Written by Mamta Nainy and illustrated by Niloufer Wadia , Sadiq Wants to Stitch (Buy it hereis published by Karadi Tales. It was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World Goodbooks Award in the Best Illustrations category, shortlisted for the Neev Book Award, 2019 and nominated for Jarul Book Children’s Choice Award, 2018. Recommended age for self-reading: Regular 7+ | Advanced 5+.

Sadiq Wants to Stitch is a story about a young boy who grows up watching his Ammi stitch the most beautiful rugs he’s ever seen. He is so enamoured by the art of embroidery that he would help her out by threading the needle for her, and she would even let him stitch a few patterns on the corner of the rugs. But as he gets older, his mother forbids him from stitching. She tells him to tend sheep like the other men in their community.

This story gives us a glimpse of the Bakarwal community in the valleys of Kashmir. Did you know the Bakarwal women choose colours depending on their moods? You can look forward to such insights from the book!

When Sadiq is attending to the livestock, his artist’s eye picks out colours and patterns from nature. Try as he might to forget, Sadiq’s fingers itch to stitch once again. So he decides to take up the task in secrecy. 

Every night, Sadiq stays up late making beautiful patterns before he goes to bed. So when Ammi falls ill and is unable to finish a rug on time, Sadiq comes to the rescue. He surprises everyone by pulling out a fully embroidered rug. Ammi is amazed! She finally realises how skilled her son is. What does it matter if boys typically didn’t stitch? She displays his rug proudly outside her home for everyone to admire.

Breaking Stereotypes

Encouraging children to read books similar to this, is essential to enable them to tackle a society rife with their opinions on who gets to do what. If you’re looking for more books that turn the concept of gender on its head, check out Twelve Books For Feminist Boys and Girls. You can also pick up our very own Ramya’s Bat, written by Ritika Subhash and illustrated by Chetan Sharma, which follows similar themes of breaking stereotypes. 

“When children read books that break gender stereotypes, research has found, they reach for less stereotypical toys and broaden their future goals.”

Twelve Books for Feminist Boys and Girls

By painting a tapestry of bright, colourful embroideries, the illustrator Niloufer Wadia, introduces us to the indigenous craft. The book also draws attention to the fact that this is a dying art form and how efforts are taken to preserve it.

What did you think of the book? Comment and let us know! Have you read our reviews of the other books on the Neev award 2019 shortlist? Also, check out the Best of Indian Children’s Writing (BICW) – Contemporary Award list!

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