Environmental issues and man’s greed, pain, actions, and fear are countered by a young girl, Vijaya, and her new family and new friends of the other realm in this graphic novel.
A Girl in the Himalayas has a unique feel. At first you get the feeling of the scene in the animated Disney move, Mulan, when the village was attacked, and the doll of the little girl is found. You then get a feeling of a child who has been orphaned and is raised by “other” (wolves, or other worldly spirits and beings). This time it is otherworldly spirits (I got vibes of The Life and Times of Santa Clause the Rankin Bass movie version). But, of course, as the child, Vijaya, is human, some of the beings (including one she will come to call Uncle) are not completely thrilled about her being in the Sanctuary that protects nature, the spirits, and the otherness from the humans. This is because humans allow the idea/element of illusion to enter their hearts. This blinds them (blinds their heart) from living in harmony with the nature around them. This makes war, pollution, and other evils. Also, due to an event that helps save Vijaya, one of the immortals learns that humanity is not as bad as they first believed, and the two sides battle it out for control.
David Jesus Vignolli’s sparse text and illustrations, create a strong presentation. Text is simple but allows you to see the importance that is being told. Yet, it also is just a story about a girl, her Dad and Uncle, and her element/spiritual friends. The illustrations are simplistic lines, but have a completed look, allowing you to know the characters and story arc.
This is not an easy story to read as there are subtleties the younger reader might not see. However, it also can have slow moments, that made me wonder what the point was. While I was unable to locate this information (and would love to know) this book feels like it might have been a translation contributing to the “bumps” I had while reading. Ages 10 and up would be the best audience, but slightly younger could read. But due to the death of Vijaya’s family, the attack on her new father, and some of the images of the fight/battle at the end, a more sensitive reader/listener might not be able to handle it.
Author of the graphic novel, New World which is for the older crowd. If you enjoyed that title, try this, but the differences between the two make for an interesting compare and contrast.