Title: Nomad’s Land
Author: Paro Anand
Publisher: Talking Club
Age Group: 12 years+
In a world that is increasingly divided on the basis of religion, with intolerance and hatred becoming more common, one often wonders “Where exactly did we, as a collective society, fail, that the world has come to this today”? Paro Anand’s latest release ‘Nomad’s Land’, offers not only an insight into this question but a hope that our future generations, if aware enough, can undo the centuries of damage done by all of us.
The story revolves around two girls, Shanna and Pema, both from displaced communities – one a Kashmiri Pandit, forced to flee her home after a terrorist attack; and the other belonging to a nomadic tribe who was persecuted by the government and forced to give up their nomadic ways in the hills.
Sounds like too heavy a topic for a teen to read? This is where the brilliance of Paro Anand comes in. She deals with the subject in such a beautiful way, that it both, does justice to explaining the pain of displaced communities while at the same time appeals to young readers due to the contemporary setting of its characters (both the girls are weekly boarders, hate the hostel food, bunk classes and burst into fits of giggles at every opportunity!). What will have teens, as well as adults, completely hooked onto it – is an added element of mystery and adventure that has been woven into the story.
This was not only my first Paro Anand book but also my first book in a genre that I have consciously avoided reading so far. Being from a displaced community myself, I approached this book with a fear of it overwhelming me, and was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t! The magic lies in how well the author has conveyed the thoughts, through fun conversations between teenagers. In fact, my favourite part in the book is one such scene where Shanna is explaining to her schoolmates how she was wrongly fed a narrative of hatred against a particular community, and urges her school friends to be more aware and take better decisions in their communities. The friend replies, “Yeah, but..”, and very quickly this whole scene escalates to “butts”, and another round of giggles. I have fallen in love with how the author has handled such a difficult subject without making it intense. I definitely plan to buy all her earlier books!
Overall, this book has been a very empowering read for me. It conveys a message that more often than not, we know who to hate because we’ve been taught so, but not why we should hate them. The book ends on an extremely uplifting note, inspiring the younger generation to be brave enough to love.
I highly recommend that all teens and all parents read this book. If you or your family have been touched by the pain of displacement, you will relate to it very well. And if you have not, then like the author says,
It is time to ask yourselves, “What if it were me?”
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