Stories on the Sand by Sandhya Rao, illustrated by Srividya Natarajan
“Irfan had a story inside his head,” the around-the-world adventure begins. “He wrote it on soft white sand so he would remember. A silent wave came and carried the story into the sea” – on the outstretched wings of a mythical golden bird. On another shore of “gleaming black sand,” Shaan writes his story of a warrior goddess on her trusty steed, using a long stick that reaches from his wheelchair, aided by his helpful, playful puppy.
Thanh’s “fine yellow sand” is a love story unfolding, while Suzanne creates a Lilliputian tale in “grainy red sand.” From Wang’s “sand like pebbles” emerge glorious dragons, while Sumana’s “sticky black clay” reveals gentle tales of Buddha. Each of the stories are carried into the sea by beckoning waves, creating a vast, secret garden below. Along comes a curious clown fish who releases one story, which invites all the other fish to shake loose another, and another, until the ever-moving waves carry the traveling tales onto distant shores around the world for children to share and enjoy over and over again.
Award-winning writer Sandhya Rao, a former editor for the multilingual Indian publisher Tulika, repeats similar phrases to replicate the gentle rhythms of waves. Artist Srividya Natarajan then transforms Rao’s text into splendid incarnations of inspired creativity. By changing just the sand color – via words and illustrations both – writer and illustrator together are able to imbue each spread with hints as to where that coastline might be found … from India to Indonesia, Australia to Ireland, and beyond.
The power of storytelling emanates from every page, linking readers throughout the world. As long as children continue to play and dream, their imaginations will tumble and change, multiply and grow, reach out and connect – “Wave after wave. Story after story. From shore to shore.”