Source: From Netgalley and First Second in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Pashmina tells the story of an Indian-American girl who struggles to fit in at high school, then discovers more about her family's history with the help of her mother's magical pashmina.
First off, I love Graphic Novels for younger audiences, I know I have said it and I am saying it again. They are a wonderful way to get reluctant readers started, they are visually appealing, and they can teach a lot though those images and limited words. I find that some graphic novels do a wonderful job taking what has meaning and preparing it in a concise way so that the reader is able to take it in easier and it ends up having more impact.
I think that this is one of those graphic novels. Nidhi Chanai uses magical realism to tell the story of a young girl who wants to know more about her mothers past and where she came from, the Pashmina scarf is her way to see India in all of its splendor. But when she gets the chance to visit India, she learns that while, yes, there are beautiful bits, you have to take everything in context. India is gorgeous through the lens of the Pashmina but India in real life, while still beautiful has some flaws.
Priyanka, the main character, learns a lot about her heritage from these trips with the Pashmina, and from her visit with an aunt. The tale is heartwarming and reflective and for those of us who have never experienced India, it is a good way for us to learn about the culture and its difference from living in the US and how people that are coming from these backgrounds do things a certain way for a reason.
The book also includes a glossary in the end of words used that non-Indian readers will find very helpful. Overall, I think this book is wonderful for SO many reasons, if you have a young reader, reluctant reader, or one that likes to learn about cultures, this is definitely a book to grab.