Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar (9781949528947)
Ayesha has been looking forward to the day of her favorite cousin’s wedding. Now it is finally here and her family is getting all dressed up to dance in the baraat. Tradition was that the groom brings the baraat to the wedding, so Ayesha’s parents are worried about what the response will be to Ritu leading her baraat herself. Once at the house, Ayesha discovers that many of her family aren’t going to attend the wedding, since it’s a marriage between two women. Soon the wedding procession began with Ritu on horseback, but they are met with anger and harsh words by the people along the route. People wanted to stop the procession, which was now silent and stifled. Even Chandni joining them could not lift their spirits when someone sprayed them both with water, ruining their outfits and hair. Ayesha could not stay silent, stepping forward to say that she wanted to dance all the way despite the angry people!
It is wonderful to see a book take a wedding tradition and show how a same-sex couple can make it work. This book doesn’t shy away from the fact that people’s attitudes have not changed about gay marriage, instead making it an opportunity to show exactly what being an ally looks like, especially if you are a child.
The art in this book has is a mixture of the flatness of folk art and a modern edginess that incorporates watercolor washes and vibrant colors. The deep reds of the wedding couple’s clothes, the golds of the bangles and backgrounds, the wash of teal water and leaves all combine into a vibrant world of love and standing up for acceptance.
Get ready to dance yourself with this LGBT picture book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Yali Books.