One of the primary qualities of good stories is the doorways they provide. A doorway to go in and reflect and connect with self and then to go out and connect with other people. These synapses come to all who read. However, being adult I tend to seek these entry points for the children I work with, believing that in doing that I am fulfilling a meaningful purpose. I find my own doorways when I walk with another into a book and beyond.
So, it was a wonderful surprise to find MY own doorway in a picture book –Minu and her Hair by Gayathri Bashi published by Tulika.
I would not know how a straight haired person might react to this book, but I know that the hundreds of children I work with, will all respond to it like me. They will see me in that book and we can talk again about hair. This is not an unusual topic for me. My hair is the object of much conversation and speculation, quite like the author comment on the back cover.
Is it real? How do you comb it ? Can I touch it ?
In Class 1 of St. Thomas Girls School, Aldona the children were drawing pictures of what and who they might meet in the Jungle. We had engaged in sufficient talk and modelling on the black board for me to believe that it is no mistake that one little girl drew this …
Yes, me and my hair in the jungle !
“it’s like a bird’s nest ! ” is not a fantasy. I have had feathers stick in my hair and being put in my hair as well ! Other’s might receive flowers, my hair like Minu receives feathers.
There are many illustrations in this 32 page picture book that reflect a ‘real’ world. Appuppan in his lungi, Minu’s anger directed at the newspaper , the steaming cup of tea that grows colder as Minu asks about her hair, Amma and Achan and the family hair scares, the many possibilities that emerge with hair like this, but my favourite is
I walk this time into a door way alone , no children tugging my soul as I find myself in Minu and her Hair , but I know that when I do share this book , multiple doors and windows will be thrown open as they do with a good book.