Aradhana Bisht
Aradhana Bisht
21 GROWING UP STORIES by various authors Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, 2019, 216 pp., 250
November 2019, volume 43, No 11

21 Growing Up Stories is a collection of short stories that tracks the trials and tribulations of young adults, as they navigate a world teeming with uncertainties and new dynamics. Under the radar are a variety of issues, from self-worth to belonging, from bullying to self-preservation, from coping with loss and grief to adapting to change, to the insecurities triggered by peer pressure. The collection is brought out by the AWIC (Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children) that comprises veteran writers, some of whom have been writing stories for children for decades.

Most of the stories are set in an urban landscape, and a couple or so in the village. In ‘The Bully’, and ‘Howzatt!’ the targets of bullying learn the hard way to stand up for themselves, while the bullies seek redemption in humility. ‘Lakeside Adventure’, ‘Bitter Biscuits’ and ‘Kidnapped’ have youngsters showing their presence of mind and energy to escape from potentially life-threatening situations. In ‘Changing Homes’, two city-born siblings adapt reluctantly to change, whereas in ‘Mercury Blue’ and ‘Sam and Floe’, two young girls grapple with self-acceptance. ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ and ‘The Case of the Missing Frogs’ explore how young adults engage with environmental concerns, while ‘Duffer’ shows that the distinction between being a ‘duffer’ and a ‘champ’ is only a matter of perception and prejudice.

Continue reading this review