Levine Querido Desert Queen
Levine Querido Desert Queen

Desert Queen

By Jyoti Rajan Gopal


Publication Date: October 3, 2023

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Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3

This is the true story of young Harish Kumar who lost his parents and had to support his little sisters, following his love of and gift for traditional dance to become the beloved Rajasthani drag performer Queen Harish, defying the gender conventions of middle class Indian life and growing up to dance with Bollywood stars, to marry, and to have two children of his own.

This picture book biography in verse follows the life of beloved Rajasthani drag performer Queen Harish, known as the Whirling Desert Queen of Rajasthan. Lit by an inner fire and propelled by a family tragedy, Harish defied the gender conventions of middle class Indian life, battled discrimination and intimidation, and eventually grew up to dance with Bollywood movie stars and on stages across the world.

Jyoti Gopal’s rhythmic phrases evoke the particular sounds and beats of the music Harish danced to, and capture the passions and conflicts of his life. The poignant and inspiring tale is interpreted by internationally acclaimed Rajasthani artist Svabhu Kohli in kohl-black lines and shapes and brilliant jewel-like colors.

About the Author

Jyoti Rajan Gopal is the author of American Desi and My Paati's Saris. Growing up, she lived in Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, India and China. She now lives in New York, in a quirky old Victorian in Yonkers, with her husband, where they raised their two daughters. Her favorite place in the house is the wrap around porch where she loves to gather with family or friends, read, write and drink coffee.

Svabhu Kohli is an visual storyteller. His practice focuses on the intersection of magical realism, conservation and art as a medium to understand our relationship with the universe and its complex life forms. He has illustrated for Google Doodle, The Guardian and GQ. The Desert Queen is his first book for children.

Format: Hardcover

Length: 56 pages

Publisher: Levine Querido

Publication Date: October 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781646142620

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