Kashmira uses her childhood memories growing up on the west coast of India to create charming picture books that focus on two different aspects of life in India.
In Monsoon Afternoon (by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi, Peachtree Publishers 2007) the reader joins a young boy as he meanders through the storm with his grandfather. The boy’s keen observations enable the reader to understand the significance of monsoons and also provide clues to life in India. The affectionate relationship between the main character and his grandfather propels the story.
Kashmira also uses family relationships in My Dadima Wears a Sari (Peachtree Publishers 2008). In this instance, the characters switch to a female cast that includes two granddaughters and their grandmother. Once again, the reader immediately senses the warm relationship between the aging grandmother and her grandchildren. Unlike the first story that was set in India, this one takes place in American. Rupa, the main character, questions her grandmother about her traditional dress, a sari. By the end of the story, the reader is left with a new appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of a sari.
At the conclusion of both books, Kashmira includes information from her childhood that adds a personal thread to each of her stories.
Yoshiko, a Japanese American, uses pastel watercolor drawings in both books to enhance Kashmira’s prose. The softness of the artwork goes hand-in-hand with the tender nature of the storylines.
What reaction do you have to this cover and the one above? What is the illustrator’s message?
Discussion Topics- Monsoon Afternoon
- Links between generations- grandfather and grandson
- Indian culture and daily life
- Character analysis- family relationships
- Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003) https://sandrabornstein.com/teaching/another-award-winning-author-writing-about-india
Discussion Topics- My Dadima Wears a Sari
- Customs- some lost while others are passed on
- Clothing- in different climates and countries
- Relationships in families- daughter, mother, grandmother, and sisters
- Imagination-ways that it enhances our lives
- Immigration and assimilation
- Textiles and patterns
- Wedding attire- India
The book chronicles her living and teaching experiences in India.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, and the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards.