Mama’s Saris

Pooja Makhijani, Author, Elena Gomez, Illustrator , illus. by Elena Gomez. Little, Brown $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-01105-1

Featuring a rich palette of colors and intricately detailed patterns, Gomez’s (Through the Heart of the Jungle ) realistic acrylic paintings deftly depict the lovely saris at the center of Makhijani’s (Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America ) simple story. On her seventh birthday, an Indian-American girl begs to wear one of her mother’s saris, which she keeps in a suitcase under her bed. In evocative, lyrical language, the young narrator explains that, though her mother wears a sari only on special occasions, her grandmother wears them every day: “The folds and nooks of Nanima’s saris hold lots of secrets. I always find coins tied into the ends and safety pins fastened on the inside, and I smell the scent of cardamom and sandalwood soap all over.” As the youngster recalls the specific saris her mother has worn at various events, she tries to convince Mama that she is indeed old enough to wear a sari, and the woman finally relents. The girl selects a blue sari “with gold flowers that dance along the border,” and Mama carefully wraps the fabric around her—and even lends her fancy bangle bracelets and places a bindi on her forehead. A final, affecting illustration reveals mother and daughter reflected side-by-side in a mirror, while the child (responding to her mother’s question, “So, what do you think?”) says, with obvious pleasure, “I think I look just like you!” Narrative and art pay satisfying tribute to a treasured tradition. Ages 3-6. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-0-316-09008-7
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