Little Ayesha is all excited for her favorite cousin Ritu's wedding. She can't wait to dance in the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin's big day?
This vibrant book sets the story of a same-sex couple struggling to gain acceptance against the colorful backdrop of an Indian wedding.
Ameya Narvankar is a multi-disciplinary designer, storyteller, and visual artist from India. An alumnus of Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT-Bombay, he has always believed in ‘design for change’ and with his first published children’s book as an author and illustrator, he hopes that ‘Ritu weds Chandni’ will not only have a positive impact on society but also win their hearts. He is also fond of cats, houseplants, baking, and DIY crafts.
This is such a damn liberating read! More so because it's based on a conservative society and more so because the couple are women!
I just love the concept and the idea behind this children's story book. As such there's severe lack of such books, books on queer and LGBTQIA plus, and more so because of the gender represented. I myself tend to read more of MM books when it comes to reading queer books. Time to change that. And this book is just the basic start!
And yes, this book is quite apt for children.
In the story, Charu cannot quite understand why the relatives and family members did not attend or refused to attend her cousin, Ritu's marriage with her girlfriend, Chandni. (Love the cultural names though!)
Yes, it's true. Let alone marriage. The mere utterance of queer terms is still forbidden in the society. Even amongst the family. Imagine how difficult it must have been for this community and the hatred, discrimination they must be facing on a daily basis not only from strangers but more from their near and dear ones.
The dialogues between Charu and the adults who came to attend the wedding is done well. And yes, the baraat (wedding procession) is represented accurately. And so is the discrimination and hatred towards such marriages. All the Hindi terms are explained at the glossary towards the end.
The Illustration is so detailed and so well. presented. It's colourful, festive and representative!
October 23, 2020: An important book that shines a light on homophobia and equally resists it through the eyes of a little child who's simply excited to dance at her cousin's same sex marriage.
↦ the happiness, excitement, and celebration around a desi wedding. ↦ narrated in a way to highlight the disapproval of society and some family members but also showcasing the pure delight through those who are attending the wedding. ↦ easily infuses the notion that a marriage is a marriage, and can be carried out with the same religious ceremonies that straight weddings are conducted. ↦ an authentic art style that greatly honors different skin tones of the brown family and the glitters of a desi wedding while not stepping out of the vivid color scheme. ↦ reinforces the fact that children aren't born homophobic and that society can potentially corrupt their thoughts to regard people differently for simply who they choose to love.
September 28, 2002: Why am I only coming across this now? I AM SO HAPPY with the cover itself like my heart is going to go all AHHHH while reading this, i'm so sure omg. Received a digital copy via Netgalley.
I technically don’t read children’s books at all because I don’t have kids and I’m not that interested either. But as soon as I saw the premise of this one, I knew I couldn’t let it go. And it was so beautiful.
As the author mentions in his note, India just decriminalized same sex relationships last year, and there is no legal recourse for such couples to marry yet. And while there is activism and more awareness building day by day, there is still a large part of the country that is either homophobic or indifferent, nevertheless not supportive at all. So to see a desi lesbian wedding depicted in a children’s book is such a delight and a beacon of hope for the future, and I hope we see more such representation in various forms of media in India.
The beauty of this book is that it’s told through the POV of a young girl who is very very excited to be a part of her cousin’s wedding and she doesn’t find it odd at all that her sister is marrying another woman. She is actually flabbergasted about why some of her extended family is missing from the ceremony or why there are protestors on the streets. This just goes to show that children are not born with prejudices or bigoted ideas, and we can easily give them a progressive and accepting upbringing. I also loved how the little girl is innocently fearless and is determined to dance at the wedding baraat, despite anyone trying to dissuade them. It’s so joyful to watch her be so pure and happy.
I also loved how bright and vibrant the illustrations were. The little mehendi details, the tilak ceremony, the gorgeous red lehengas of the brides and everyone’s wonderful clothes and jewelry, and both the brides having their own baraat and coming on a ghodi to the ceremony - it had all the best parts of an Indian wedding, and I love the author’s message that we can have a beautiful ceremony with all the traditional trappings, even when it’s two women getting married.
To conclude, this is a very important, hopeful, and pretty children’s book and I think everyone should pick it up; also read it with your children and maybe you can have some very necessary discussions with them about different kinds of relationships so that they can have a prejudice free childhood as opposed to the one some of us must have had.
This is a sweet story about Ritu marrying Chandni and the wedding celebrations that follow. Ritu's young cousin Ayesha is very excited about the wedding but she sees concern in her parents' faces. She is also surprised to see some of her relatives missing from the wedding celebrations. This is a book about redefining traditions—what is wrong with a bride leading the baraat—and standing up against hate and homophobia.
Colourful, striking illustrations complete the north Indian wedding scenes. I really liked the use of bold colours which makes the book a celebration and nothing lesser. Rating : 3.5
Much thanks to Yali Books for an e- copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
I couldn't resist Ritu Weds Chandni when I saw it on NetGalley. The stunning cover caught my eye, and I loved the premise of a young girl eagerly anticipating the wedding of her cousin.
Aware of the negative reaction to two women marrying, the families of Ritu and Chandni proceed with their planned celebration. Members of the community (as well as some of their relatives) show up to spoil the festivities, and do their best to ruin this beautiful tradition.
Young Ayesha stands up for her cousin and her bride, expressing her joy over their union and their right to participate in the traditional wedding celebration.
The colors are absolutely stunning, and the style of the art is expressive and very appealing. While the Hindi words and traditions are unfamiliar to me, the way the author incorporates them into the story makes them clear and it’s easy to relate to the customs.
Ameya Narvankar tells a wonderful story, and I wholeheartedly second the sentiment they express in the author's notes about needing to raise our children with examples of all different kinds of relationships in books and movies.
a copy of Ritu Weds Chandni was provided by NetGalley for the purpose of my honest review
An enchanting and eye-opening book. It was beautiful and i really recommend that you read it. I loved the indian representation and the pure innocence and joy of Ayesha. As beautiful as it was, it showcased important things, and how people are still so unaccepting towards someones happiness.
Little Ayesha is all excited about her favorite cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?
Being a part of a large family, I have attended weddings where relatives, cousins gather together and have immense fun. I always believe that weddings are a great way to celebrate the meeting of two hearts. That’s why, even after not being a fan of children’s books anymore, I picked this book up. I thought this one to be fun read. However, this book emerged out to be a game-changer.
The social message that was sent by the writer through our little Ayesha is important for us as a society to understand and abide by. The judiciary system sanctions a law. However, it is up to the people following the system to respect the law and make everyone’s life smooth. But, to our very dismay, there are always people to come in between every good deed. They don’t have the courage to accept the fact that everything is not about ego and trivial prestige.
Little Ayesha with her innocence will do something that elders were unable to act upon. Children do have very soft hearts and sometimes they act more maturely than adults. I loved the execution of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. Thank you, NetGalley for providing me a copy of this beautiful book.
"My Ritu didi is getting married today, and I'm going to dance in her baraat all the way!"
Absolutely adorable and important children's book that follows a young Indian girl at her cousin's wedding. But her cousin is marrying another woman, and not everyone is happy about that. It's a simple book with a strong message about standing up to intolerance, and finding joy and happiness despite adversity. It's written simply enough for its audience, and has a nice little glossary of Hindi words at the end. The art is really really good, and absolutely what makes this work! A lot of the storytelling is left to the art, and it does a great job with it. It's so vibrant and bold, with a unique style that strikes the perfect balance: very eye-catching and cartoony enough to be engaging for kids, while also being beautiful on a general scale. This would be a great one to read with kids, or give to little readers to peruse on their own.
Could use a closer edit for clarity in some sentences, and a couple of tense errors.
Really lovely all in all. I love seeing books about same-sex relationships that are written for younger audiences, and it's great to get those stories from diverse voices and cultures. <3
What a beautiful picture book 😍 Desi children need this book! The illustrations are so wonderful and in the times where same sex marriage is still a distant thing in Desi culture, this book brings a hope and a chance to educate our children on the topic. Lovely book that will surely put a smile on your face. I wish I could get a copy of this someday.
Ameya Narvankar’s Ritu Weds Chandni starts off on a joyous note. Little Ayesha is thrilled because “her favourite cousin is getting married…” Everyone is decked up and getting ready to dance in the baraat, she sings. The family sets out to the bride, Ritu’s house and memories of her brother Deepak’s wedding flood Ayesha’s mind.
But we see the first signs of trouble brewing as Ayesha’s mother says that traditionally it’s the groom who leads the baraat. Not everyone is going to share Ayesha’s happiness, she realises. Ritu Weds Chandni is a beautifully illustrated book that questions identities and societal norms. Seen through the eyes of a child, they seem incomprehensible and unnecessary. Why can’t two people who love each other, be together? Isn’t love supposed to transcend all boundaries?
I wholeheartedly support Yali Books and Narvankar’s efforts in asking such important questions at a young age.
"I had explored the topic of visibility and representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the Indian society, wherein I had looked at different portrayals of characters in films and media, especially in literature. I found that none of it existed in an Indian context," Narvankar explains in an interview with The Indian Express.
With more awareness, there is an urgent need to address that awareness in a sensible, balanced manner in children. Inculcate fair values in them and help them understand that the world has all kinds of people. "The idea was to address the fact that children are not born homophobic, they are conditioned to believe in certain things," says Narvankar in the same interview.
I agree and there aren’t too many books dispelling that notion for children. This is one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It takes barely a few minutes to read but it demands much thought afterwards.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own
This was the cutest little picture book ever! I love how the author chose the perspective of innocence and pure love of Ayesha to show us the very hard and heartbreaking reality when it comes to the acceptance of any form of queerness in Indian culture and society.
There is just something so beautiful and devastating about how easy it is for Ayesha to love and accept her didi for who she is, and how determined these strangers that the baraat meets on their way to the venue are to stop something that, for all intents and purposes, has LITERALLY nothing to do with their lives.
There's so many problems with how this country currently views its people - with what it considers right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, valueable and dispensible. A culture that prided itself on acceptance is now become one that is intent on segregating. In a time like this, I am so grateful for books like Ritu weds Chandni which exist with stubborn hope, which exist to instill faith, which exist to teach love, and acceptance and joy.
Also, like, the artwork in here is absolutely gorgeous!! I really hope this book finds its way into the hands of curious children who will, hopefully, grow up with one less prejudice to unlearn.
This book is truly an eye opener. It perfectly portrayed the conservative society that's occupied with homophobic, anti-feminist, misogynist and racist ideas. The only thing we could do to make this society, a happy place, is to educate our children to respect other's opinions and treat everyone equally.
Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.
This beautifully illustrated desi novel is all about acceptance and support for love - no matter whom you fall in love with.
It is cute, adorable and gives you all the feels - it’s a very short book; but it packs a punch into a reading of what would be a maximum of 10-15 minutes!
It also reads to be a very good introduction to the LGBTAIQ+ representation to educate children, especially in a society like our own.
Plus, the fact that this beautifully illustrated had a rough start makes it all the more reason to push it in front of the masses - it deserves the attention and respect it is due! Kudos to the author who never gave up and to the publisher who supported a desi book!
Here’s the thing – if you grew up in India in the late 90’s and 2000’s, you had limited exposure to queer and sapphic representation. Sure, there was that one Bollywood movie called Girlfriend but it only really depicted an unhealthy relationship and not much else. So what I’d like to do is to thank Ameya Narvankar for creating this lovely little book about a Queer Indian wedding (Hindu customs. Not all indian weddings are hindu weddings) Ritu weds Chandni is about a wedding between the eponymous characters told through the eyes of Ritu’s young cousin Ayesha. Ayesha is young enough to be untouched by the bigotry of society but old enough to recognize it in others. This book manages to portray the usual homophobic tyranny of Indian society from the perspective of a young child alongside stunning illustrations.
The characters involved, food, clothes and ambience of a North Indian Hindu wedding were beautifully drawn and the narration was simple and effective! This is the kind of book that can help bring up a more thoughtful and brave generation. It is also the kind of book I wish younger me had read because self-acceptance takes its own sweet time, you know.
I received this copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Around two years back, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality in the country. However, despite this progressive judgement, India does not recognise same-sex marriages. None of the marital laws too expressly recognise same-sex marriages. With this background in mind, I was not at all surprised to see that the first Indian lesbian wedding storybook, though written by an Indian, needed a New York-based pubisher. I hope this situation changes and the book finds a market, as well as creates a new market in India. As the author himself says in one interview, "Children aren't born homophobic."
'Ritu Weds Chandni' is the story of a young Ayesha who is excited to be going to her cousin Ritu's wedding. She recollects her cousin brother's wedding and imagines the same fervour and festivities this time around too. However, the situation at the wedding venue is quite different, simply because Ritu is marrying another girl.
The book is aimed at the 8+ age group. And the story clearly provides a look at the wedding from the eyes of an eight year old, from her excitement over the flashy clothes and sweets to her wonderment at the discomfort of the adults to her brave opposition of the protesters.
The story skips mentioning the location of the place, but if same-sex marriages were to ever be legalised in India, I presume this could occur anywhere in the country.
The illustrations are really beautiful and will appeal to the little readers.
What was illogical to me was how the protesting riders carried long water hoses with them and started splashing the baraatis with water. Hopefully, no eight year old asks that question to his/her parents.
I loved the line in the end note where the author says, "Let us not pass on the fear of 'log kya kahenge' to future generations." Agree with that sentiment!
I received an advance review copy of the book from NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
3.2 I liked the art, tho I can't say I appreciate the way this story was told. In my opinion, showing this extreme of homophobia in a kid's book is a little inappropriate, but I need to think about this more. But I really like the cultural aspect and how the author used a lot of Hindu words!
This book was so good! If I ever end up having children I will definitely end up getting a copy to read them. I loved seeing these events from the perspective of a child, it helps reinforce the idea that children are not born with bigotry in their hearts, they are taught it by parents or peers. I would recommend this book for about second or third graders, potentially first but they may have a hard time with some of the longer sentences.
eARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. all opinions are my own
rep : ⚢ wlw couple ⚢ indian characters
R I T U W E D S C H A N D N I
why you need this story in your life ( regardless of your age ) :
➤ features a wlw couple getting married as the central storyline — in a traditional manner, the same way weddings of straight couples are carried out, cleverly indicating that same-sex couples aren't an alien concept that does not adhere to tradition and custom. ➤ simply beautiful art, portraying different skin tones, colourful saris and pretty wedding snapshots at the end ! ➤ a very cute girl who is her cousin's biggest supporter and one of the best allies EVER. ➤ a glossary at the end for english translations of the few hindi words sprinkled throughout the story. ➤ showcases the fact that while homophobia is very much a thing and almost ruins their blessed day, ritu and chandni still have a close-knit group of loved ones to support them. ➤ have i mentioned the art ? ➤ doesn't make the central wlw couple an unnecessary spectacle — their wedding seems natural enough to convince any child that homophobic people are unreasonable and illogical. ➤ shows how even a little girl can make a big difference in her own way and bring about happiness and love. ➤ in a note at the end, the author mentioned that growing up, he found a severe lack of lgbtqiap+ stories, and acknowledged that wlw have it worse due to heavier societal expectations; this becomes a disadvantage for lgbtqiap+ people because growing up, queer people do not know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like. ➤ the sheer cuteness ! ➤ the author has also recommended some south asian lgbtqiap+ books at the end ! ➤ THE ART.
As a kid (that would be the late 90s and early 2000s) I never once read a book representing same-sex couples and I'm so happy that stories like this one are out there now.
This book starts a much needed discussion and does so through the eyes of a child. All Ayesha wants is for her cousin Ritu to be happy on her wedding day and doesn't understand why others wouldn't. As children, we don't care if our cousin is marring a man or a woman, all we want is for her to marry someone who loves her and makes her happy. Culture, traditions and overall expectations then turn that around as we grow up and it's somehow more important for a woman to marry a man than for her to marry the person she loves.
Let's try to not to grow up in that regard and continue viewing the world the way a child does, without the influence of what society deems right or wrong.
A big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange of an honest and voluntary review.
This is the sort of book every child needs. The illustrations are so colourful and intricate, they immediately draw you in the vibrant setting of the wedding. Ayesha's excitement is absolutely infectious and overall this book does such a great job of both, exploring Indian culture and weddings as well as queer relationships.
My 19 year old desi self is in tears because I want to immediately buy hundreds of copies and give them to every kid I know. Truly a beautiful story ❤
I was provided with an ARC of this book via Netgalley
I never knew a picture book could make me cry, but this one did.
A heart-warming tale with an important social message, Ritu Weds Chandni is the book we have been waiting for. This book combines storytelling with vibrant colors, which makes it very memorable. The story is relatively simple, yet makes such an impact! I can't wait for kids to pick this book up, and I really wish I had it growing up. I love how it normalizes sapphic relationships, yet at the same time shows children the way society may treat them and the challenges such couples may face, all while leaving us with a message filled with hope and love.
A must read book for children, to make them aware about the importance of love and acceptance. I loved the vibrant illustrations and being an Indian, could absolutely relate to the cultural references from the book.
Barely a 15-min long read, this children's picture book about a lesbian wedding in India is extremely cute and visually pleasing. I love how it is from the perspective of a very young girl who doesn't view a marriage between two women as "unnatural" or "weird". This is the kind of fairytale I want every child (and homophobic adult) in India to read.
Ritu Weds Chandni is a charming picture book that celebrates love. With beautiful vibrant illustrations and a simple storyline that is sure to please even the pickiest young reader, this graphic novel will teach your child about the importance of growth and acceptance in a family. This book does not shy away from the intricacies of queer existence in India. It confronts homophobia at the source and celebrates change in a delightfully whimsical way.
You Should Read This Book if you Like 💕: +Vibrant art 🎨 +Simple Stories about Complicated Topics 📔 +LGBTQ+ Stories👩❤️👩
Read this to your child and trust you are teaching them a valuable lesson about the beauty of acceptance.
PREORDER this book now to receive it when it’s released on December 1st, 2020 👰👰.
I received an advance review copy of this book for free via NetGalley in partnership with Yali Books. I am leaving this review voluntarily 📚.