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Nadya: A Graphic Novel by Debasmita Dasgupta is an excellent first-line-of-help introductory book for kids whose parents may be going through, or have gone through a divorce.
Nadya is a teen whose world just came crashing down. Her parents were separating after several years of marriage, and a family that had made many wonderful memories, be it hiking in the mountains or biking explorations.
Nadya comes across as a strong character. The author has addressed the fact that children do, at least initially, blame the parent who stayed.
Books that explore tough turns in life are rare. Rarer still are they with Indian faces and terms, identifiable for an Indian teen. In today’s society, where divorce isn’t the hushed word it used to be, there is still stigma and unnecessary advice that comes one’s way when a marriage doesn’t work out as the fairy tale everyone seems to think it is.
From just a representative standpoint, books like this one are sorely needed.
What I have realized now is that every issue needs to have several books, targeted at several kinds of audiences. For the initial introduction, there is a certain kind of a book or movie, one that introduces the audience to the issue with just enough information and with just enough of a ‘wow’ value that makes someone sit up. For the intermediate to complex levels, different books are required; one book can’t do it all.
Nadya is that introductory book, valuable in libraries and homes alike, introducing the time when a family splits apart, and taking on the complex emotions children go through. Teens are developmentally complex to start with and live events like their parents’ divorce hit them differently.
One criticism – after the middle of the book, the plot could be stronger. I wish they had explored the emotional angle more versus the ending.
The novel starts with evocative illustrations that communicate the coming storm. The illustrations alone take this book up several notches, so one paragraph has to be devoted to the illustrations.
The feel of the illustrations is different from what one is used to seeing in children’s books. Words are few, the story is mostly told with pictures. The mood of the book and the illustrations mesh perfectly, and the colours used brighten up as the story evolves. I especially like the way negative space has been used; the art does not cover every part of every page, making it balanced to the eye. This book gets 5 stars on illustrations from me.
What I also liked about this book is the international feel of it. I could identify with the characters as Indian, but can see how adaptable they are in the international context as well. I think it is high time our books ‘cross over’ to the international context and see Nadya as one very worthy contender.
Highly recommended buy for both home and school libraries.
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Header image source: pixabay and Sangitha
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Sangitha Krishnamurthi is a special educator, blogger and mother of three. Her interests include living
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