Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling
PUBLICATION APRIL 2018
The Ramayana is one of Hinduism's two great epics and was composed about two and a half thousand years ago. It remains vital in the Indian imagination, yielding a rich cultural vocabulary of images, ideals, and social values. The Ramayana tells the story of a young prince, Rama, who is unjustly exiled into the forest by his step mother. His lovely wife, Sita, and his loyal brother go with him and away from the city, the three encounter strange and dangerous creatures. Sita is abducted by a ten-headed demon and Rama makes an alliance with magical monkeys to fight a war and win her back.
"Arshia Sattar's retelling of the Ramayana is a rare triumph.... Ramayana for Children is a beautifully written book based on the Indian epic Ramayana which was originally written by Valmiki. Though it has been rewritten many times over the years, Arshia Sattar's retelling of the tale is refreshing, stimulating and completely faithful to Valmiki's script at the same time. The presentation of Rama as a human being is truly inspiring. Arshia Sattar's credentials are impeccable. An award-winning author, an academic, a translator.... the best part is the way Arshia Sattar has presented the story with her magical words.... The illustrations in this book are used outstandingly well. They assist you in imagining the unimaginable with a dazzling crystallisation of characters and events.... Arshia Sattar is an accomplished author who builds her characters from inside out. She is less interested in describing the physical aspects of her characters and more in giving us a glance into their flickering selves within. Strong characterisation is one of the reasons that a reader will develop a close attachment to those in this book.... She takes you on a journey across hills and mountains and rivers and oceans to a land where the characters come to life and you begin to live with them. She has the ability to make everyone sound so true and alive that you begin to feel their happiness and pain, their joy and sorrow, and their disappointment, anger and despair. It is a journey that you live only to want to experience it again. And though the ending is not happy, not in the cliched sense at least, it will leave the reader wanting more." --Ravi Subramanian, Open Magazine
"The story of Rama and the Ramayana is so powerful and so well-loved that many writers have written about it repeatedly over the centuries. And many narrations have been created for children. But none that adhere faithfully to the oldest version of Rama's story: Valmiki's Ramayana, composed in Sanskrit about 2500 years ago. Arshia Sattar is the best known translator of Valmiki's Ramayana. Her translation has never been out of print since it was published in 1986 and has been reprinted countless times. Now she distills 30 years of working with the great classic into an elegant and beautifully illustrated edition. This book is the closest a child can get to the classic Sanskrit text." --Scoop Whoop News
"Somehow in this modern English translation of Valmiki's text the story reads beautifully without any glitches, without any of those annoyingly forced attempts at putting down a living text in words. Instead what comes through is the incredible manner in which Arshia Sattar to retell these age-old stories but in the true spirit of a storyteller who is herself in sync with the stories. She has made it her own and made it available to a new generation of readers.... Ramayana for Children has been beautifully illustrated with double-page spreads by Sonali Zohra. There is something grungy-funky with the almost wood-cut like impressions that are very appealing. The illustrations complement the text well too.... A magnificent gift for children -- to read, to treasure." --Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, Confessions of an Avid Bibliophile
About the Author: Arshia Sattar has a PhD in classical Indian literatures from the University of Chicago. Her translations from Sanskrit, The Ramayana of Valmiki and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara, have been published as Penguin Classics. She has also written books for children, including Adventures With Hanuman and Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling.
About the Illustrator: Sonali Zohra studied fine art and photography and applies the principles of both to her work. From murals to illustration on ceramic, communication design, photography and illustration for books, whatever the medium, she tries to strike a balance between color, form and light.