ABOUT THE BOOKMati pesters her grandmother and father for her own plot of land in the big field. When she does get it, she works hard. And then she hears that a company wants to make coal mine in their village — the enormous black pit that will eat up all their lands, like it has in the next village.
As always, Rinchin powers her questions through irresistible storytelling. The little girl’s anxiety about losing her land to “a monster machine” cuts close to the heart as it takes head-on an issue that is ravaging tribal Chhattisgarh, where this story is set, and every other place where there is “development” at a cost. The earthy tones of the illustrations take us straight into the fields, while strong lines etch out the determination of two feisty females — Mati and her Ajji — who will not give in.
- Tackles the complex issue of the exploitation of small farmers through the medium of a simple story about a little girl and her patch of land.
- Touches upon issues of caste and gender as well, all without “lecturing”.
- Gently sheds light on a serious environmental and human rights subject, perfect to introduce young readers to larger concepts about their world.
- There are no simple answers provided, but the book ends on a note of hope and belief that the fight will go on.
- The use of the term “females” in the blurb to describe Mati and her grandmother could have been avoided in what is otherwise a powerful read.