Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka, or just Pri as she prefers t one called, is your average high school student. But as average as she is, she doesn’t necessarily feel that way. Often times she feels out of place – both at school and at home.

At school, Pri feel like she stands out as the only Indian-American. Classmates can’t seem to pronounce her first name, they don’t seem to get her art, and they certainly don’t share the same interests.

Home isn’t any better. Pri’s mom feels that she doesn’t embrace their Indian culture. Instead she feels like she focuses too much on things that aren’t important – like what happened to her dad? And why her mom and aunt no longer speak.

The only time Pri feels one hundred percent comfortable is with her uncle. So when she find out he will be having a child of his own, Pri’s upset. She knows there will be no room in her uncle’s life for her once the baby comes.

Trying to find the answer to her prayer, Pri stumbles upon an old pashmina that belongs to her mother. A pashmina that is full of secrets and magic.

But will the secrets and magic held within the pashmina be enough to answer Pri’s prayers?

Pashmina, a debut graphic novel, written and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani is, at it’s core (I think) a book about choices.

Chanani’s writing is simple, yet strong. The dialog and stream of consciousness is realistic, it’s honest, and reflective of that an of a everyday kid. Because of this, I feel that readers of all ages will easily relate to main character Priyanka and the overall plot. While not word heavy, I truly appreciated how that the writing let the illustrations shine through and be the true superstar of this book.

Chanani’s illustrations are beautiful. I love how she chose to create some illustrations in black and white, and others in vivid color. From this, readers get a sense that sometimes main character Priyanka viewed her life as boring and mundane. She went to school, took a driving lesson or two from her uncle, and ate dinner with her mom every day. And there are other times that her life if bright, vivid, and super exciting.

Like mentioned before, I feel that Chanani’s Pashmina is a book about choices. Priyanka is young, and is immature. So when readers first meet her, they’ll see that she’s still learning how the world works, and how the choices she makes can affect, not only her and her life, but those around her as well. But by the book’s end, you’ll see that she has grown. She’ll understand the choices that her family has made to lead her to the exact point she’s at.

And speaking of main character Priyanka … I really liked her. I liked how she read a lot younger than she was. I know that sounds strange, but I felt because she was young, and immature that there was room to grow. And as a character I felt that Priyanka did, in fact, want to grow. Besides that, I also felt that she was a relatable character to readers. And ultimately, she’s the kind of character that readers will want to see a happy ending for.

I expected to enjoy Pashmina, as I was super excited about it. But what I didn’t expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. The bottom line is this: I thought the storytime was unique and relatable. I thought the artwork was beautiful and rich. And The characters were strong, and just as unique and relatable as the storytime.

(Cover from GoodReads)

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