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Monday, December 04, 2017

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

PashminaPashmina is the story of Indian-American teen Priyanka "Pri" Das, a budding comic artist who has a lot of unanswered questions about her heritage. Who is her father, and why did her mother leave India? Why won't her mother talk about her past at all? What was India like? But her mother won't answer any questions about anything related to India or her father. One day, Pri finds a beautiful pashmina shawl in a suitcase, and when she wraps it around her shoulders, it shows her a beautiful world unlike any she has seen before. Through her magical trips to India with the help of the pashmina shawl, Pri is left with more questions than answers -- if India is so beautiful, why did her mother leave? And most importantly: how can she go back, this time without the help of the pashmina shawl?

Pashmina is full of rich description and complicated family dynamics. From Pri's unofficial family in the states composed of her mother's friends to her frustration with her unknown and unspoken heritage, Pashmina will resonate with kids who feel like they don't fit in their own skin, country, or town. All of the adults keep secrets from Pri which eventually are explained, and the magical pashmina serves as a vehicle to shed truth and light on difficult subjects, to bring some sense of justice to the narrative, and to show the difference between idealized cultures and reality. This was such a good story, and I really enjoyed it! I would recommend it to anyone who likes history, family stories, or any kind of magical realism.

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