If changing one’s attitudes and habits is difficult, trying to change someone else’s is that much more difficult. So, when one wants to plant an idea in someone’s head and ensure it stays there long enough to take root, it needs strategy. What better strategy than a story? It’s fun to read or tell, easy to remember, and often yields better results more effectively than serious lessons and lectures. And of course, children’s stories are the best, because these tiny nuggets are short and sweet.
Therefore, I happily reached out for the four pairs of little tales from CBT. Each story has an English and Hindi version. Buying both versions can ease the task of teaching children to be bilingual. The short texts and bright colourful pictures would increase the young child’s vocabulary effortlessly.
The Homeless Sparrows by Neera Jain, beautifully illustrated by R Ashish Bagchi, is particularly lovely, because without preaching, it brings home to the reader—child or adult—the horrors we are creating in the name of urban ‘development’—cutting down trees and hedges, building concrete forests, cultivating parks full of pesticides. It can help the child understand the plight of creatures in our cities, increasingly harassed by the hostile environments we delight in making. The city girl has never seen sparrows. One hopes there is indeed a happy ending—that these brave birds will be able to thrive again, aided by children who know better and will allow them to coexist with us.