Jemma Jose

Which child doesn’t love to play? One of the first memories that came to my mind on seeing the title was about my childhood where I used to play hide-and-seek with my siblings. Games are one of the best mediums to connect with children.


Reviewed by: Lovis Simon
Arefa Tehsin

Inspired by a true-life encounter of Raza H Tehsin, this book is a fun read. The entire book is like a window through which you are watching one day from the lives of Amra and Veerma, two young boys, with their usual mischiefs, worries and innocence.


Reviewed by: Sajitha Nair
Yashodhara Lal

Peanut goes for piano classes and while she is happy enough when she begins them, she finds them a drudgery now. Her resentment against piano practice and being made to take piano exams make her hatch a plan to put an end to it all.


Reviewed by: Vinatha Viswanathan
Richa Jha

Thav Thav Ghooma is a special book which can be opened up to be a running poster with a continuous drawing of a village, its pond and fields. The story is simple and describes the fields and homes. The book is ideal for the six year old where teachers can read it aloud and the children can repeat as they like. A lovely book for tell and speak activities.


Reviewed by: Kamala Menon
Megha Aggarwal

A book with an interesting cover! This was the first thought I had, soon as I held the book. It seemed kind of like a bioscope, introducing us to all the characters. Children with wide smiles, lying on the ground, looking at the sky. The vibrant green and yellow background adds to the happiness.


Reviewed by: A HOME OF OUR OWN
Samina Mishra

It is natural that the children develop a connection with animals around them. Some of the studies have even said that the kids actually love animals more than toys. In the process of emotional development of children, animals play a vital role.


Reviewed by: Shivnarayan Gour
Maheen Mirza

The book, which is also available in Hindi, primarily targets those who are beginning to read. As the name suggests, the conflict in this story revolves around a group of friends looking for their lost friend, Payal. The nature of the plot/conflict of this story makes it an ideal read for the target audiences.


Reviewed by: Sudhir Chowdhry
Rajiv Eipe

This book takes me back to my children’s literature classroom; 15 enthusiastic and excited faces, happily reading out the story from story weaver’s website on the big screen, trying to notice the literary nuances, simultaneously getting formally introduced to the components of children’s books.


Reviewed by: Ruchi Shevade
Harshika Udasi

The book under review has an interesting publishing trajectory. Originally published by Duckbill Books in English titled Kittu’s Terrible Horrible Very Mad Day, the background to this tale is supplied by yet another tale: of a silent revolution taking place in the Panna National Tiger Reserve in Janwar Kaisal, India’s first rural skating park.


Reviewed by: Chandra Chari
Salai Selvam

A collection of eight stories narrated by a daughter as woven by her mother(amma) during their relaxed casual conversations. The stories are from amma’s own childhood. The imagery built by the stories in the Indian set up seems closer to home. This genre of stories may work well with grade school children who love to listen to real stories from the lives of adults…


Reviewed by: P Shubhangi
Vinayan Bhaskaran

As parents we want the best for our children and as the role entails, we guide them along the initial stages of their journey in life. But kids being headstrong do not always give their parents a patient hearing. This concept has been portrayed beautifully by Vinayan Bhaskaran.


Reviewed by: Nalini Kalra
Chewang Dorjee Bhutia

Most folktales, perhaps originating from the heart, hold the capacity to appeal to the depths of the heart that provides them with the essential distinction of crossing into global vistas. This one told in simple verse performs the needful to please gratify the sentiments. It is a typical old-world style folktale presenting the ups and downs of conflicts and acts of goodness at the same time concluding in peace and contentment.


Reviewed by: Ira Saxena
Sagar Kolwankar
Red
2019

The very first thing that catches one’s attention is the black torn part and a child peeking through it on an otherwise bright red cover picture. The story uses the colour palette beautifully as the book starts with a boy running alone on a muddy road with a beautiful yellow background followed by him finding a bright RED kite.


Reviewed by: Snehal
Prabhat

This never ending beautiful folktale is an all time favourite of children. The greedy and cunning Jackal and the colourful peacock were friends. Both decided to prepare a special meal of Dal Bati (a special dish of Rajasthan). Once it is ready, the peacock goes for a bath and the greedy jackal eats up the entire dish prepared by both. When the peacock shows his anger the jackal eats the peacock.


Reviewed by: Indira Bagchi
Kavita Tiwari

What attracted me first was the title of the book. It made me curious to know what it was that was not understood. There are probably very few books for children that have titles with a negative word in them.


Reviewed by: Kavita Tiwari

The Polka Dot Umbrella & Others is a collection of 12 short stories, each dealing with aspects of life. The stories touch upon various challenges life throws at us and how to overcome them as in , ‘Dance of Victory’, ‘A Mentor Called Dadu ‘ and ‘Singular Problem’.


Reviewed by: Rama Raj
Amrutash Misra

Teaching Pa is the story of Diya and her father, unfolding how she managed and succeeded in teaching her father, in spite of his efforts to skip the maths sessions. It is sweet of Diya to decide to teach her father and make all the efforts to make it happen. Another interesting thing is how she makes use of pea pods, and other examples from kitchen that her father is familiar with.


Reviewed by: Apoorva Raje
Ruchika Chanana

Homegrown middle grade fiction in India is on the rise and thankfully so! Neha and the Nose written by Ruchika Chanana brings two young detectives, one with the brains and one with the, um, nose, into the scene, where they uncover the truth about various mysteries like who stole the Sadanand Sharma Trophy for Extramural Excellence or who was stalking Harini, the head girl.


Reviewed by: Andaleeb Wajid
Asha Nehemiah

Hot Jalebis is a story which depicts the crazy rush and dangers of an Indian street. A young boy is told to bring jalebis from the nearby jalebi stall. He is repeatedly reminded by his grandmother about the crows and eagles that swoop down suddenly. He also has to overcome a temptation to eat the jalebis.


Reviewed by: Vivasvat Devanampriya
Niveditha Subramaniam

Niveditha Subramaniam’s Ammama’s Sari is a beautiful wordless book appropriate for children between 0 to 100. Please acquire it whether or not you have children in your life. It captures the essence of the Indian design philosophy of affordance of everyday materials and objects—the very antithesis of the modern affliction of ‘use-and-throw’. Subramaniam mounts exquisitely textured fabric collages that evoke the texture and feel of a Sari.


Reviewed by: Priyanka Bhattacharyya
Meenu Thomas

The five books that are reviewed below and the many others that I have read before, makes me wonder at the spectrum of quality that one finds in Pratham Books, as they range from excellent to mediocre to simply substandard..


Reviewed by: Sandhya Gandhi-Vakil
Magnolia

Uff! There’s a mouse in the house. I can see it scampering on my kitchen platform, behind the gas stove, then jump down lightly and scurry under the door, under the wooden crockery shelf-almirah, under the wooden stool on which my mother prefers the fridge is kept so she doesn’t have to bend down too much.


Reviewed by: Tultul Biswas
Magnolia

Mouse Attack is surely a window for children to enter into the world of fascinating images woven grippingly by Magnolia. It holds you tight with its enthralling narrative and lets you walk into the world of Arvee, Ellie, Mo and Pasha. Peeking through the eye of a mouse brings an interesting perspective of the human world as well as the small animal world.


Reviewed by: Asfia Jamal
Balaji Venkataramanan
POPS!
2019

Unlike your other classmates, you have an incomplete family because your Dad is just not there. You only know him as a face in the photographs in your mother’s wedding album. For some unexplained reason, he doesn’t like you and your mother and left soon after you were born.


Reviewed by: Deepa Agarwal
Kuber Kaushik

Children of Destruction is a fantasy novel by Kuber Kaushik. It starts off rather mysteriously and the pace continues to build up, going from the streets of Hong Kong to the Hindu Kush and then Nepal, giving the reader a snapshot of each of the characters in a moment of power


Reviewed by: Ivor Ismail
Vaneeta Vaid

Vaneeta Vaid’s story about a Class X student named Kalyani who develops an eating disorder due to her obesity is addressed to schools, parents and our entire community that encourages body shaming while laying emphasis on stereotyped physical appearances for girls.


Reviewed by: Rohini Rangachari
Riddhi Dastidar

Neelu and her Miru Mashi go out to explore the city and come across sick horses pulling carriages, which gives Miru Mashi a reason to explain how prosthetics and artificial limbs work. Neelu and the Phenomenal Printer explains the complicated technology of three dimensional printing in a very simple and easy to understand manner.


Reviewed by: Ilika Trivedi
Yamini Vijayan

Level 3 books are an inquisitive mind’s delight with engaging tales of discovery which teaches one and all to appreciate the little wonders of life. These thought-provoking books make a simple blend of events for the tender feet to look at things in a different light.


Reviewed by: Gauri Sharma
KAHANI RANJAN KI

Ranjan is very weak in maths and fails to clear the examinations for two consecutive years. He gets rebukes from his father and punishment from teachers, because of which he develops a hatred for school.


Reviewed by: Aruna Patel Vajpeyi
PY Balan

Balachandran, a student of seventh standard, is poor, and has lost his father at a young age. He and his siblings live in a village. Father Chinnappan, a priest, visits them and persuades his mother to allow him to join the seminary. His mother gives permission and Balachandran’s name is changed to Brother Freetus.


Reviewed by: Veena Zutshi
Kusumlata Singh

Meri Pahadi Va Anya Kahaniyan is a collection of eight stories in Hindi for teenagers. All the stories deal with the heroic, exemplary deeds of the protagonists that would certainly enthuse young readers to do similar things if chance arises. The authors have kept the language simple and made contemporary issues interesting for the readers.


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari
various authors

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…


Reviewed by: Aradhana Bisht
Zanib Mian

Omar has moved to a new town with his family of super-genius parents, tantrum-throwing sister and a little brother who ‘has ants in his pants’. Moving entails a number of changes—new school, new friends, new neighbours, leaving behind some old toys and Omar doesn’t seem to like it. He gets woken up by nightmares of a teacher…


Reviewed by: Arshi Showkat
Evan Purcell

Taking place deep within the rustic and breath-taking bounds of the Bhutanese hills and valleys, Karma Fights a Monster by Evan Purcell is nothing short of an intriguing and hilarious read. The book revolves around the protagonist Karma, a boy of twelve who, as it appears immediately, is quite brave.


Reviewed by: Raghav Kediyal
Harini Srinivasan

Set in 403 CE in the prosperous town of Nandivardhana (located in modern day Nagpur, Maharashtra), Harini Srinivasan’s The Curse of Anuganga is a historical thriller that carves a niche for itself by being the first historical murder-mystery I have ever read! Srinivasan cleverly perceives her story’s timeframe and weaves a plot around it that is riveting till the turn of the last page.


Reviewed by: Shreyas Vadrewu
Shaha Ghosh

Adventures of a Pre-teen by Shaha Ghosh is a collection of ten short stories that deals with the adventures of a twelve-year old American girl of Indian origin. Gia, lives with her parents in Berkeley Heights, a neighbourhood situated amidst rolling green lawns interspersed with whitewashed houses.


Reviewed by: Rafia Reshi
Jamil Jan Kochai

Take a deep breath and open this book and journey into a country you have never visited before. If your only knowledge of Afghanistan has been through news clippings, Hollywood and Disney films, or books written by American soldiers, journalists and writers, then you are in for a treat.


Reviewed by: Padma Baliga
Karen Levine

As a teenager, one of the innumerable books that I read was The Diary of Anne Frank which made an indelible impression on my mind. Six decades later, to come across the Hindi translation of Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine, and reading it in one sitting, gave me goose pimples.


Reviewed by: Chandra Chari
Niveditha Subramaniam

The latest book about Mayil Ganesan darts at you with upper cuts and feints that land strong but leave you warmed for having met her. Surer than ever of being Mayil as the title suggests, Mayil writes her diary in prose, in verse, in art, in every way that leaves you in no doubt about where she stands.


Reviewed by: Manisha Chaudhry
Ruskin Bond

To read Ruskin Bond’s fiction is to feel the transforming Indian society post-Independence, combined with the inimitable knack of storytelling with which Bond characterizes daily life in a small town. An astute observer, Bond paints a vivid picture of the overlooked sections of the society, while maintaining a leisurely pace with attention to minute details, which reminds the reader of RK Narayan.


Reviewed by: Gulbahar Shah
Ruskin Bond

Stories express experiences. Experiences are lived memories. Memories, beautiful or dull, when read back, contain the power of unleashing umpteen emotions. These emotions when expressed well become stories for keeps. However, short stories are always quite tricky.


Reviewed by: Ektaa Jain
Kai Cheng Thom

Gender-based violence has taken many forms. One of the worst depredations has been reserved for the transgender community. Awareness about varying gender identities have increased, but mistreatment has not necessarily reduced. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom is a bold and raw novel that brings the tragedy of marginalization of the transgender community, particularly of trans women, to light.


Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta
Deepa Agarwal

Blessed is the fascinating story of Selentra, the fourth child of a poor village weaver who possesses an extraordinary gift—she can read the ancient ‘forgotten tongue’, the Nor-dorok language. ‘Selentra found she could decipher the letters and the strange white shapes just by looking at them.’


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Nabaneeta Dev Sen

Since the l960s, children’s books in the West have tended to ‘critically address tendencies to assume that the world is white, male and middle class’ (John Stephens). Those children’s stories in Bangla that reproduce real life situations, too, have been peopled by the middle class, espoused its values and focalized on the ubiquitously urban and urbane male child protagonist.


Reviewed by: Nivedita Sen
Himanjali Sankar

Reaching adulthood by overcoming a challenging situation is the predominant theme in Young Adult fiction. This is exactly what the protagonist, seventeen-year-old Irfan Ahmed accomplishes in The Lies We Tell.


Reviewed by: Deepa Agarwal
HARSINGH HAMIR/Sudarshan Khanna

Apart from author Gita Wolf, the two books by Tara have little in common. One is a children’s introduction to Pithoro, a Rathva ritual art form; the other is a DIY book for children on traditional toys. Yet, such a reduction would be unfair to the two books. In the grand scheme of things, both the books are about the joy of creation, about our everyday reality and using material from quotidian life in the act of creation.


Reviewed by: Debasish Chakrabarty
Deboshree Bhattacharjee

The book starts with the introduction of the continents of the world and ends with the lakes of the world. The book takes us on a ride where we can experience many beautiful things around us. Every chapter of the book is as thrilling as the title is.


Reviewed by: Samiya Keen
Anu Kumar

Anu Kumar’s book falls under an emergent and popular category in children’s publishing, namely collective biographies. Ever since Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo stormed its way into the bestseller lists in late 2016, writers and publishers have rushed to publish short inspiring biographies of famous women, men, scientists, sportsmen, and other achievers.


Reviewed by: WONDER KIDS: 100 CHILDREN WHO GREW UP TO BE CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE