Sreedevi Kolady reviews our book 'Freedom Run' (written by Subhadra Sen Gupta, illustrated by Tapas Guha) on her blog :
Freedom Run is the story of three young children who have been forced into child labour to pay off the debts incurred by adults in their families. They spend their days weaving carpets for their barbarous malik, never daring to hope for a better life. They are frequently beaten up till they bleed, and many of them receive no pay for the hours of backbreaking work they do.
But despite the horrors portrayed in this book, Freedom Run is at its heart a tale of hope and courage. How the children contrive to escape from the brutal malik forms the crux of the plot. And the ending is all the more powerful for the horrors shown earlier.
It is intended for older children who can understand the many layers of the plot,and appreciate how beautifully the images play up the powerful text. I grabbed Freedom Run because I have never yet come across another comic for children that is as gritty and hard hitting as this.
The story holds you in a tight grip from beginning to end, despairing for the children and rooting for them in the end. I found it noteworthy that the book begins with the senior children imitating the harsh ways of their malik, but the intrinsic goodness of children finally takes over. While the language is taut, it is the evocative images by Tapas Guha that add layers of complexity to this slim volume. The warp of the wool that mirrors the bars on the window, the way adults often seem to tower over the children, the palpable joy on a child's face as his brother comes looking for him.... all these and more add subtle nuances that make this story so thrilling.
This is no candy fluff story. But it is the reality of hundreds of children around the country, and it is an important story that needs to be told.
Read the entire post here.