This is a delightful book about Tari, a young Balinese girl who lives in a mountain village. It's a wonderful introduction for kids to Bali's unique and vibrant culture. Many aspects of Balinese daily life and traditions are cleverly woven into this charming story. It's one of our favourite bedtime stories, and after reading it we often talk about our Bali holidays. I guess thats part of the magic of this gorgeous tale!
Whats it about?
The book is about a little girl called Tari who lives in a mountain village in Bali with her family. The story begins by sharing the legend about how Bali was created by a giant wandering turtle. We then follow Tari throughout her day from waking up and bidding farewell to her family, placing an offering at the family shrine, heading to school and then to her favourite dance class.
Illustrations by Garetta Lamore
Tari has a special relationship with her grandmother who gives her a beautiful headdress that the king of Bali gave to her when she danced in Paris when she was younger. In the story Tari's grandmother passes away. I was a little unsure about how my boys would react to this part of the book when we read if for the first time. Its something I guess that we perhaps don't talk about very much in Australia with kids. But it's written in a such a sensitive way that emphasises the importance of family and special Balinese rituals and ceremony surrounding cremation.
Illustrations by Garetta Lamore
The story finishes with Sari being chosen to be the lead dancer at the special village Legong performance where she wears the headdress her grandmother gave her. Remembering her grandmother Tari dances a perfect performance of the Legong that her grandmother had also performed masterfully when she was very young.
What I love about it
The book is engaging and is well written and the gorgeous illustrations capture the essence of the book really well. The story has lots of interesting information on Bali for kids which I love - yet it tells a really wonderful story as well. Kids are introduced to traditional customs, the seasons and the rice harvest process, traditional dance, cremation ceremonies and village life in a easy to read format with lovely matching illustrations.
Photo Credit: Balinese Dancers (left) - The Shopping Sherpa, Flickr Creative Commons 2007
I think this book would suit kids of a variety of ages but is perhaps best for 5-10 year olds. It takes about 10 minutes or so to read so you can read it all with the kids or over a few evenings.
About the Author and Illustrator
Author Pamela Noensie is a writer, teacher and scholar in the fields of psychology and communications. She lived in Indonesia for 16 years, raising her family here. The illustrations are by Garretta Lamore an artist and illustrator who is a mother of 5 and has lived all over the world including Indonesia for 7 years.
Photo Credit: Adam Cohn, Flickr Creative Commons
Where to get it
The book can be bought from Ganesha Bookshop in Bali, Ubud and online from various bookshops.
Dance Classes for kids
There are lots of places in Bali where kids can learn the art of Balinese dance - just ask wherever you are staying. A place that I can recommend is the Pondok Library in Ubud.
Take a look at this beautiful little clip!