Monday, May 27, 2013

Life’s journey

Drawing from the City by Tejubehan is another interesting offering from Tara Books, an Indian publisher that promotes Indian art forms in beautifully produced books that are often handmade.

This particular offering is an oversized, handmade book based on the oral stories of the artist Tejubehan who has illustrated her life’s journey with highly detailed, folk art drawings.

She introduces us to her life as a young girl in a small village in Rajasthan.  Daily life revolves around the routines required to survive.  On occasion her father tries to earn money and food as a traditional singer, going house-to-house.   Her mother, also a singer, does not sing in public.

A nearby train track makes Teju wonder about the lives of others – travellers on the trains, where they are travelling to, life in the city – and she dares to dream of going there one day.

Drought and famine do eventually drive Teju’s family to the city, but the vibrant urban pulse that Teju feels when she first arrives, won’t help her family start anew.  Their new lives will be on the fringes, living in a ragged tent city, again just scraping by.

Time passes and she marries a kind man, Ganeshbhai, who is also a singer from Rajasthan.  With his encouragement she also begins to sing in public and the two decide they will try to earn their living travelling from place-to-place, singing of everyday occurrences, of hope and faith.  Life continues to be a struggle.

But luck does strike, too.  The artist, Haku Shah gives Ganeshbhai the opportunity and encouragement to learn to draw.  In turn, Ganeshbhai encourages Teju to try her hand at drawing as.  With pen and paper, Teju feels a level of contentment she’s never encountered before.  Being able to draw what she sees and imagines in her mind’s eye is ‘like magic’.

Teju’s illustrations are filled with images of busy people moving and travelling on bicycles, trains, cars, and airplanes. She focuses on women, depicting them as they travel about. As much as this book shows others travelling and what she imagines the lives of other women to be like,  this Teju’s story about her journey from village to city, from girl to married women, from singer to artist.  The idea of travel seems to represent freedom for Teju something she knows she doesn't always have due to economic and social constraints.  But it’s in her art work that she does revel in her artistic freedom to express what is in her heart.

This is an intriguing record of one woman’s life and art work.  I recommend using this book across the grades in social studies, fine arts and language arts classrooms.

Today's Nonfiction Monday event is being held at proseandkahn.


Ms. Yingling said...

This looks interesting. I will have to see if my public library has a copy.

Tammy Flanders said...

I would encourage you to check out any of Tara's books. Thanks for stopping by.

Resh said...

What a wonderful story. I really like the cover art and the story itself seems like a good read.
I have heard a lot about books from Tara, but havent actually picked one up. Thanks for sharing.

Ms. Yingling said...

The cookbooks don't get checked out as much as I would like, but I'm taking a "build it and they will come" approach. The only thing I had for many years were cookbooks about different countries for the 80s, and those definitely didn't check out. We're doing a year long theme of "Sixth Grade-- Recipe for Success" and I hope that my new cookbooks will get checked out.

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks for the feedback. Building in a component into the curriculum could certainly help with the circulation issue. I do love trying new recipes and have tried many over the years that come from kids books (recipe and nonrecipe books). Good luck.

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