Six-year-old Asiya loves to go to Nanu's house. Best among all of Nanu's treasures is the big old chest filled with quilts that tell the stories of the women in Asyia's family.
With gorgeous, fresh and beautifully colourful illustrations inspired by Bangladeshi katha quilts and traditional West Bengali pattachitra panel illustrations, The Katha Chest is a beautifully woven tale about the bonds of love, culture and memory.
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In Bangladesh, where the author's mother grew up, Kathas are quilts of old saris that are used in every household. It takes special skills to make a katha. They narrate their own stories. In The Katha Chest, Asiya loves going through the kathas in Nanu's house. Each katha tells a story of Boro Khala or Mejo Khala, of members of Nanu's family, people from their family's past, of women who were teachers, painters, and fighters who fought for Bangladesh's liberation or lived in the village. In this book, each story is imagined as pictures without words, each story illustrated using traditional Bengali Pattachitra panels, with the layers of cotton saris making up the katha inspired by the quilts from Bangladesh. The illustrations, their explosion of colour and intricate details, the emotion in each frame and the stories they tell truly move the reader. My daughter fell in love with Radhiah's words and how she conjured images in my daughter's mind, making her imagine stories of Asiya's family, their past, moments in time and history that truly move and fascinate us.
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