump into Hindi. She enjoys different kinds of vegetarian cuisine and lives in Chennai.

Nina Sabnani is an artist, animation director and illustrator based in Mumbai since 2006. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay where she recently completed her Doctoral Research. Her area of research concerned Storytelling models in India, with a particular focus on the Kaavad tradition of Rajasthan. She has been teaching illustration, script writing and storyboarding, storytelling and simultaneously making films on diverse issues. She has illustrated several books for Tulika publishers, Chennai which have been translated in many languages.

{images belong to Nina Sabnani, text to Sandhya Rao}



Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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