Age Range: 5 to 8
Following My Paint Brush is a fascinating account of how an Indian artist, Dulari Devi, learnt to paint. Her story is accompanied by her wonderful illustrations and it has given us an insight into life in a different culture.
The Story: Dulari comes from a very poor family, the family is so poor that Dulari can’t go to school and has to work with her mother. One day a grown up Dulari goes with her mother to clean an artist’s house. Next day she shows the artist a mud sculpture that she has made and asks the artist if she can also learn to paint. Dulari practises, she learns how to paint, how to use colour and how to hold a paintbrush. She paints her memories and scenes from her village then one day she meets a book maker who publishes her story.
Following My Paint Brush has given us a fascinating insight into a different culture and has stimulated a variety of discussions about differences in lifestyle. It has also introduced my daughter to the concept of poverty and the fact that some people don’t have enough to eat. Dulari Devi’s story is truly inspirational and, despite the hardships that she has faced, it is proof that hard work and determination can help dreams to come true. My daughter asks lots of questions about Dulari as a young girl, particularly about why she can’t go to school, but the concept of being so poor is still difficult for her to understand. I am completely inspired by this story of a lady who starts out with so little but follows her dreams and enjoys what she does.
The illustrations are bold and colourful (the art style is called Mithila). The pictures include lots of birds and fish (Dulari’s father was a fisherman) and have instigated lots of discussion. The text is simple to read, Dulari tells her story in her own words, and I love the modesty in her final sentence “I have made a book.”.
This would be a great book to use as part of an art topic in the classroom to introduce children to Militha art, it has a very distinctive style.
We are fascinated by the beautiful illustrations in this story but it also introduces the concepts of hard work, following your dreams and the need to practise something in order to improve it.
Author: Gita Wolf / Illustrator: Dulari Devi
Thank you to Tara Books for sending us a copy of Following My Paint Brush. We weren’t asked to review the book but we are fascinated by the story and it has given us interesting insights into life in another culture.