A reflection on access to water as a natural resource in India and the price some people must pay for it.
This picture book for middle-grade readers and above touches upon issues of human migration, gender and economic inequalities, and our relationship with nature, through both the author’s personal account and a fable from the Gond people of India. Framing the narrative as a visit home from the city, Vyam shares vignettes of how people live differently in villages and cities in India and explores their interdependence on natural resources. He traces developments in his home village and their impacts on the lives of its villagers, especially women. He also laments how it is unfair that sometimes villages must pay the price for the increasing demands of the rich people in the city. Threading through all of this is his recollection of the traditional story of seven sisters who bargain with the lake for needed water. Overall, this multilayered story provides many opportunities for discussion on the numerous social and environmental issues we all face. Young readers not of the culture may need explanations of the contexts of both the traditional and the primary stories. The beautiful ink-on-paper illustrations of Gond art magnify the appeal of the book, strikingly depicting aquatic and rural life in bright colors.
Stunning art and clever storytelling come together to deliver a poignant message. (Picture book. 10-adult)