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Portraits of Exile by Aaniya Asrani

 How does it feel to have to move away from home? How does it feel when the beautiful landscapes of childhood homes become just memories? The issue of exile is real, and it is sad. Being displaced from familiar surroundings and loved ones is something that no one chooses, but it is often forced on entire populations due to political and other disturbances. These portraits of exile now find a voice and expression that brings these concerns to children and adults alike. Three books – Homecoming, Homebound and Homeland talk about the stories of Tibetan refugees living in Bylakuppe, Karnataka.


Homeland is a story of a boy who came to India to become a monk. His idea of home is his mother. He says, “Home for me, is wherever my mother is. Once she passes away I will no longer know where that home is”. Homebound tells the story of a little girl who came from Tibet, and has matured into a young adult, nurturing dreams of writing. Homecoming is the story of an old woman who came to India as a young girl.

Poignant and heart-stirring, these are human stories that need to be told. They strike a chord in your heart, but are not depressing or sad at all. Herein lies the beauty of the words and the illustrations which evoke a happy tone in the three books. The gorgeous illustrations in all the three books, brings the breathtaking scenes of the Tibetan homeland alive on the pages. The exquisite nature of these illustrations truly mark a very high standard! Another helpful feature is that meanings of some of the longer or more challenging words used in the text are given on that page itself.

Who should read the books…

The series is a great started point to understand the life of refugees, and how beauty can be found in other lands as well. Yet, their struggles and pain need a voice, which comes out beautifully. The books are apt for children above 7 years and older kids will also appreciate these. The series is a must-have addition to school libraries as well.



Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.