A Visit to Eastern India

h1 June 14th, 2017 by jules


Here’s a quick, but beautiful, post that takes readers to a village in eastern India, all depicted in one long piece of art, 16 pages total, that vertically drops down (and can even be hung, once you’re done, on your classroom or library wall). In A Village Is a Busy Place (Tara Books, June 2017), Patua artist Rohima Chitrakar depicts a day in the life of the Santhal people, who make up one of India’s largest indigenous communities, via the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting.

This is a book that blooms, as readers unfold it page by page. Children are asked to find details as they read and unfold the story and the village opens up for them. The artist uses bold colors, borders, and patterns to draw the reader’s eye. The text, written by V. Geetha, brings to vivid, colorful life this one community — their village feast; common space; day and night-time activities, including work and leisure; and, ultimately, their celebration of the rainy season. The book closes with a note that explains:


The Patuas and Santhals are friends and neighbours, and over time they have come to borrow ideas and art from each other. Santhal artists also make scrolls, while Patua artists love to draw scenes from Santhal life. This book is testimony to this unusual collaboration and friendship.

It is, as the Kirkus review notes, a “joyful glimpse at another culture.”

Here’s a peek inside. The last image shows you the book’s art in its entirety.


“This is a village in Eastern India.
It is a special day today. …”

(Click to enlarge)


“Not every day is a special day in the village.
But there is always work to be done. …”

(Click to enlarge)


“The village is never quiet,
even in the evening when the day’s work is done. …”

(Click to enlarge)


“People do different kinds of work in the village. …”
(Click to enlarge)



* * * * * * *

A VILLAGE IS A BUSY PLACE! Copyright © 2016 by Tara Books Pvt. Ltd. For the text: V. Geetha. For the illustrations: Rohima Chitrakar. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Tara Books.

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