Pashmina is a graphic novel about an Indian-American girl named Priyanka. It’s #ownvoices, too, meaning the author is also an Indian woman. Her name is Nidhi Chanani, and she wrote and illustrated Pashmina.
The book follows Priyanka as she tries to learn more about her past and her family’s Indian culture. There’s a super helpful glossary in the back for those worried about Indian vocabulary words, but I read it without the glossary and still very much enjoyed it!
Graphic novels are magical. I firmly believe that. They have the power to affect change, even more so than regular literature, because of the visual component. Maus, for example, is now a classic graphic novel and a must-read. It’s studied in colleges. It’s read by people who don’t even normally read graphic novels. The visual power of Maus affected people.
Maus is just an example, though; all thoughtful graphic novels can have that power. It’s good to see more multicultural stories as graphic novels — we need more #ownvoices books in every genre, for every age group, including graphic novels.
As for the actual story: I loved it. It was magical and intriguing and fast-paced at only 176 pages. The coloring is exquisite, and the lineart is unique.
The main character, Priyanka, starts out the story as a young woman who wants to learn more about her family’s history. She wants to know about her father, about why her mother left India, and she wants to be closer to her culture. With the help of a magical pashmina, her aunt, and some comic book contest winnings, Priyanka sets out to learn more.
As I mentioned before, the coloring in Pashmina is extremely interesting. The coloring itself is awesome, but the use of color is awesome, too. In panels set in the real world, the color is monochromatic. It’s not completely grayscale, but all monochromatic and unsaturated. However, in scenes involving the magical pashmina or stories about India, wonderful bursts of color come into play: