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Author : Mahasweta Devi
Illustrator : Kanyika Kini
Moyna lives in a little tribal village. She cannot go to school because she has to tend goats, collect firewood, fetch water… But she is so full of questions that the postmaster calls her the ‘why-why girl'! In this inspiring and delightful story, her first picture book, acclaimed Jnanpith award-winning writer Mahasweta Devi tells us how she meets Moyna (and her mongoose) and helps her find answers to all the why-whys – in books, that Moyna herself learns to read. Some of the translations have been done by well-known writers: Malayalam by Paul Zacharia, Tamil by Ambai, and Kannada by Girish Karnad.
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|Specifications||24 pages; 10.5” x 8.25”; full colour; soft cover|
|Rights sold||English, Tamil and Malay (Malaysia and Singapore), German (worldwide)|
|Tags||childhood, story about a tribal girl, curiosity, questions, family, friendship, gender, learning, inclusive book|
"Mahasweta Devi's first picture book, in bold typeface and with brilliant illustrations, is packaged for children above six years. The delightful tale of an inquisitive tribal girl also touches on gender issues and empowerment." -December 2003, India Today
Many layers of interpretation
"The story lends itself to many layers of interpretation as all good works of art do. As you read the story, seemingly simple, you first realize the divide between urban life and life close to nature, the rich and the poor, then the divide between the literate and the illiterate, between adult and child and above all, the divide between those who ask why and those who don't. At one level you get re-acquainted with a child's inquisitive nature and at another you are reminded of your own adult impatience with curious inquirers. The translations read beautifully. By recreating this very Indian story in other Indian languages, the story enjoys a new rhythm, a fresh dynamism, and an inexplicable verve in the hands of each of the translators. The text smoothly allows itself to be embedded in other languages and hence in other cultures too. While reading aloud, the grip one has on the mother tongue, on the turn of an onomatopoeic word or a well-crafted phrase is thoroughly enjoyable and it readily shows with the audience." -The Sunday Express, January 2004
Will touch a chord
Mahashweta Devi is one of India’s foremost writers and has worked with the tribals of Bengal, Jharkahand and Gujarat. Her affection for this why-why girl, who grew up to become the village teacher, is apparent in every line. And the story about this inquisitive child will touch a chord with—and open the eyes of—children who have grown up in a very different world. Young India Books