Namaste! by Diana Cohn, illustrated by Amy Cordova
Nima lives in Nepal where her father works a few weeks every year as a mountain guide. When he leaves this year he promises to return with a story and she must have a story for his as well. On Nima’s long walk to school in the village, she greets the people she passes with “Namaste.” She wishes that she could help people like her father does. That would make a wonderful story to tell him on his return. Before heading home after school, Nima greets her father’s friend Tenzing, who is a trader. After her greeting, Tenzing thanks her with honey telling her that she brightens his day whenever she says Namaste! So with every greeting, Nima is helping people.
This book exudes the feel and style of Nepal. The meaning of Namaste is explained to readers early in the book, so they will understand what Nima is really telling people and why it is so special. The story is simple and gentle, filled with the daily rhythms of another part of the world which allow us a glimpse into what is similar and different. Cohn’s prose is sprinkled with words that work well in the context and can be looked up in the glossary as well. Cordova’s art really ties this book to Nepal through traditional art motifs and iconic images such as the prayer flags.
This book is a fast and fascinating way to make a quick visit to Nepal and see it through the eyes of a little girl. It is a book that celebrates the simple and the profound at once. Namaste!
Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.
Below you can take a look at a video with the author and illustrator talking about the book: