Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling Reading Group Guide

Ramayana_ An Illustrated Retelling, by Arshia Sattar - 9781632061775.jpg
Ramayana_ An Illustrated Retelling, by Arshia Sattar - 9781632061775.jpg

Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling Reading Group Guide




Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers

One of the world’s oldest and best-loved tales, now retold and illustrated in thrilling detail for readers of all ages.

Book Details

Hardcover List Price: $22.99 • ISBN: 9781632061775 • Publication: 5/8/18 • 7.125" x 7.125" • 192 pages • Young Adult Fiction—Classics / Hindu Epics • Ages: 10 and up • Territory: World English excluding India • eBook ISBN: 9781632061782

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Rama pulled the splendid arrow out of his quiver. It had been given to him long ago by the sage Agastya who had told him that he could use it only once and only for a great enemy. The incomparable arrow held the wind in its feathers, the sun and the moon in its shining tip, the earth in its shaft and the power of the doomsday fire in its flight.  

Ramayana—an unforgettable tale of love, adventure, flying monkeys and god acting in the world of humans—has been treasured by readers around the world for thousands of years. Now in an authoritative, gripping retelling by the renowned Ramayana scholar Arshia Sattar, readers have a new chance to explore this classic’s riches.

Rama is a brave young prince who is forced into exile. His brother Lakshmana and his wife, the beautiful princess Sita, loyally follow him into the depths of the mysterious forest, where they encounter strange and dangerous creatures. None is as terrifying as Ravana, the ten-headed demon king who kidnaps Sita and takes her to a fortified city in the middle of the ocean. To rescue her, Rama enlists the help of hundreds of thousands of magical monkeys and bears to fight the demon army and win her back. Even the gods gather to witness the harrowing battle. Will Rama and his friends prevail, and will Sita return to him? Only these captivating pages will tell….


"A classical Indian literature scholar offers a brief and engaging version of the ancient and beloved epic Hindu poem Ramayana. Based on oral tradition, the book narrates with poetic language the journey of the divine Rama as he rescues his beloved wife, Sita, after she was abducted by the evil, 10-headed demon king Ravana…. The author does an impressive job of portraying Lord Rama, a revered Hindu god, as a well-rounded figure with all the doubts, faults, and fallibility of a mortal, as when he tests Sita’s loyalty and chastity on three different occasions…. Vibrant, detailed, and mystical illustrations showing ferocious rakshasas (demons) and graceful heroes enhance the text.... The fluid and evocative prose and nonstop action are sure to draw in those who already know and love this classic as well as providing an accessible introduction to readers unfamiliar with the story. Striking illustrations and a compelling narrative bring an important Indian tale of good and evil to young readers.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The crisp narrative, complemented by Sonali Zohra’s vivid images, relates the timeless story of Rama’s exile and triumphant return. Sattar, who has a Ph.D. in classical Indian literatures from the University of Chicago, reminds readers that while dharma (duty) tells us what we should do, it is karma (action) that determines what happens to us…. Recommended for ages 10 and up, the hardback is affordably priced.”

—Murali Kamma, Khabar

“An unforgettable tale of love [and] adventure…. in an authoritative, gripping retelling.”

—Darshana Khiani, Flowering Minds   

“The original Ramayana is attributed to an ancient Indian poet, Valmiki, and it has been legendary, and this new translation also adds to its mystique. Sattar goes deeply and beautifully into the vulnerabilities of an uptight character. The easy language makes for a very smooth read and her narrative is magical. The characters come alive both in the readers’ imagination and on the pages with Zohra’s wonderful drawings. We get the true spirit of a storyteller who knows the story.”

Reviews by Amos Lassen

“Somehow in this modern English translation of Valmiki’s text the story reads beautifully without any glitches, without any of those annoyingly forced attempts at putting down a living text in words. Instead what comes through is the incredible manner in which Arshia Sattar to retell these age-old stories but in the true spirit of a storyteller who is herself in sync with the stories. She has made it her own and made it available to a new generation of readers.... Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling has been beautifully illustrated with double-page spreads by Sonali Zohra. There is something grungy-funky with the almost wood-cut like impressions that are very appealing.  The illustrations complement the text well too.... A magnificent gift for children — to read, to treasure.”

—Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, Confessions of an Avid Bibliophile

“Arshia Sattar’s retelling of the Ramayana is a rare triumph…. a beautifully written book based on the Indian epic Ramayana which was originally written by Valmiki. Though it has been rewritten many times over the years, Arshia Sattar’s retelling of the tale is refreshing, stimulating and completely faithful to Valmiki’s script at the same time. The presentation of Rama as a human being is truly inspiring. Arshia Sattar’s credentials are impeccable. An award-winning author, an academic, a translator…. the best part is the way Arshia Sattar has presented the story with her magical words.... The illustrations in this book are used outstandingly well. They assist you in imagining the unimaginable with a dazzling crystallisation of characters and events…. Arshia Sattar is an accomplished author who builds her characters from inside out. She is less interested in describing the physical aspects of her characters and more in giving us a glance into their flickering selves within. Strong characterisation is one of the reasons that a reader will develop a close attachment to those in this book…. She takes you on a journey across hills and mountains and rivers and oceans to a land where the characters come to life and you begin to live with them. She has the ability to make everyone sound so true and alive that you begin to feel their happiness and pain, their joy and sorrow, and their disappointment, anger and despair. It is a journey that you live only to want to experience it again. And though the ending is not happy, not in the clichéd sense at least, it will leave the reader wanting more.”

—Ravi Subramanian, Open Magazine