Monday, January 16, 2012

Sita: Daughter of the Earth

I think I’m similar to my students in that if I’m going to learn about something new, I enjoy doing it via graphic novel. I was really excited to receive Sita: Daughter of the Earth, which tells about characters from Hindu mythology. This graphic novel is Saraswati Nagpal’s retelling of the Ramayana, focusing on Sita, Rama’s wife.

Sita’s mother is the goddess Bhudevi, but she is adopted by a king. Beautiful and intelligent, she has a happy life until it is time to marry. After hearing of the brave exploits of the warrior prince Rama, she decides to issue a challenge to claim her as a bride. The palace holds a great bow, which was magically built to be impossible for a mortal man to life. No surprise—the hero Rama breaks the bow, beginning their lives together.

Like any epic heroine, Sita faces many trials. Nagpal’s story has a feminist slant; Sita is courageous and loyal, plus she speaks up for herself and others. At the end of the book, she makes a choice that shows that she is a truly principled heroine.

Manikandan’s illustrations are lush and gorgeously detailed. Readers will pore over the gods and goddesses whose beauty will incite imaginations. Sita: Daughter of the Earth is an engrossing graphic novel and an excellent introduction to the Ramayana.

Text provided by the publisher for review for the Cybils.

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