Sowmya Rajendran
HOW DID THE HARAPPANS SAY HELLO? AND 16 OTHER MYSTERIES OF HISTORY by Anu Kumar Red Turtle, Rupa, Delhi, 2014, 150 pp., 150
November 2014, volume 38, No 11

History is not a hot favourite with students. Most look upon it as a monstrous subject that is not just voluminous but also irrelevant. Why bother memorizing names of people long dead and their complicated, boring histories? But history can become interesting if you pick up the right book. There have been new fiction and nonfiction books brought out by different publishers that have history as their subject. From picture books to chapter books, the variety is heartening to see.

Anu Kumar’s How Did the Harappans Say Hello? is the latest addition to the list. Written for children who are aged 10 and above, the book is divided into seventeen chapters, each dealing with a historical event or personality about which/whom little is known. All of it has to do with the history of the Indian subcontinent. The layout makes for easy reading—there are no long passages and convoluted sentences that are so typical of history textbooks. Instead, you have short and to-the-point paragraphs under catchy and often funny headlines that are sure to grab the attention of young readers. There are also textboxes throughout the book that further offer relief from the monotony of long narratives and throw light on terms used in the main text or offer more information on a fact mentioned. The black and white illustrations by Kavita Singh Kale complement the text and help the reader visualize battle scenes, historical figures, and dramatic moments ably

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