‘Give me a piece of paper, any paper and a pen and I shall write as naturally as a bird flies or a fish swims.’ These passionate words were uttered by Vijay Tendulkar, one of the greatest Marathi playwrights, who earned equal accolades in India and abroad.
Published by Tulika, the Thumb Thumb Books series uses everyday contexts and everyday vocabulary to lend confidence to a child beginning to read. These beginner readers are a set of ten colorful books meant to capture the imagination of four year olds (and up), and satisfy their urge to be able to read. The series is created with thumbprint characters.
The first dilemma which confronts the reviewer of any of the multiple retellings of India’s two great epics is the choice of an appropriate yardstick for assessing the book. It would obviously be unfair—indeed, faintly ridiculous—to compare it with the original.
It has been a while since I read a book meant for children and I almost never believe blurbs. So I confess that when Nirmala Sridhar’s book titled The Mysterious Tsunamis promised that it was a ‘geo-thriller’ I was full of suspicion.
The latest in Tulika’s picture book series in multiple languages is Ju’s Story, well-known Malayalam novelist and columnist Paul Zacharia’s warm tale that captures the hidden riches that gild the life of a schoolgirl in an undescribed corner in Kerala.
The eight short stories collated in this book have been culled from Kipling’s two Jungle Books, arguably the best loved stories children read in my generation. Others like the Just So Stories and Kim were also avidly read, but the Jungle Books and Mowgli stories had a special fascination.
When editors start sending one pre-teen books for review, it’s a sign that second childhood is imminent. The Indian Express did it to me not long ago, and now it’s The Book Review’s turn!
Historical fiction usually makes history more interesting and leads the reader into the social fabric of that period. The reader can visualize through the descriptive passages how history unfolds and highlights the prosperity and intrigues of a kingdom and its rulers. To this extent Devika has vividly described the events leading to the coronation and reign of the young king HarshaVardhana of the kingdom of Thanesar and Kanauj.
Amazing India: A State-by-State Guide is a treat both in terms of visuals and content in that Anita Vachharajani’s crisp text is amply supported by Amit Vachharajani’s delightful illustrations.
Travellers’ tales are a marvellous way to peep into the past and Anu Kumar has written an accessible and very readable book about journeys to India through the ages.
An autobiographical account of the childhood and growing-up of Chandralekha Mehta, the daughter of Vijaylakshmi Pandit and the niece of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the book, as the author prefaces ‘is an account of times long over, seen through the eyes of a young girl’.
This slim book has been brought out by NBT under its Nehru Bal Pustakalaya series and is a useful addition to literature for the young. Though it is not for the first time that a subject like this has been taken up by a publishing house, it is significant and different from others in its treatment of the subject.
Eklavya Publications has, with support from Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai, brought a decade old classic to Indian readers. Michael Apple and James Beane’s book was received with great enthusiasm when it first appeared in the mid-1990s.
It is quite likely that you have met someone like Kirpa, the protagonist of Ganga Jamuna Beech (Between the Ganga and the Jamuna). A woman whose speech carries the distinctive flavour of the village she grew up in but whose long sojourn in the city has contributed an idiom that makes it even more expressive.
A Place Within: Rediscovering India is a detailed personal account by M.G. Vassanji of a series of visits he made to India, between 1993 and 2007. Born in Tanzania, and now a resident of Canada, M.G. Vassanji received international recognition with the publication of his first novel The Gunny Sack in 1989.
In her preface to The Fatal Garland (1915), the English translation of Phulermala, Swarnakumari Debi Ghoshal declares: ‘it is of the greatest importance that Europe—and more especially England—should understand India. And this understanding can, I think only be brought about by a study of our literature’.
That India’s health service system poses critical health management challenges and demands bold initiatives is no exaggeration. The title is sure to be an invitation for public health scholars and health management professionals.
Teresita Schaffer, long one of the foremost India watchers in the United States, and one with a distinguished diplomatic career—including much involvement in South Asia—behind her, displays impeccable timing in publishing this volume as the dust (largely) settles on the protracted negotiations surrounding the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement, which finally came to fruition in 2008.
In 2002, the Oxford University Press, New Delhi, published an anthology of papers written by D.D. Kosambi. Consisting of over fifty articles, written over more than two decades, these were scattered across several journals and magazines, published from cities and countries across the globe.
The stories of Indian myths, meditation, philosophy and poetry had gained access to the western world long before Sir William Jones imported in the eighteenth century the ancient Indian legal and literary traditions to Europe in the form of an academic exercise; and, for various reasons,