Ghosh, Labanya

The Mountains of Mumbai

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Pallavi Jain. Doma misses the mountains of Ladakh, a region in Kashmir administered by India, bordering Tibet and Pakistan. Known for its remoteness, jagged mountains, rocky outcrops, and unique culture as a former Buddhist kingdom, it's nothing like the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai--or is it? Her friend Veda believes that Mumbai can give Doma the feeling of Ladakh's mountains, albeit in a different way. "Do mountains have to be exactly like the ones in Ladakh? Big, brown triangles?" Veda asks as the girls make their way through the city. They walk through bustling outdoor markets and streets, while bright-hued illustrations show more expansive views of the city that zoom out far enough to emphasize color and geography: the iconic Bandra-Worli bridge has large, mountain-like, ­triangular-shaped cables, while aerial street views flatten ­proportions, turning buildings into color-saturated blocks. Veda leads Doma into a high-rise building, up many flights of a swirling spiral staircase, shown from both a top-down perspective and a ­disorienting double-page corkscrew. Doma concedes that being on top of a "mountain in Mumbai" brings a similar feeling to being in Ladakh. While the cultural and geographic specificity of Ladakh is what makes the book unique, readers come away from it challenged to view objects and locations in new ways that foster connections, despite differences.


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