Cheryl Rao. Illustrated by Suvidha Mistry. Edited by Navin

The Grumpy Man makes for a delightful reading experience. Illustrated by Suvidha Mistry, the scenes are set so beautifully that children are sure to have a blast reading this short story by Cheryl Rao.As the title suggests, the story is about a grumpy man and the kids in the neighbourhood who are wary of him. Their curiosity is aroused and they want to know about this grumpy man who is not moved even by their good deeds. Their childhood pranks are always met with disapproval. On holidays, they would leave sweets for him at his doorstep but even that gesture does not endear him to them…


Reviewed by: Neena Jaisingh
CG Salamander. Illustrated by Sahitya Ran

Yamini and the 7:00 pm Ghosts is a story by CG Salamander that revolves around 12-year-old Yamini and her friends discovering the mystery of ghosts in their neighbourhood. The story begins with Yamini hearing the rumours about ghosts in her neighbourhood that come around 7 in the evening. Everyone in the neighbourhood is scared of these ghosts, including Yamini’s friends. But Yamini doesn’t believe in the rumours. Therefore, she tries to solve the mystery…


Reviewed by: Ritika Gour
Adithi Rao. Illustrated by Sayan Mukherjee

Once cheerful and sunny, the village of Himmatnagar has changed in the past month since the mysterious deaths of three of its nativesRam Nayak, Chintamani, and Reddy. The natives of the village seem to have stopped smiling and are always tense; the police seem to have no leads to the cause of the deaths. Welcome to the village of ‘Himmatnagar: Land of the Brave’, formerly known as ‘Phattupur: Village of Cowards’.Adithi Rao in The Bhootbusters of Himmatnagar brings the village canvas alive—­the trees, the ponds, the local school, the expansive farmlands, and the village cemetery. Illustrated by Sayan Mukherjee…


Reviewed by: Anuradha Mathur
Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil. Illustrated by Rakhi Peswani

The Sackclothman has been developed for Different Tales: Stories from Marginal Cultures and Regional Languages, an initiative of the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad. To be honest, I judged this book by its cover–in fact, I was totally intrigued by it. The illustrations by Rakhi Peswani are commendable. The story evokes the familiar imagery from Rabindranath Tagore’s famous story ‘Kabuliwala’. There is a young girl, an ‘outsider’, a social outcast; and the familiar attachment between the two of them. It even has the same gut-wrenching scene of the outsider being taken away from society after establishing a tender bond with the little girl…


Reviewed by: Madhurima Kahali
Dipavali Sen

The Waiting may seem like a simple book, but it is pretty complex with multiple stories surrounding the main character, Anit, and his friends–Bimal, Chandan, and Deeksha, also known as the ABCD gang in the book.Dipavali Sen talks about bullying/ragging and connects it with mythology, magic, historical research, scientific experiment, contemporary attitudes, and mystical practices.The Waiting is an adventure book. It starts with Anit’s story of shifting to a new house, a new school, and how he is bullied there as a new boy. Even though he is irritated and frustrated, he does not tell his parents about the ordeals of the ragging he faced. Being an the only child, he understands all the hardships his parents had gone through to buy a house for themselves…


Reviewed by: Manyata Makkar
Arun Kamal. Illustrated by Bhargava Kulkarn

Hawa Mithai by the renowned Hindi poet is a collection of essays on the elements, water, light, air, as also on sound, the earth, sky, fire, the seasons. E.g., water is derived from clouds, rains and rivers and light are derived from the Sun, Moon and the stars. Humans, birds, animals and even plants and trees, all depend on the elements. We derive abundance of pleasure from them but when we make them angry, they bring misery to us by causing floods, earthquakes, thunderstorms, etc.The author has described these elements in colourful details. There are three essays on potatoes, cycle and green chillies to add spice to the volume. The illustrations are attractive, Kulkarni has done a very good job…


Reviewed by: Aruna Patel Vajpeyi
Manica K Musil

The ‘children’s books’ I grew up with were essentially preachy adult stuff parading as stories for children. It is a delight, therefore, to see these six books which try and see the world through the eyes of a child.Sher ki Neend (The Lion’s Sleep) written and illustrated by Manica K Musil presents a lion who is not a fierce hunter out to kill and frighten children. Rather, it is a lion that desperately needs a snooze but cannot sleep because birds and monkeys and insects don’t let him. Finally a bird leads him up a hill and he falls asleep: a lovely metaphor for a child’s desire to guide grownups. While the tale alone is sure to engage any six-seven year old, the fabulous illustrations, created with a variety of fabrics, threads, rope and wool, would compel even older people to turn its pages…


Reviewed by: PK Basant
Anil Singh. Illustrated by Taposhi Ghoshal

Chaman Lal Ke Pyjame is an interesting collection of six stories written by Anil Singh for children aged 8 and above. All the stories are set in Umariya, a district in Madhya Pradesh. The language is colloquial bringing back memories of a Madhya Pradesh I grew up in. The Hindi spoken in small towns of many Hindi-speaking States is something one does not generally hear in Metropolitan cities. It is very quaint and only people living in those parts may be familiar with some of the words that I came across in these stories…


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari
Paro Anand. Translated by Shashi Sablok. Illustrated by Rajiv Eipe

Babies In My Heart is a simply-written story about the concept of family, and the types of families found in today’s world. The story begins by introducing the reader to a standard nuclear family with biological father, mother and their biological children—the archetypical Hum do hamare do; and then goes on to introduce families with twins, triplets and quadruplets. Then come same-sex families with two mothers or two fathers. Here, the concept of adoption is brought up by differentiating between tummy mummy and heart family. Then the concept of a single parent (actually a single woman) family is introduced…


Reviewed by: Sandhya Gandhi-Vakil
Sagar Kolwankar

Gulab, the daughter of a manual scavenger—is mocked at by her class mates as ‘stinky Gulab’, not because she is filthy but because of her father’s profession which involves cleansing of clogged gutters.So, on science day in school Gulab takes the first bold step of showcasing a machine to clean up the drains without involving any human. She names it Gulab which will remove the dirt and spread fragrance.The story revolves around the inherent class divide existing in our society. Both Gulab and the bullies are the victims of this societal discrepancy, one as perpetrator and the other as victim…


Reviewed by: Sagar Kolwankar
Nabneeta Deshmukh. Translated by Kusumlata Sing. Illustrated by Subir Rai

The story revolves around two princesses created by the fairy queen Sheera to deal with her boredom. One of the princesses is sent to the kingdom of darkness and is to be protected from the sun while the other is sent to the prosperous kingdom of the light and is to be protected from the night. Sheera keeps adding up complexities to their lives as the plot progresses until they both finally meet each other and help each other’s kingdoms.The story has three female characters as protagonists and all three of them are appreciated for their beauty first and other characteristics later. The adjectives used for the females are only focusing upon their physical attributes which follows the standard beauty norms…


Reviewed by: Simran Sadh
Tanaz Bhathena

Fantasy is a tricky genre. It plays right at the heart of why many of us read: to escape, to find refuge. After the success of Harry Potter, publishers around the world flooded readers with YA fantasies, so much so that the genre became saturated with numerous worlds, each with their elaborate rules and patchwork characters. And while Tanaz Bhathena’s duology, Wrath of Ambar is based on one of the oldest tropes in storytelling, a hero, her destiny and the quest she embarks upon, the result is a refreshingly absurd world which attempts to hold up a mirror to the one we inhabit and create every day…


Reviewed by: Bhavini Pant
Sangu Mandanna

There used to be a time, long ago in most of our childhoods possibly, when we would have real, vivid and intense dreams, dreams within dreams, where we would experience physically acts of falling from a height, slipping, running and even as we awoke, our hearts would continue to race. Sangu Mandanna’s ninth adventure fantasy novel is a quick paced, vividly descriptive work of art and imagination.Kiki Kallira is the protagonist, recounting her life in the first person. She loves sketching and draws up characters from the Indian folklore of Mysore. Even as these characters come alive, threaten to destroy the real world, there is a parallel narrative of great courage and bravery displayed by Kiki—alluding to an aspect of herself that remains mostly hidden…


Reviewed by: Aakangshita Datta
Shaheen Bhatt

In all good Hindi movies, after a lot of trials and tribulations, the hero would come in and save the day. After all the trials and tribulations COVID brought upon us, it looks like the hero is ancient Indian traditions, which would sweep in and save the day. From doing namaste instead of shaking hands and exchanging viruses, to realizing that humble kaarhas worked better than unnecessary remdesivir. So maybe even for fighting the current ongoing epidemic of non-communicable diseases, worsened by COVID, the hero will be the same ancient traditions: food practices and exercise, based on sound scientific principles, which will sweep in and save all of us. Ayurveda recommends that meals should have something of all the six flavours: sweet, sour, salt, spicy, bitter and astringent…


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Sampurna Chattarji and Eurig Salisbury

My first introduction to the nonsense verse was a book gifted to me on my ninth birthday—Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense. Growing up around that timeline on a diet of Enid Blyton’s works, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Norton Juster’s works—this book deviated from the usual parameters that writers normally take into account when writing for children or young adults. The artwork in this work were exaggerated faces and as shocking/surprising as the images were; they were absolutely delightful. Later on, I searched for works in this genre in the Indian context that had for their audience children and adults as well and came across an anthology of translated works published in 2007…


Reviewed by: Semeen Ali
Asha Nehemiah

A Pinch of Magic by Asha Nehemiah is a story about a girl named Veena and her aunty Malu. Aunt Malu makes herbal medicines. She is known for her herbal medicines that she learned from her Guru. One of the tools that Aunt Malu uses to make her medicines breaks and the story revolves around Veena and Aunt Malu looking for that pinching spoon that is required for making medicines.The story throws light on some very important issues and breaks stereotypes while sticking to the narrative. The role of women is a major part of the story. Aunt Malu and Veena go to Harrabharrapazham in order to look for the Guru. Initially, they are disappointed because they are not able to find the Guru. But later in the story we see that they find the Guru and she turns out to be a woman, when they were expecting a man…


Reviewed by: Shiv Narayan Gour
Deepa Balsavar

There is a nightmare haunting each and every one of us—young and old—the fear of contracting the dreaded Coronavirus. Life has turned upside down ever since the pandemic made its presence felt, and the struggle to embrace ‘the new normal’ has taken a terrible toll on us. The risk of contracting the disease is grave indeed, but equally alarming are the mental health issues that are spreading as rapidly as the virus itself. Children have been severely impacted by this situation. With their regular routine completely disrupted, and talk of the dreaded virus blasting them from all corners, they feel bewildered and insecure, many are quite traumatized. Their need for assurance and understanding from the adults in their lives has grown immensely during the pandemic…


Reviewed by: Deepa Agarwal
Vaishali Shroff. Illustrated by Samidha Gunjal

Susruta Patil is just another kid—but not quite so. He loves sketching, but is terrible at football. He is a great friend, but suffers at the hands of bullies. He loves poetry, but cannot punctuate. His name does not make it any easier, especially when he wets his bed!SP, as his friend Lobo calls him, sinks into the deep hole of depression. He feels the world is against him, and that he cannot catch a break. However, Lobo, and Kuhu, the best footballer around, help him see better. He opens up and shares his world with them, and suddenly the hole isn’t so deep and dark after all…


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan
Piyush Srivastava. Illustrated by Mukesh Sah

‘After all, a story survives only a few minutes…Who doesn’t know that most newspapers are waste in the afternoon?’ This is Ramayan Prasad, a journalist, working for one of the leading national newspapers in India. For past many years, he has swiftly and skillfully worked on some really troublesome reports; he follows the cases, files his copies and moves on. But something has changed since he started working on a case of a gang rape in the national capital…


Reviewed by: Asfia Jamal
Rajessh M. Iyer

If the children of India dream, let them dream of India.’Anant PaiOn Anant Pai’s 90th birth anniversary, it is fitting for Rajessh M Iyer to have penned a homage to the life and work of the father of Indian comics in his biography Uncle Pai: The Man Behind the Iconic Amar Chitra Katha. From the Author’s Note to the Epilogue, the biography pays glowing tributes to Anant Pai, his vision and dream, in such a way that some readers may even term it a hagiography.In terms of including criticism of Pai’s work, there do exist fleeting indications of ‘baseless criticism’ (p. 316), a passing reference to Pai’s anger and a brief section entitled ‘Objections’ describing Valmiki Sabha’s objection to Valmiki being portrayed as a thief, leading to Pai’s effigies being burnt…


Reviewed by: Rohini Rangachari Karnik
Devashish Makhija
OONGA
2020

This is the first time I have encountered a movie adapted to a book. It is based on an adivasi boy called Oonga and his story. The author has created a brilliant atmosphere around the whole plot. The book is an eyeopener for me. The words come alive right from the first few lines. The characters in the story are also so unique, they are brought to life in the story. The story woven is realistically displayed with all the flaws in life, in the system, in different people…


Reviewed by: Sangeeta Subuddhi
Teji Grover. Illustrated by Taposhi Ghoshal

A well-written book with extensive vocabulary, Teji Grover’s Mann Mein Khushi Paida Karne Wale Rang is full of memories, stories, haikus and appealing art. Divided into fourteen chapters, the author reminisces about some of her childhood memories and describes them in detail. Each of the fourteen chapters tells a different story. Readers are able to vividly imagine the incidents, some of which include the rescue of a cat on Deepavali, the life story of the author’s friend Alan or the recollection of her visits to countries. She also writes about the art she made in her childhood, the use of natural colours and their importance…


Reviewed by: Aditya Karnik
Zain Saeed

Little America is the story of Sharif Barkati, a boy from the slums of Karachi who aspires for more—he wants love, he wants to be free. He achieves this by creating his own little haven of ‘freedom’, first in his school, then in his father’s car and then in a few ramshackle buildings with his friend in the city. He himself does not indulge in any of the freedoms he offers others—a space to drink, smoke, dress, speak and love as they want to; his exhilaration comes from their joy at expressing themselves unrestrained by society outside. And the space he creates is for everybody…


Reviewed by: Vinatha Viswanathan
Andaleeb Wajid

Everyone is a work in progress.’Go back and read that sentence, again and again. Andaleeb Wajid focuses on teaching us how to love ourselves while dealing with many problems in and around us. Although Mirror, Mirror is a young adult book, anyone can read it. It may seem like a young romance novel, but it is so much more than that. It deals with issues like fat-shaming, adult pregnancy, societal expectations, and first loves.Most importantly, it raises the issue that most teenagers face, ‘choosing the subjects/stream for their future’ and ‘deciding what they want to do in life…


Reviewed by: Manyata Makkar
Madhuri Kamat

Bringing Back Grandpa by Madhuri Kamat, a sequel to Flying with Grandpa is a realistic portrayal of the life of a single child in an urban, middle class Indian family of today. The child’s character is coloured with loneliness and control. This review begins with a brief summary of the story, which is followed by some observational comments. Finally, the reviewer poses a few questions on the current state of childhood in India and what role children’s literature can play to address children’s needs.The story appears as a page from the life of a single, privileged male child, Xerxes. He is quite close to his grandpa, who is his only friend and also his saviour. All of a sudden his grandpa falls ill. Before Xerxes could make sense of the situation at home, he finds himself being bullied by his classmates…


Reviewed by: Nidhi Gaur
Sushil Shukl. Illustrated by Vandana Bist

In March 2020, the world was told to shut themselves in. The much-condemned mobile phone became the center of our lives. Children who till February 2020 were told by WHO that screen time was evil and they should play vigorously outdoors at least 60 minutes every day, were forced to stare at screens for study, and stopped from playing outside. In short, everything turned upside down, or rather, to make a bad pun, outside in. They do say, though, that every cloud has a silver lining. Well, this little book is part of the silver lining. I have carefully mentioned the cover pages, because the front cover sets the tone, while the inside front cover and the back cover also have little gems tucked into them…


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Tisca Chopra

The book under review comprises twelve chapters, with eye catching illustrations, and easy to relate style of prose, that act as nothing less than a Bible for young adolescent girls. It beautifully explains the transition from hoops of puberty to fabulous adulthood. Young girls often tend to become self-conscious owing to the changes that occur during puberty. A proper guide, the right information and knowledge is what is needed to battle the dilemmas of adolescence like: their first period, picking up their first bra, encountering pubic hair, relationships, boys, developing pimples, gaining weight, periods hacks, menstrual hygiene, etc. This book is a good pick for that…


Reviewed by: Rafia Reshi
Payal Dhar

Sami is a young adult; a ‘girl’ who felt more at ease in carrying herself in a way that’s conventionally attributed to ‘boys’ only. This was often met with a wide range of inconsiderate, harassing (and vulgar) remarks and humiliating questions… Are you a boy or a girl? Her parents were thoughtful and sensitive enough, but that did not mean an escape from the occasional, You know you’re not a boy, right? Why don’t you make an effort to look more like the other girls?Sami soon discovers that she is gay and seems to be accepting and willing to explore her sexuality. As she is about to start exploring this newfound realization, a major shift comes in; she has to move to Chandsarai with her mother, a small village in the hills. Being away from her father, Nisha (her best friend) and the place she felt so connected to wasn’t easy…


Reviewed by: Ruchi Shevade
Divya Anand. Illustrated by Rujuta Thakurdesai

Childhood, that precious time of intense loves and hates and hopes and disappointments, has been marvellously captured by Divya Anand in her story for children I Hate my Curly Hair, a story, beautifully illustrated by Rujuta Thakurdesai, that is reminiscent of the illustrated stories by that wonderful writer for children, Dr Seuss.The primary objective of any literature be it for children or adults is to entertain and give pleasure.  I Hate my Curly Hair does this  amply by using a rhyme pattern that would delight any young reader by the way it trips and slips off one’s tongue with its tizzy and frizzy and giggles and squiggles…


Reviewed by: G Anuradha
Ruskin Bond. Illustrated by Kashmir Sarode

ll Time Favourites (For Children) celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are always loved equally by children and adults and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume consisting of 25 enjoyable stories. Curated by India’s most loved children’s writer, this collection brings together some of the most evocative episodes from the author’s life. Heart-warming, funny and spirited, this is a must have on every bookshelf!‘Goldfish Don’t Bark’ is a delightful story of Koki and the goldfish, which is kept in a glass jar and is constantly admired by the little girl who is visiting her grandmother, living on the other side of the hill. She is happy to notice that the goldfish do not make noises like dogs, donkeys or the birds…


Reviewed by: Indira Bagchi
Khyrunnisa A

Smash It, Butterfingers! by Khyrunnisa A is the latest addition to the Butterfingers series of books meant for the reading pleasure of folks in their early teens. Sports is the main theme of all the books set in the backdrop of the fictitious Green Park School. In the book under review, students of the school have an adventure that involves badminton, and a cat named Ozymandias. The hero of the tale, Amar, is affectionately called Butterfingers, because well, he is one. He has a talent for dropping things, bumping and crashing into objects and people, injuring himself and his friends and family, and generally emerging from such misadventures unscathed and victorious…


Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta

A collection of 50 stories! Stories that have been read and known worldwide. They take readers on a journey into the time that’s part of history. Through the book, we meet characters from history and mythology, encounter stories from various older generations and also get a sense of how the then human relationships and society would have been like, across different parts of the world. This collection consists of renowned stories by some eminent litterateurs such as Leo Tolstoy, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand and Sukumar Ray…


Reviewed by: Deepali Shukla
Abolkali Jimomi. Illustrated by Canato Jimo

Bobo and the Worms is by Abokali Jimomi of Nagaland. Any book for early readers must be accompanied by illustrations that fire imagination. Canato Jimo’s illustrations perfectly accompany this simple but prettily told story. Which child does not like visiting her grandma? Grandparents are special people in any child’s life. There is a warmth to them that cannot be replicated. Grandparents are not difficult or demanding like parents. Neither are they rough and unruly like one’s own playmates. They can get down on their knees and play with you or open their knees wide and rock you when you need comforting…


Reviewed by: Sumitra Kannan
Anurupa Roy. Illustrated by Adrija Ghosh

This book is an effort in reading promotion among children that Pratham Books stands for. It is a ‘Learning to Read’ book or ‘Level 2’ book. The previous (Level 1) is ‘Beginning to Read/Read Aloud’. The next two levels (Levels 3 and 4) are ‘Reading Independently’ and ‘Reading Proficiently’.As the inside back cover tells us, author Anurupa Roy is a puppeteer, puppet theatre director and puppet designer. She is the founder-managing trustee of the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, Delhi. She has directed many puppet performances and undertaken international tours with her puppet group…


Reviewed by: Dipavali Sen
AMMU AND THE SPARROWS

Ammu and the Sparrows is a sensitively written story dealing with the curiosity and questions and long wait of a child—for his parents. The book has been categorized in the green coloured Level 3 book—those books that are meant for children who are ready to read on their own.Ammu spends his days on his Ammamma’s terrace, looking out and waiting. Is he waiting for Amma and Accha sparrows to come or is he waiting for someone else? Is this wait going to get over any time soon? The open-ended story leaves the reader with many questions like these. And the best part is that the story does not give us ready-made answers, but allows the readers to imagine and construct the answers themselves…


Reviewed by: No Reviewer
Rajiv Eipe

Here is a bilingual book written by 16 children coming from different parts of India and different walks of life. They speak their heart out—they tell us in clear, bold, straightforward words what they wish for. Their dreams, wishes, aspirations, hopes—is what is the core of this book. And adults, elders, parents and teachers—may as well listen. As India inches towards the 75th anniversary of its hard-earned freedom in 2022—this illustrated book is a reminder to us adults as to what we have not been able to give to our children in so many years, and pay attention to what they yearn for…


Reviewed by: Tultul Biswas
Sushil Shukl. Illustrated by Atanu Roy

A picture book with minimal text from Eklavya.This album-size book with large bold illustrations is perfect as a child’s FIRST book. Here, the element of story is irrelevant, almost redundant.It is all about familiar colourful images that inhabit a child’s universe—water, fish, frog, buffalo and so forth. It does not have to tell much beyond mundane things like a buffalo’s horns, its tail, and of course the delicious joys of hush-hush words like su-su and poo-poo, that are so much a part of the early years…


Reviewed by: No Reviewer
Sonam, Ritik, Vikram and Ajay. Translated from the original Hindi by Rinchin. Illustrated by Ubitha, Leela and Unni

A little story book from the Muskaan Series of Eklavya. It tells a simple story that would appeal to a small child, who does not yet read by herself, but enjoys listening to a story.However, the text of this book does not lend itself to an interesting read-aloud experience. The sweet little story is actually written jointly by four Agariya kids, Sonam, Ritik, Vikram and Ajay, with some assistance from their school teacher. Although originally written in Hindi, the syntax and choice of words sound somewhat stilted, akin to a literal Hindi translation of an original English text…


Reviewed by: No Reviewer
Richa Jha. Illustrated by Mithila Anant. Translated from the original English by Sushil Joshi

Truly, an offering for a world increasingly dominated by the digital media. A short little story for kids as young as 3 years to as old. For, let us face it, whether we like it or not a mobile phone has become a favourite ‘toy’ for the young and old alike.To add to this bane of device obsession, we now have online classrooms! The die is cast. What began as a guilty diversion has now become a necessary evil.Richa Jha in her delightful book Ast-Vyast Mast addresses this issue without making it preachy for the young reader. In fact, she turns the tables, depicting a scenario where the internet is down and it is the child that pulls her parents away from their respective devices to enjoy a fun-filled family time outdoors. After an exhilarating time in the park the family returns home where we have a twist in the tail. Our online student is frustrated at not being able to access her school results as internet is still down. A reality check!…


Reviewed by: Rekha Bhimani
Kanchan Sharma. Illustrated by Radhika Tipnis. Translated by Sushil Shukl

Great nonfiction in Indian children’s literature is hard to come by, especially picture books for young children. I was pleasantly surprised to get a set of non-fiction books translated into Hindi by Eklavya. These have been translated from English by the eclectic Sushil Shukl. The first one, Ande Mein Kucch Kala Hai is about the life cycle of frogs. Nona aur Seb ka Ped is about the journey of an apple tree from a seed to a full grown tree. Both the books are written by Kanchan Sharma and illustrated by Radhika Tipnis. The rhythmic text brings in a fresh flavour to the stories and are unlike any non-fiction book I have read in Hindi…


Reviewed by: Swaha Sahoo
Gogu Shyamala. Translated from Telugu by A Suneetha. Illustrated by Puja Vaish and Rashmi Mala

These books are a fascinating example of the kind of good that a regional publisher publishing in a regional language can do for children to develop critical thinking skills, a scientific outlook, pique their curiosity about natural phenomena or sensitize them to the gradient of social difference and inequality that is often actively and conveniently ignored in school syllabi or made invisible in social discourse. Stories for children have been used to instruct and entertain, but these books are special not only because they take their inspiration from the world around them where the context, art and language are familiar and relatable, but also because their printing and pricing makes them attractive and accessible…


Reviewed by: Vaibhav Parel
Mini Srinavasan. Illustrated by Priya Kurian

A simple story, whose title itself excites curiosity, and colourful eye-catching illustrations in an unusually large-sized picture-book—what more does a beginning reader need to get attracted?The very size of the book catches attention. The two little girls aged five and six years, whom I teach as they are homebound due to the Corona epidemic, fight to grab the book. It is spread out on the table and they both bend over it, the younger concentrating on the pictures while the elder tries to read the text. Big words, difficult for the under-privileged kid to read, and I have to help her at first. But as the words get repeated, slowly she is able to recognize them…


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Mohammad Khadeer Babu. Illustrated by Suresh BV; TEXTBOOKS by Nuaiman. Illustrated by Chithra KS; FRIENDS IN SCHOOL by Joopaka Subhadra. Illustrated by Saumya Ananthakrishna

The three stories in this book effectively present the lives of children from marginal and underprivileged families that struggle to provide for their school-going children. The stories reflect everyday problems like lack of money to buy text-books, keeping up with classmates who can well afford every luxury, efforts to walk all the way to reach schools located in neighbouring villages, and the discrimination faced on religion and caste grounds.The first story relates the story of a child trying to find a good bargain while buying second-hand textbooks for class 8…


Reviewed by: No Reviewer
Gopini Karunakar. Translated from the English (original in Telugu) by Lokesh Malti Prakash. Illustrated by Nilima Sheikh

This book is part of a collection of books brought out by Anveshi, in its attempt to present stories from regional languages and other cultures before readers. The targeted age is not mentioned but the long, rambling tale will be better appreciated by older children. Though published in picture book form, the language, as well as the small print size confirm the assumption that older kids would enjoy the book better.Old Guravva weaves fantasy stories around the sun, the moon, and the stars. Her stories are enjoyed by the little group of children who listen to her with wide-eyed interest…


Reviewed by: Nilima Sinha

The awareness towards the growth of child-centric literature brought into focus the magnitude of picture-books as a tool in the learning process for children. As soon as the child steps into the social realm, picture books offer easy-to-learn medium for the child. The familiarity with words, language and speech through reading the pictures and text for communication are all packed in a small bundle in a picture book. Picture books are profusely illustrated simple stories and information to aid the learning process and enhance social skills…


Reviewed by:
Pragati Sureka. Illustrated by Nina Su

Hope: Stories for a Healthy Mind by Pragati Sureka is an anthology of short stories of three children dealing with different psychological challenges. These stories are named after the young protagonists; Ryan, Kabir and Shoma. The first story is of a young boy named Ryan. The story unfolds with the emotional turmoil faced by him due to the quarrel between his parents. He is unable to concentrate on his studies and withdraws himself from participating in school activities. His class teacher notices this change in his behaviour and decides to speak to him…


Reviewed by: Aakriti Mahaja
Yamini Vijayan. Illustrated by Aindri C

I introduced my daughter to topics such as body safety, consent, and body image, around the age of three. I think it is a good age to start talking about the body. I referred to several YouTube videos and books, to choose simple enough words and images, appropriate for a preschooler. While there is no dearth of books covering this sensitive subject, there is a pressing need and growing awareness among parents and teachers about the introduction of these topics to young children…


Reviewed by: Madhurima Kahali
Nikhil Gulati. Illustrated by Nikhil Gulati

Being a mother to two young kids, one being a bit young for stories, I am always on the lookout for good books that I could read along with them. My five-year-old daughter is always fascinated by topics like space, planets, and astronauts. Her young, creative mind goes for a spin every time she is made aware of the possibilities. So, when I received the options for books to review, I was quick to select A Journey to Mars: Mangalyaan by Nikhil Gulati. I am extremely glad that I made that choice. The book succinctly describes India’s Mars mission to young readers…


Reviewed by: Madhurima Kahali
Somak Ghoshal

Somak Ghoshal’s 10 Indian Heroes is an important book. The Constitution of India is easily invoked as part of conversations, but do we live it? ‘The idea of dignity is at the core of our identity as Indians. In 1949, when the Constitution was adopted under the leadership of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the word was introduced into the Preamble’, writes Somak in his introduction. ‘But what does dignity really mean? How do you experience it in your daily life? And, more importantly, what does it look like in practice, as opposed to simply being an idea in our minds?’ he poses…


Reviewed by: Deepa Ganesh
Adithi Rao. Illustrated by Ghazal Qadri

Noon Chai and a Story is a slim little book, beautifully illustrated which gently draws the young reader’s attention to what books mean to those who are deprived of them. But while the story is about books it is also about the world in which the young protagonist lives with her parents, her sister and her beloved grandmother, Deidi. Looking at life through the eyes of a little girl living in the remote area of Gurez, the book gives an authentic representation of life in this beautiful but little known corner of India…


Reviewed by: Ranjana Kaul