Elspeth Lorraine

Book Reviews

July 21, 2023

"A Garden in My Hands" By Meera Sriram Illustrated By Sandhya Prabhat

Ooo I love love these bright colors and swirls and designs Sandhya created! My favorite colors are purple and green with splashes of pink so of course this book leapt right into my waiting hands. On the first page we see a little girl lying on her belly getting her hands hennaed by her mother. Mama weaves story after story of their ancestors as she paints the warm brown henna onto the little girl’s palms. As the henna dries she must keep her hands from smudging and mama helps her to brush teeth, drink with a straw, and prepare her bed. She accidentally smears a piece of the henna, and gets upset, but her mama comforts her. She slips on cotton gloves and sleeps as her hands slowly dry. In the morning she rubs the henna off in flakes and the now red design appears! Her whole family appreciates and admires her hands as they dance at a wedding later in the evening. She calls the art, “a garden in my hands” and shares that it fills her with family pride of a faraway home. 

Bits and Pieces: Meera, who grew up in India, shares her personal story about henna and how this book came to be. We also have some great backmatter on the history of henna and how many cultures use it for its dye. 

Not Sure About: I didn’t understand how the henna smudged, but when she rubbed the dried pieces the design was intact. 

Favorite Part: The colors! The short imaginative prose! Her gorgeous lehenga. Also Mom was so gorgeous and loving and patient.

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