Review of Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy

Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy
by Tara Dairman; illus. by Archana Sreenivasan
Preschool, Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g
5/20    978-0-525-51806-8    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-525-51807-5    $10.99

In this beautifully rendered study of contrasts and commonalities, Dairman imagines a girl and boy from two different biomes in India. Split pages portray the girl going about her day collecting firewood with her family, embroidering patterns with her grandmother, and eating family meals under the desert sky (the back matter indicates that the community is the Rabari nomadic tribe). The yellows of the girl’s dusty surroundings contrast with the lush greens and blues of the boy’s village environment. As heavy monsoon clouds threaten to burst, he attends to his day — going to school, herding goats with his grandfather, and splashing in muddy puddles. As the weather brings about sandstorms (for the girl) and floods (for the boy), both families are forced to move to higher ground — where the children finally meet. Intersecting panels highlight their parallel stories, while the spare rhyming text complements the arresting visuals. This book not only examines climate change through the eyes of communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on the weather, but also provides a starting point for conversations on gendered roles as well as about migration as a form of survival — and how our lives are interconnected. The back matter notes Sreenivasan’s research, including community members’ input into making the book.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Sadaf Siddique is co-author of Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding through Children’s and Young Adult Literature and co-founder of Kitaabworld. She writes about Muslim kid lit and South Asian kid lit at Lantern Reads.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.