What if there was a magical book which could make you awesome at anything? Well, this book won’t instantly make you awesome at something, but it will give you the right mindset to do so. The author, Matthew Syed, says that he followed these very tips (that are mentioned in the book) to becoming a two-time Olympian at table tennis and also a bestselling author.
One of the most enduring quotes in popular science is Carl Sagan’s ‘We are made of starstuff.’ It’s a beautiful sentence, highlighting the sheer sense of wonder contemplating the cosmos engenders. But the point Sagan was making was also a very scientific one: that every single element in all life on earth (or anywhere else, for that matter) originally came from the heart of a star.
I immediately warmed to these two volumes for three reasons. Firstly, the nice get-up—attractive red and yellow covers dotted with what at first glance seemed like emojis. On a closer look they turned out to be tiny portraits, objects and monuments and a very catholic choice also—a kullar of tea, a Harappan seal, a cell phone, a veena, a temple bell…
This story is about fifteen-year-old Rohan (Bozo) and sixteen-year-old Nita (Chick), who love fun and adventure and are patriotic to the core. Along with another friend, Aslam, they live in Dubash Mansions, known as Bedlam House. The owner of the building is Dr. Dubash, a child specialist and his wife Mridula who is a dog trainer and runs an NGO.
Harappa and its sequel Pralay are the renowned entrepreneur Vineet Bajpai’s first works of fiction. The novels explore a new take on the unexplained and mysterious end of the Harappan civilization and draw from Hindu mythology and history at several instances.
In an idealistic world, there might come a day when geographical borders are reduced to lines on a map. But would the borders we learn to draw around ourselves ever be erased? Would identities be separated from occupation and ethnicity to disable differences in privilege?
‘For Karma is a mathematical law, What’s next depends on what’s done before’—is the premise of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. The ethical conundrums of right-wrong or good-evil fall under a larger spiritual understanding and acceptance of one’s duty.
‘Our greatest weapon is here. The mind. The flesh is weak; . . . But with the power of the mind, one can subjugate other people . . . Empires are built not only with brute force, though that is essential but with brute will.’ These are the poignant words uttered by Mahaamatya Kartikeya to the seven-year old Vishnu Gupta.
This is part of the Golden Set published by the Children’s Book Trust. A collection of four tales, it highlights four different chapters not often spoken about in detail in history books. Of three queens and a brave lad, separated by centuries, these tales are told in a way that children can learn history through stories.
Dystopian fiction begins quite simply with restrictions. A character is not allowed to do something because that would mean defying society, family and the law. Even though Arushi Raina’s When Morning Comes is based on the reality of life in apartheid-era South Africa, it has all the trappings of a good young adult dystopian novel.
Ruskin Bond is one of India’s favourite writers. He has been writing for over five decades, and his repertoire is impressive—poetry to non-fiction, he seems to have written it all. What makes Bond loved and admired is his simple narrative style which draws you in and takes you on a walk along with him past streams, mountains and the odd city road. There’s so much to see and admire, beauty even in the smallest wayside weed.
Both the stories are set in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh. Balamma is a spirited 12-year-old girl. She reaches her peanut farm at the crack of dawn before any one is up and waters her peanut crop. When the neighbouring field of the landlord Tirumalla Rao gets less water, the annoyed landlord decides to teach Balamma a lesson.
Young children play in the most unstructured manner. A child holding a ladle may decide she is holding a mike and singing a song. Moments later, the ladle becomes an umbrella, or a bus, or a spoon to stir her mother’s coffee. A game of swordsmanship may transform into one playing with fallen flowers and seeds, or a classroom game.
The genre of young adult literature is hard to define. It is one that is identified by its liminality (to borrow a term from postcolonial theory), by its existence as an in-between segment of storytelling—neither too innocent, nor too indecent.
Between twelve and twenty is a rather varied stretch, with changes occurring to the body and mind at every turn of the way. It encompasses several stages—early teens, adolescence and legal adulthood. Is it possible to address all their problems in one volume?
For the longest time there has been an invisible line, an unwritten rule that prevents writing meant for young readers from straying too far into the unknown and by extension, the ‘unsuitable’. The Other: Stories of Difference by Paro Anand is a collection of short narratives…
In Bangla literature there is a wonderful tradition—writers are never put into slots. No one is stamped as a ‘children’s writer’, ‘writer of humour’ or even a poet. You go wherever your imagination takes you. As a matter of fact, writers take pride in spanning many genres and that has brought the greatest gifts to children.