Pashmina

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Pashmina Book Poster Image
Big-hearted graphic novel explores Indian culture.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Pashmina explores Indian culture and religion. It features a character torn between her homeland and her adopted country.

Positive Messages

Celebrate where you come from and where you are headed. Families should be honest about past traumas. You should have the courage to stand up for yourself and your art.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Priyanka is curious about her family's former life in India, even though her mother is reluctant to answer questions about it. Pri persists in her quest to visit her native country, and she is rewarded with a deeper understanding of herself and her roots.

Violence

Oppressed workers riot at a silk factory and burn it down.

Sex

Pri seems to have a crush on one of her teachers.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nidhi Chanani's Pashmina is a graphic novel about an Indian American high school girl who wants to know more about her family history. It contains elements of fantasy, in particular a magical scarf. Violence is limited to one historical incident: a riot at a factory. There's no swearing, sex, or substance use.

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What's the story?

At the start of PASHMINA, Priyanka Das is at odds with her overprotective mother, who refuses to tell her daughter why and how she left India years ago. One night, Pri finds a mysterious chest that contains a magical scarf, one that carries her away to a colorful fantasy version of her mother's birthplace. When Pri wins a cartooning contest, she uses the prize money to buy plane tickets to India, where she meets her aunt and begins to understand more about herself and what it means to be Indian American.

Is it any good?

The search for cultural identity fuels many comics, and this big-hearted graphic novel treats its subject with sensitivity, insight, and a touch of magic. In Pri, Pashmina has a protagonist many readers will relate to: someone unsure of her place in the world but willing to go out and find answers on her own. Nidhi Chanani's artwork is simple but effective, and when the narrative moves into colorful fantasy, all the elements of the story click into place. Funny, wise, and moving, Pashmina will appeal to readers curious to learn more about their families and their traditions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Pashmina contrasts the cultures of India and the United States. How does religion shape the behavior of people from different cultures?

  • Why are some parents "overprotective"? How can parents and kids negotiate which activities are safe for them?

  • Pri travels on her own to visit her aunt in India. What can travel teach young people that might not be found in books?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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