A Kirkus Reviews' Best Picture Book of 2020
Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu's wedding. She can't wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin's big day?
Centering Ayesha's love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni's love for each other, this warmhearted debut from Ameya Narvankar celebrates the power of young voices to stand up against prejudice and bigotry.
PreS-Gr 3--This needed and valuable mirror text depicts a traditional Hindi community, where two brides are about to wed each other but not everyone approves. Ayesha, however, can't wait for her favorite cousin Ritu's wedding. When she and her family arrive, she notices that the rest of her extended family isn't there; when she asks, she is told that many of them didn't want to come because Ritu is marrying a woman, who will be leading the baraat, a festive wedding parade, typically a role reserved for a man. The baraat starts out fine until onlookers start jeering; a group of men on horseback holding signs protesting the wedding arrive and threaten the couple. The protesters somehow get a fire hose (this requires a suspension of belief given the folkloric-like illustrations) and soak the entire wedding party. Ayesha saves the day by leading the way back to the wedding ceremony; her love for her cousin shines here and throughout the book. Digital illustrations, although colorful, are stiff; characters look like avatars with rosy cheeks and one-dimensional expressions. Refreshingly, Hindi vocabulary is used freely throughout the book; the context is clear, and there is a glossary in the back. The plot can be difficult to follow in places; coupled with the static illustrations it may make this book a tough sell, but a necessary one. VERDICT With a dearth of picture books authentically addressing marriage traditions within the South Asian community, and particularly LGBTQ+ couples, this is a welcome attempt at rectification.--Jennifer Knight, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WACopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
"Simultaneously confronts homophobia and celebrates child-powered change in Hindu communities: a delight." - Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)
"With a dearth of picture books authentically addressing marriage traditions within the South Asian community, and particularly LGBTQ+ couples, this is a welcome attempt at rectification." - School Library Journal
"...a lively procession of jewel tones and golden yellows...to stand up for love against hate." - Foreword Reviews