Monday, August 6, 2012

Sita’s Ramayana, by Samhita Arni

Sita’s Ramayana
by Samhita Arni
illustrated by Moyna Chitrakar
152 pages
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books
ISBN 9781554981458

The epic Sanskrit poem is adapted into English and told from the heroine's point of view.

Most tellings of the Ramayana I've run across emphasize the doings of the warrior Rama. This one values the perspective of his wife, the queen Sita. The adventures are still exciting -- especially the confrontation with evil Ravana -- but we experience Sita's time alone in the jungle, pregnant, while Rama is off scouting and fighting. (Strangely, though the text specifically mentions her pregnancy and birth of her son, the illustrations don't show a different body shape. Maybe it's different for mythical figures.)

The brightly-colored, highly stylized illustrations show the many Hindu gods and demons in traditional garb. Instead of speech balloons, most dialogue is told in block letters (which made me think of the red-letter Bibles where the words of Jesus stand out on the page). It would be an interesting choice for an introduction to world religions (in my California curriculum, we had such lessons in 6th and 9th grades).

2012 USBBY Outstanding International Book
2012 ALA Notable Children's Book

Author Info
No Illustrator Info
Media: watercolor

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