A Walk with Thambi
Author: 
Illustrator: 
Proiti Roy
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
24
Publisher: 
Tulika
Themes:
disability blind
Genre:
picture book
 

 

This picture book by Lavanya Karthik, playfully and imaginatively explores a day in the life of a blind boy as seen through the eyes of his guide dog. As they leave home the mother admonishes them not to run in the street, play in the river, climb trees and get muddy. But which little boy or dog can resist the fun that these activities bring? We see Thambi enjoying himself through his senses – he feels the breeze, hears the hullabaloo of the street scenes and smells the myriad aromas of the bazaar. We see him jumping into the cool waters of the river, hanging from a tree and playing with his friends, who are oblivious of his disability.

Adding visual texture to the book are the lively, fun illustrations, by Proity Roy, with detailed story panels of chaotic street scenes, bustling bazaars and the calm waters of backwaters of a small town in Kerala The minimal text on each page enhances the reading experience of the child encouraging them to explore the images on the page.

This book celebrates self-confidence and independence, and beautifully highlights the exciting worlds that are opened up to children when they are not being restrained and curtailed from exploring their surroundings regardless of whether they are abled or disabled.

Sensitively written and illustrated, the book speaks volumes as the only indication of the disability is depicted by the red/white cane that Thambi is holding. The message, subtly woven into the story, is loud and clear and that being blind (or disabled in any other way) need not be a deterrent to enjoying oneself.

Sadly, as our society and our government systems tend to exclude rather than encourage inclusiveness, disabled children are rarely seen whether on the streets or in mainstream schools. Hence books like these are very important as they beautifully highlight the fact that children are children, with the same needs of having fun, a good laugh with friends, of enjoying a sense of independence and of course, being loved and accepted as they are.
 

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee