Valli and Ramesh live under a cloud of fear because of their father who has a frightening temper. Will things ever change for them? A story about domestic violence, grit and hope.


  • Behind the Lie is a sensitively told tale of two children who live in a fearful atmosphere of domestic violence and learn strategies to cope with it. It perceptively explores the impact of this abuse on the family.
  • Violence at home and the secrecy that shrouds it can be a dark subject for a children’s book, and Asha Nehemiah, Aindri Chakraborty and Pratham Books are to be congratulated for taking it up. The author and illustrator have neither trivialized the issue, nor have they made it a grim tale without space for hope and happiness.
  • Rather than offer an easy but unconvincing resolution with a contrite father and a happy and peaceful family, Asha Nehemiah chooses to make her story plausible by getting the children and their mother to involve the larger family and the community from whom they draw strength to face their problems.
  • While the focus of the book is on domestic violence, this does not deter the author from creating interesting and memorable characters – the innocent Valli who loves chocolate and makes soothing cups of tea, the brooding suspicious elder brother who loves to sing and the shopkeeper Murugan who cares enough to offer a helping hand.
  • Aindri Chakraborty has done a wonderful job with the illustrations, using the play of light and a cleverly placed belt to make a subtle point about the brutal father and the gloomy atmosphere at home.
  • The last two pages include some tips on coping with violence and on helping someone you might know who is facing such a harrowing situation. It offers a space to begin conversations with children on topics that are normally brushed under the carpet or hushed up.


Behind the Lie cleverly tackles a difficult subject like violence within the home and the tendency to hush it up. This book should be used to initiate conversations among children and empower them to confront such situations with fortitude.


Author: Asha Nehemiah
Illustrator: Aindri Chakraborty
Language: English
Page Extent: 24
Price: Rs. 50
ISBN: 978-93-5309-309-9
Publisher: Pratham Books, 2018
Subject Category: Fiction/Picture Book/Gender/Domestic Violence
Age-group: 6+ years

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