Inspired by the Rabari people of northwestern India, Dairman tells the survival tale of two characters who live in two different environments. Facing the challenges of sandstorms and monsoons, both the nomadic female character and village dwelling male character make decisions and take action to survive the harsh weather conditions. Their efforts include protecting their animals and migration across challenging terrain.
The double page layout features brief, rhyming text (no more than 12 words/2 pages) and detail-rich illustrations. Each double page layout juxtaposes the girl character living through the sandstorms with the boy character living through the monsoon. Yellow tones serve as the background for the girl’s journey, while blues and green set the scene for the boy’s travels. As nomadic people, both characters and their families migrate to safer, higher land to seek water and shelter. The final pages of the book show the two groups coming together in the Aravalli hills.
Though an imagined story, Dairman and Sreenivasan offer this gem as a springboard for learning about the nomadic Rabari people (the girl, from Gujaret) and the village dwelling Rabari people (the boy, from Rajasthan). While they live differently, the harsh climate and the threat of climate change impacts both groups. Similarly, the book considers gender roles and culture of different Rabari people. Finally,the author’s notes and the illustrator’s notes are not to be missed! While the story leads to many wonders and questions, these after notes also inspire further research and conversation.