When Jiya Met Urmila Book Cover, Two Girls, Sitting, Bench
When Jiya Met Urmila is written by Shabnam Minwalla, illustrated by Tanvi Bhat and published by Duckbill. The book is also shortlisted for the Neev Children’s Book Awards, 2019.

Recommended age for self-reading:
Regular 9+, Advanced 7+

An unlikely friendship

When Jiya Met Urmila follows the unlikely friendship of two girls from vastly different backgrounds. Jiya’s father is a banker and she lives in a gated apartment complex. Urmila’s father is a car mechanic and she lives in a small house. Although separated by only a wall, the two girls have never met one another and live completely different lives. Until one fine day, when trouble brings them together. 

When Jiya is caught picking flowers from cranky Mr Jajoo’s garden at school, Urmila comes to her rescue. The two make a plan to save Jiya. Although apprehensive at first, they overcome their differences and come together to escape the wrath of Mr Jajoo, who is the neighbourhood terror. 

When Jiya Met Urmila is part of Duckbill’s immensely popular “hole books” series, and is also the author and illustrator’s third hole book together after Shy Supergirl and Lucky Girl. Among the hole books, Mira the Detective and Timmi in Tangles are on the BICW Award List.

Class Inequality

When Jiya Met Urmila‘s tactful approach highlights socio-economic class inequalities tactfully without making it the central plot. Prejudices that plague the adult world are easily pass on to younger children. Both Urmila and Jiya are initially reluctant to become friends and are quick to judge the other for the way she behaves. We also learn about the differences between the two girls in her descriptions, from the way they dress and speak to the schools they go to and their unique ways of thinking.

Have you read When Jiya Met Urmila yet? What did you think of the book?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

Check out out other reviews of books on the Neev Awards 2019 Shortlist.

Want more children’s books?
Don’t miss the Best of Indian Children’s Writing (BICW) – Contemporary Award List!

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