A new children’s book is being launched in Huddersfield during South Asian Heritage Month telling the story of a young Sikh boy’s eventful childhood after being caught up in the partition of India to his epic travel to Huddersfield as a young man.
Aimed at children aged six to eight years old, ‘The Boy Who Lost His Home But Carried Light’ is by Huddersfield author and illustrator Mandeep Kaur Samra.
The book is based on the true story of her father’s experience of growing up in India then embarking on the long journey to the north of England.
Exploring themes of loss, displacement, hope and arrival, this book is recommended reading for children and adults alike.
The launch will take place on Saturday August 5 at 2pm at the Sangam Festival stand, followed by a storytelling session with the author.
Sangam Festival is Yorkshire’s leading festival celebrating South Asian Heritage Month, which takes place annually from July 18 to August 17.
The story is told through the eyes of young Kulbir, who lives in a small village in West Panjab, India. On August 15 1947, as India achieves independence, the vanquished British Raj divide the country in two.
Kulbir and his family, as well as millions of others, are suddenly and without warning forced to flee their home. A terrible period of violence erupts throughout the country.
As a child Kulbir experiences what it is like to lose everything, and to rebuild a life in a new place. After making the momentous decision to migrate to England in 1963, he must once again learn how to make a home in a new and unfamiliar environment.
Mandeep said: “The partition had a huge impact on many South Asian migrants who eventually settled in the UK in the 1950s and 60s in search of a better life, taking up employment in textile mills and foundries in expanding cities and towns like Huddersfield.
“This heartfelt story is about adapting to change and finding comfort in things that remind you of home no matter where you are in the world.”
Mandeep has previously led many heritage arts projects including TOWNSOUNDS and THE WHITE LINE but this is the first time she has put together a book for children.
Developed by arts organisation Let’s Go Yorkshire, the book forms part of ARRIVAL, an arts project commemorating the 1947 British India Partition.
To find out more about the project visit https://thewhitelineproject.wordpress.com/. The book also supports the national #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, aimed at promoting greater cultural diversity amongst children’s literature.
Full details of Sangam Festival’s programme can be found at https://sangamfestival.co.uk