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Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Extreme weather affects two children's lives in very different ways and shows how the power of nature can bring us together.

One girl. One boy. Their lives couldn't be more different.

While she turns her shoulder to sandstorms and blistering winds, he cuffs his pants when heavy rains begin to fall.

As the weather becomes more severe, their families and animals must flee to sa
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
You know how in the Star Wars movies each planet has just a single solitary type of terrestrial biome? You know why that is? Because it’s simpler, that’s why. We, the movie watchers, are perfectly happy to point at one planet and say “ice planet” or “forest planet” or "weird red salt planet”. More than one type of terrain would confuse our little minds. And that’s fine for the movies, sure it is. The trouble is that we sort of have a tendency to do the same thing to large tracts of land. We’ll e ...more
Jul 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Readers Looking for Stories About Climate Change & Weather Dangers
Recommended to Abigail by: Kathryn
American author Tara Dairman and Indian illustrator Archana Sreenivasan join forces in this picture-book examination of the lives of two Indian children, and the impact that changing weather patterns have on them and their families. The girl and her family lead a pastoral life in the dry desert, herding camels, while the boy and his family are settled in a rainy region, where they raise goats. Both families face the extreme weather brought on by climate change, and must flee their homes, meeting ...more
Shaye Miller
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book comparing and contrasting two young Indian children, raised in very different climates. One is not better than the other, just different. Lovely artwork drawn either in panels or with one landscape scene hovering over the other. The illustrations for this book was drawn in pencil and painted digitally.

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated - and simply written this is a very cool compare and contrast of a girl in a desert and a boy in a monsoon who live in very different climates, but both live in India. I enjoyed how they contrasted the differences by showing the similarities.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan. PICTURE BOOK. G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18. 9780525518068



Two different Indian lifestyles are presented side by side. The type of clothing, dwellings, and activities are juxtaposed as we see how those from the dry migrating groups live opposed to those in towns likely to be affected by monsoon season.

I liked the visual nature of this b
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This book weaves the stories of a girl who lives in the desert and a boy who lives in the monsoon together. It shows how even though our lives look very different, they can still be very similar and we can come together and share all that we have and need. It's nice, sweet, meaningful.

The art has a nice color palate the warmth of the desert staying with the girl and the cool colors of the boy stays with him throughout his journey.

Honestly? This book is just okay. The little story in the back th
Chantal Aurora
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
The illustrations were absolutely beautiful. The story was sweet, I loved the contrast between the two lives.
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. The artwork inside is absolutely gorgeous! Well told story and presented in a unique and fun way. 20 stars!!
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
In India, two families must respond to the weather they are experiencing. One nomadic family, lives in the desert and must move in search of water. The other family, who live in a village, are experiencing a monsoon and the flooding it brings. Both families are multi-generational, both have children learning things, helping out and packing up. One family deals with blowing sand and sandstorms while the other has leaking roofs and puddles on the floor. Soon both start traveling in search of safet ...more
Becky B
The lives of a boy and a girl in two different pastoral communities in India are compared and contrasted. One's family herds goats and is facing a monsoon, while the other's family cares for camels and is facing a dust storm. Both families seek shelter from their weather and meet.

Definitely read the author and illustrator's notes about the Rabari people groups in India who inspired this picture book. I like the compare and contrast aspects of the book. It is cleverly written and done in rhyme to
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In remarkably few words, arrayed in the simplest of rhymes, Tara Dairman does a stunning job of portraying the contrasting climates and cultures of two children living in different regions of northwest India. Her "white sand," his "green field," her "dusty slippers," his "muddy feet." But when unusually severe drought drives her family to seek water, and unusually intense rains drive his family to seek higher ground, the two children meet on the same safe hillside, joining together "round the fi ...more
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of severe weather in a simple and parallel way. The young girl and her family live a nomadic life in the desert of India and must find a way to protect themselves from the the moving sands and limited water. The young boy lives in an area of India where the rains come in such abundance that his family must escape from the flooding water. The book imagines the two families meeting on higher ground and celebrating their safety. The book is a look at though things seem so ...more
Jun 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: fiction-picture, 2020
Every page shows the opposing climates. Yellow palette for the desert, and blue for the monsoon landscape. Short rhyming text good for read aloud. I really like that the two sides are always represented. The division/framing of the art is varied. The scenery is softly detailed, but the story always highlights the people. The author and illustrator notes reflect a lot of care and thought went into this book.

Set in India, this story imagines the journeys of people seeking to deal with their weathe
Jared White
Some of the illustrations in this book are beautiful and I love how the pictures illustrate the differences and similarities between the two lead characters. The richness of each culture is portrayed beautifully in the clothing, jewelry, housing, etc. and I love that the stories eventually converge (because of sad circumstances but happiness is found in fellowship).

I put this on my "own voices" shelf because the illustrator is from India...but she is not from the cultures portrayed. She did visi
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really really like the illustrations in this story, The contrast of warm and cool colors, and the way they are stacked rather than side by side so you get these awesome panoramic scenes. The text has a lovely flow, with a gentle, natural rhyme. It is just a gorgeous book.
My only concern is it feels like it ends too soon. The two families are joined and the children are playing, but they left their homes for negative reasons. Will they be able to go back? Are they going to live on the hill tog
Gabrielle Stoller
This book, while simple in text, is more about the illustrations and the story. The desert girl and her family are longing for water. The monsoon boy and his family are seeking to flee from the overabundance of it! Of course, the paths intersect.

But I appreciate this book for its multicuturalism. The representation that people can live in different regions and yet, life is so much the same. We tend to think only us have a routine or chores or the like. Yet that isn't true. At all. Families are m
Sandy Brehl
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book features things I most adore about picture books- a near.y hypnotic blend of text and illustration, with layout and intentional design that supports complex and even unfamiliar content so seamlessly that the experience feels a if it has been lived. It also utilizes timeless craft ( repeating words or phrases, circling back, and layering new concepts and social patterns with relationships and routines that feel like home).Top that off with the eventual resolution that weaves the parts i ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
There are often times that I wish that the "author's note" at the end of the book was placed in the beginning to offer insight and details to the story that would give the reader a better understanding and context for the story. The first time reading the book, I thought the story was interesting and the details in the illustrations beautiful but when I understood who these groups of people were, where they lived, and the conditions they face, it helped me appreciate the story on a whole differe ...more
Patricia N. McLaughlin
“One girl. One boy. Their lives could not be more different.” Exactly! So tell the girl’s story, and tell the boy’s story—in separate books, with complete sentences that include all of the important details that this nearly wordless story leaves out and relegates to the Author’s Note. Yes, climate change is destroying their respective homelands and threatening their lives and livelihoods, so imagine happy endings for them in their new, respective homes and homelands. A third star for the multicu ...more
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully effective. Love how the words and text juxtapose the similar-yet-different experiences of the girl in northwest India (living a traditional nomadic lifestyle) and the boy in his a village during the monsoon. Appreciate the details in the illustrations, the slice-of-life, the fear and suspense, the ultimate relief and joy. Author and illustrator both have good notes in the back providing further background that will be useful for older children and educators, though younger children w ...more
Annamarie Carlson (she, her)
A girl and a boy don't live too far apart geographically--but it sure does feel like they live on other sides of the universe. One lives in the desert, surrounded by sand storms and heat, making treks for water each day. The other is surrounded by water, traveling through muddy streets to and from school each day. When the weather becomes too tumultuous, both families meet and share stories on the high ground in between their two homes. ...more
Bee (BacchusVines)
I absolutely love the art work that Archana Sreenivasan has done for Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy. The patterns, textiles, and families were all different and fun to look at. I enjoyed the story of these two different lives and yet, when they meet at the end, come together so beautifully.

The author's note at the end was very informative, as there are traditions that do survive well beyond the technological days of modern civilization. This would be a great addition to any school librarian wanting m
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up thinking it was one of the picture books with the theme of 'how alike we are, even as we're different' It was, but it was so much more. I loved the author's note about how this is inspired by an actual region of India where different weather extremes can be quite close to each other, and all the cultural details that were included in the pictures regarding clothes and homes and decorations. And then add that it's a nice, clear rhyming text with lovely illustrations? Great bo ...more
Jessica Lawson
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, lyrical, important book that everyone should own. Please consider adding it to your home collection!

Here's a link to a review written by Betsy Bird, one of the most respected voices in children's publishing:
Cara Byrne
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
With brief phrases and colorful illustrations, Dairman and Sreenivasan show the differences (and similarities) between those who care for animals and live in the deserts and monsoons of India. I love how this book helps show the diversity (ecological and cultural) that exists in a country. I really enjoyed reading this with my six and three year olds.
The Library Lady
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A portrait of 2 Indian children, a girl whose tribe wanders as nomads in the desert, a boy whose family has settled in a village where there is water and an easier life. Beautiful art and simple, well chosen prose combine beautifully. This is the sort of book that adds to the multicultural choices on the shelf, but more importantly, is just a really "good read." ...more
Edward Sullivan
In India, extreme weather of different kinds affects two children's lives in very different ways. An author's note explains the story is inspired by the indigenous Rabari people, nomadic herders and shepherds who live in northwest India. ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book to increase critical thinking around how pastoral tribes are adapting to the changing climate. It is also ripe with opportunity to integrate multiple texts, including map skills and geography awareness because it is based on specific tribes and locations (see the Author’s Note).
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A girl in the desert.

A boy in a monsoon.

Two parallel but very different stories are told of children facing problems in the weather. The illustrations are lovely, with gentle text, and with a satisfying resolution.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good, and I see a lot of classroom/lesson plan potential in this one. Do not miss the Author's Note and Illustrator's Note at the end, they give a great deal on insight into the content and research. ...more
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Tara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade foodie novels ALL FOUR STARS, THE STARS OF SUMMER, STARS SO SWEET, and THE GREAT HIBERNATION (coming in 2017), all published by Penguin Random House. She is also a playwright and a recovering round-the-world honeymooner (2 years, 74 countries!).

Tara holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of th

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