Title: Why Is My Hair Curly?
Author: Lakshmi Iyer (Debut Children’s Book)
Illustrator: Niloufer Wadia
Age Group: 7-12 years
Well, this review comes in a little later than I actually planned to write (thanks to the routine gone helter-skelter during this pandemic!). But then, nothing can take away the love & time for reading right?! 🙂 So we (myself & my dd) grabbed this book which I actually bought after reading review in Goodreads and The Hindu. Even before buying it I certainly knew that my girl is going to love as it was written in an Indian setting, especially a Tamil speaking family.
Well, in essence, I would say, this book is a power packed and yet a breezy read that stitches varied topics like adoption, acceptance, curly hair woes, everyday tales, relationships, sibling bonding, stranger danger … all so seamlessly BEAUTIFUL, in a very much relatable INDIAN setting.
This is story about Avantika, a young girl in her tweens probably, who is concerned about her curls which she finds unmanageable. If you feel that everyone has a bad hair day and what’s the big deal about it, then this is not JUST about it. It’s about the growing curiosity about her genetics that’s bound in the tufts of her locks that keeps her disturbed. How the mystery is unlocked is the story.
Avantika & Avnish (her brother) are both adopted and very much happy with their “no-secret-in-family-principle” leaving no question on feeling bothered about being adopted or so as their every question is answered and every fear addressed and sorted out by their adopted parents. But this particular question (Why my hair is curly?) alone surfaces to Avantika every now & then, making her curious to know if she got the genes of curly hair from her birth mother.
As the plot progresses, Avantika meets a stranger with whom she mysteriously finds an instant connect. Is the stranger for good or bad sets the pace for the second half of the story while the first half was about setting up the plot making it a relaxed read.
What we both loved the most is the Indian (Tamil especially) lingo used lavishly even while keeping it authentically in the standards of contemporary English books. Meanwhile, my personal favorite part was that one line in the later part, where a family conflict of the past was so delicately and crisply put, light & rightly mature enough to answer the questions of the curious girl.
The illustrator Niloufer Wadia’s sketches add more authenticity to the story line especially with the choice of salwar-kameez for Avantika’s mom and the detailing in it.
One teeny teeny bit of let down (not as heavy as it sounds though) is in the picturization of the Shatabdi Express. You will know what I mean when you read the book. But then, the overall work is fabulous, especially the cover page. Bright and refreshingly green!
Making it for a fine read, this book ends on a high with that not-to-be-missed final speech of Avantika.
To sum up, I would say there’s absolutely no reason to deny your kid of this book. Please go grab this book for a long afternoon weekend read with some vadaams (check the book) by your side. Absolutely worth the time!
P.S. As someone who didn’t have a totally positive or happy idea on adoption – my daughter, after reading this book is now on a high, planning to adopt Avantika, Avnish and our neighbouring kids along with their pet to live as one family. She also adds that if their parents don’t agree to be adopted, let us become their adopted family (??!!) and live under one roof! My crazy only child, lol!
And not just that, it’s only after reading this book my girl started journaling (happy mom!). To know why, you certainly know what to do!
Happy Reading :)
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