Yashodhara Lal

It is a cute little book that brings back memories of how one’s brain worked overtime during long summer vacations. Young readers will identify with a little girl called Peanut who wants to come up with a foolproof idea to make some money in the holidays.

Reviewed by: Neera Jain
Neha Singh and Mukesh Chhabra

Moongphali is a refreshing set of stories with Indian settings that will help Indian children relate to the stories easily. Each story will give you a takeaway thought and a fun craft idea to keep little hands busy.

Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
V. Madhavan Nair ‘Mali’. Translated by Parvathy Ram Kumar. Cover illustrated by Mistunee Chowdhury

I had missed something in my childhood and that is reading this deeply delightful book. It made delightful reading even at this stage of senior citizenship and revealed depths of understanding of animal and human nature.

Reviewed by: Dipavali Sen
Sandesh Karyalaya, Sharadiya Sankhya, Triteeyo Parjay

The well-known Bengali periodical Sandesh, instituted in 1913 by Upendrakishore Ray, was meant for ‘mature children’ and was subsequently edited by his son Sukumar Ray and then by his grandson Satyajit Ray, the eminent film maker.

Reviewed by: Bhupati Chakrabarti
Ranjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujan

Ranjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujan’s book Bookworms And Jelly Bellies brings a refreshing change of pace to how we think, cook and consume our food. Aimed at children and parents who’d like to try a more ‘playful’ and creative approach to cuisine, it comes at a time when the Indian culinary world is being buffeted by the emergence of a modern Indian ‘food culture’—with competitive cooking television shows and trendy dietary fads overwhelming the simple pleasures of actually eating food and being happier for it.

Reviewed by: Nitya Datta

I have liked most of the CBT books I have read. I have read them to my children, gifted them to other children. But this book needs to be kept away from children. This is a compilation of prize-winning entries for 9–12 age received in the category of ‘Heritage and Culture’. However, there are several criticisms that may be levied against the book.

Reviewed by:
Paro Anand

Over generations, teenage angst has been one of the toughest issues to deal with. Perhaps the use of the phrase itself might be a dangerous dismissal, obscuring serious matters. Childhood ends, removing the protective covers from a murkier reality, leaving youngsters to cope with issues that they are yet unable to fully comprehend.

Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta
Deepa Agarwal

The back cover of Best Stories describes the book as a ‘collection of timeless pieces from the world’s greatest storytellers—Oscar Wilde, O’ Henry, Saki, H.G. Wells, Conan Doyle, Washington Irving and many more.’
In this modern-day world of multi-novel fiction and fantasy such as A Song of Ice and Fire (or The Game of Thrones to those of the more visual persuasion) and Harry Potter, the literary merits of the short story sometimes get overlooked. It is always easier to mentally engage with a vast story, where a fleshed-out universe is created by the author. The reader in turn can commit to a fairly complex relationship, often involving multiple characters who will see growth and change. Even the standalone full-length novel tends to have the space and time for a reader to invest in the plot and characters, and see them mature. The short story is different. It can convey significant complexity, often having elaborate philosophical or moral points to make, or being open to a multitude of interpretations. But the investment in reading the story itself is minimal. The short story might have a cast of relatively unidimensional characters, or very few characters with limited backgrounds being provided. Like Japanese Muromachi period art, the short story conveys a deep and intense picture but keeps its brushstrokes minimal and quick.

Reviewed by: T.C.A. Achintya
Saman Shamsie. Illustrated by Shirley Chiang

The magical woods comprises two separate yet intertwined fantasy stories of 2 children who have lost hope, and enter a forest.

When Hina lost her father, she lost her mother, house and her way of life.

Reviewed by: Tarika Chari
Neera Jain. Illustrated by Saurabh Pandey

Saumya’s Doll is a story about how Saumya gets her dream doll which her friend Meenu owns. This book is available both in Hindi and English.
Why I liked this book?
I liked this book as it also indirectly shows you that saving trees is important and teaches you poems and saying

Reviewed by: Kriti Kidambi
Namita Ranganathan and Toolika Wadhwa

The concerns of parents, teachers, and psychologists for children in schools has heightened in recent times because of various issues associated with violence, safety, sexuality, substance abuse, and career guidance, because of which the need to have competent mental health professionals to plan, organize, and conduct well-thought out mental health programmes in schools, is being felt more than ever before.

Reviewed by: Anshu Chaudhary & Vikas Baniwal
Andre Marx and Boris Pfeiffer

Hamlet the young wolf at the city Zoo has adapted to the routine life, being fed by the zoo keeper Knut, the crowds of visitors and the open skies covering his cage. His only joy is his best friend and mountain of fur—Barnabas the gorilla.

Reviewed by: Smriti Gupta
Nita Ganguly

As you flip open the colourful book, Hello Earth…Here We Come, a sentence on the inner cover page grips your attention. It says, ‘The moral right of the author has been asserted!’ Intrigued you move on and get introduced to two alien beings,

Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
Bijal Vachharajani

When the world leaders gathered in Paris on Nov 30, 2015 for the annual United Nations Climate Change conference, it was hailed as an historic event. The aim was to build global consensus to address climate change, especially due to the heightened risk of global warming.

Reviewed by: Bharat Kidambi
Archit Taneja

I have always been a fan of children’s books and movies, especially now, as an adult and as a mother to a toddler. Somewhere while growing up we lose the imagination that took us to places as a child; and it is a very sad loss. There are, however, children’s books that are largely didactic and too high on morals; I try to steer clear of those.

Reviewed by: Madhurima Kohli
Cressida Cowell

What would be the most ‘fascintresting’ way to introduce a ‘tremunglous-istly’ lovely story about Wizards, Warriors, and Witches? Would it be enough to mention the weirdly wonderful verbal concoctions some of the characters speak in?

Reviewed by: T.C.A. Sharad Raghavan
Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Would you like your little girls to turn out into confident women who can be themselves in a misogynistic world? Then this book is for you. Would you like your little boys to turn into caring men who respect women and their freedoms in a world of toxic masculinity? Would you like your child to achieve irrespective of gendered expectations?

Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta
Nishant Kaushik

Simple yet evocative is the cover, and so is the book within. Novelist Nishant Kaushik, with several popular titles to his credit, lives in Australia with his wife and son. In his Acknowledgement he has thanked them as well his parents.

Reviewed by: Depavali Sen
Paro Anand

2 is an extraordinary 2-in-one graphic novel, written mainly over the internet across 3 continents—between the two co-authors Paro Anand (Delhi) and Orjan Persson (Gotland, Sweden) who wrote in Swedish, and translator Nina Winternheimer (Los Angeles, USA), his daughter.

Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Premola Ghose

Bula Comes to Montreal was created as it celebrates the 375th anniversary of the city of Montreal founded on 17 May 2017. Kala Bharati, a nongovernmental organization is a centre for Indian culture, dance and music in Montreal. This child friendly Bharata Natyam repertoire has a book on learning dance called Shishu Sadhana, the cover of which was designed by Premola Ghose.

Reviewed by: Kamala Menon
Vasantha Surya

Vasantha Surya’s Mridu in Madras is an illustrated chapter book that is delightfully entrenched in Tamil culture and society. However, the book is not set in contemporary times and harks back to an era where large joint families were the norm, cycle rickshaws were common, and the price of commodities was way lower than what it is now.

Reviewed by: Sowmya Rajendran
Rana Behal

Juggernaut Books could not have published Tales from the Quran and Hadith at a better time. India in 2016–17 is perpetually grappling with misconceptions about Islam. From ill-informed journalists to self-proclaimed defenders of the faith, it is an open season which has left the ordinary citizens of the country confused, and in some cases angry.

Reviewed by: Saba Mahmood Bashir
Bhakti Mathur

Amma, Take Me to the Golden Temple by Bhakti Mathur is aninnovative way of teaching and imparting knowledge by re-flecting on various tenets of one of the youngest and modern religions of the world with more than 30 million followers.

Reviewed by: Dalbir Singh
Subhadra Sen Gupta

Three major deities of Puranic Hinduism, three tales about each of them. Well, not exactly. Three tales each about Vishnu and Shiva, but the collection titled Devi has a story each on Parvati, Durga, and Saraswati. These are tales that have been told and retold over countless generations, and Subhadra Sen Gupta, skilled storyteller that she is, recreates the old magic in language that the internet generation can quickly relate to.

Reviewed by: Bharati Jagannathan
Roshen Dalal

I began reading this book expecting the usual compilation of events and dates. But the book offers a range—biographies, sports, the arts (especially classical music) and information on governments and political events. What emerges is a compendium that is much more fun to read than a bland chronological account of post-Independent India.

Reviewed by: Partho Datta