Two young sisters work hard to bring the “magic” of solar energy to their family.
Chandra and her older sister, Deena, are shopping in the marketplace when they see solar tukis, lamps that are both safer and cheaper in the long run than the usual kerosene lamps. They are determined to buy one to make their home healthier for Akash, their baby brother, who has a lingering cough, but their father has no money to spare. Though they already have many chores, the sisters take on the project of earning money by selling rhododendrons, Nepal’s national flower. As Deena tells her sister about Surya, the sun god, and Chandra, the moon god (the little girl is named for him), religion is woven into the story. Created with acrylics, collage elements and colored pencils, the vivid two-page spreads are filled with everyday details, and a few have a magical, Rousseau-like quality. The backmatter includes information on Nepal and topics including markets, health and the technology of solar tukis, useful for teachers and librarians. Instructions for a pizza-box solar oven include a reminder about asking a grown-up to help cut the box with a knife but do not extend that to recommending adult assistance with actual cooking.
Making its point engagingly, this story will help young readers see how small environmental changes can make a difference. (Picture book. 6-9)