Padma Baliga

This amazing book by Sudarshan Khanna et al brings to mind the Chinese saying about a man not having to starve if he knows fishing. Certainly, kids can keep themselves engaged for hours with this book as they figure out how to make the toys, how to make them work, and how to play with them in a zillion creative ways.


Reviewed by: Sudarshan Khanna
Syed Umar

I think the Limca Book of Records is a book that records almost everything a human can ever think of and even things we cannot think of. Some of the records in my opinion describe the awesome, informative and crazy things people do.


Reviewed by: Syed Umar
Stewart Ross

The main character of this very amazing and exhilarating book who pulls you inside and traps you and won’t ever let you put it down is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is a very sharp and amazing detective who solves crime with ease with his partner Watson.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
C.N. Subramanyam

Here, the author brings to light a matriarchal society where women are strong, independent and in the lead. They are the ones who govern their community and civilization. Women are portrayed as hunters who can kill for food and safety. He shows how even during those times, the ‘cart’ of society required the male and female to work together.


Reviewed by: Sanchita Kamath
C.N. Subramanyam

The author CN Subramanyam comes to mind as an observant man. He is a person who is affected and jostled by his past and hence he digs into it, hoping to skim out some finer details. But being of the present generation, there is a modern edge to his short story.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Ariana Abadian-Heifetz

An infocomic! How refreshing! The author, Ariana Abadian-Heifetz has taken the help of a gynecologist to put in valuable information in a menstrual hygiene comic for girls. This book is one of the best uses of books that I’ve ever seen. 110 pages of colour illustrations by Pia Alize Hazarika is a surefire way to get children interested.


Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
Dr. Gareth Moore

10-minute Brain Games, Words and Language by Dr. Gareth Moore promises hours of productive fun. Each puzzle takes about 10 minutes to solve (you got that from the name, didn’t you?).


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Matthew Syed

What if there was a magical book which could make you awesome at anything? Well, this book won’t instantly make you awesome at something, but it will give you the right mindset to do so. The author, Matthew Syed, says that he followed these very tips (that are mentioned in the book) to becoming a two-time Olympian at table tennis and also a bestselling author.


Reviewed by: Aastha Nayak
Tim James

One of the most enduring quotes in popular science is Carl Sagan’s ‘We are made of starstuff.’ It’s a beautiful sentence, highlighting the sheer sense of wonder contemplating the cosmos engenders. But the point Sagan was making was also a very scientific one: that every single element in all life on earth (or anywhere else, for that matter) originally came from the heart of a star.


Reviewed by: TCA Sharad Raghavan
Archana Garodia Gupta

I immediately warmed to these two volumes for three reasons. Firstly, the nice get-up—attractive red and yellow covers dotted with what at first glance seemed like emojis. On a closer look they turned out to be tiny portraits, objects and monuments and a very catholic choice also—a kullar of tea, a Harappan seal, a cell phone, a veena, a temple bell…


Reviewed by: Partho Datta
Ranjit Lal

This story is about fifteen-year-old Rohan (Bozo) and sixteen-year-old Nita (Chick), who love fun and adventure and are patriotic to the core. Along with another friend, Aslam, they live in Dubash Mansions, known as Bedlam House. The owner of the building is Dr. Dubash, a child specialist and his wife Mridula who is a dog trainer and runs an NGO.


Reviewed by: Veena Zutshi
Vineet Bajpai

Harappa and its sequel Pralay are the renowned entrepreneur Vineet Bajpai’s first works of fiction. The novels explore a new take on the unexplained and mysterious end of the Harappan civilization and draw from Hindu mythology and history at several instances.


Reviewed by: Tanishta Chhabra
Jia Pangwa

In an idealistic world, there might come a day when geographical borders are reduced to lines on a map. But would the borders we learn to draw around ourselves ever be erased? Would identities be separated from occupation and ethnicity to disable differences in privilege?


Reviewed by: Hansika Chhabra
Sonal Sachdev Patel

‘For Karma is a mathematical law, What’s next depends on what’s done before’—is the premise of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. The ethical conundrums of right-wrong or good-evil fall under a larger spiritual understanding and acceptance of one’s duty.


Reviewed by: Anugraha Madhavan
Ashok K. Banker

‘Our greatest weapon is here. The mind. The flesh is weak; . . . But with the power of the mind, one can subjugate other people . . . Empires are built not only with brute force, though that is essential but with brute will.’ These are the poignant words uttered by Mahaamatya Kartikeya to the seven-year old Vishnu Gupta.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Suman Bajpeyi

This is part of the Golden Set published by the Children’s Book Trust. A collection of four tales, it highlights four different chapters not often spoken about in detail in history books. Of three queens and a brave lad, separated by centuries, these tales are told in a way that children can learn history through stories.


Reviewed by: Chandra Chari
Arushi Raina

Dystopian fiction begins quite simply with restrictions. A character is not allowed to do something because that would mean defying society, family and the law. Even though Arushi Raina’s When Morning Comes is based on the reality of life in apartheid-era South Africa, it has all the trappings of a good young adult dystopian novel.


Reviewed by: Livia Antony
Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond is one of India’s favourite writers. He has been writing for over five decades, and his repertoire is impressive—poetry to non-fiction, he seems to have written it all. What makes Bond loved and admired is his simple narrative style which draws you in and takes you on a walk along with him past streams, mountains and the odd city road. There’s so much to see and admire, beauty even in the smallest wayside weed.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan
Gogu Shyamala

Both the stories are set in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh. Balamma is a spirited 12-year-old girl. She reaches her peanut farm at the crack of dawn before any one is up and waters her peanut crop. When the neighbouring field of the landlord Tirumalla Rao gets less water, the annoyed landlord decides to teach Balamma a lesson.


Reviewed by: Girija Rani Asthana
Koki Oguma

Young children play in the most unstructured manner. A child holding a ladle may decide she is holding a mike and singing a song. Moments later, the ladle becomes an umbrella, or a bus, or a spoon to stir her mother’s coffee. A game of swordsmanship may transform into one playing with fallen flowers and seeds, or a classroom game.


Reviewed by: Padma Baliga
Cheryl Rao

The genre of young adult literature is hard to define. It is one that is identified by its liminality (to borrow a term from postcolonial theory), by its existence as an in-between segment of storytelling—neither too innocent, nor too indecent.


Reviewed by: Amanda D’Souza
Vaijayanti Savant Tonpe

Between twelve and twenty is a rather varied stretch, with changes occurring to the body and mind at every turn of the way. It encompasses several stages—early teens, adolescence and legal adulthood. Is it possible to address all their problems in one volume?


Reviewed by: Dipavali Sen
Paro Anand

For the longest time there has been an invisible line, an unwritten rule that prevents writing meant for young readers from straying too far into the unknown and by extension, the ‘unsuitable’. The Other: Stories of Difference by Paro Anand is a collection of short narratives…


Reviewed by: Tara Saldanha
Dipankar Roy

In Bangla literature there is a wonderful tradition—writers are never put into slots. No one is stamped as a ‘children’s writer’, ‘writer of humour’ or even a poet. You go wherever your imagination takes you. As a matter of fact, writers take pride in spanning many genres and that has brought the greatest gifts to children.


Reviewed by: Subhadra Sen Gupta
Sudhamahi Regunathan

This is the Hindi version of Folk Tales of The North-East narrated sensitively by Sudhamahi Regunathan, and illustrated magnificently by Subir Roy. As the name indicates, it brings together folklore prevalent in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.


Reviewed by: Dipavali Sen
Deepa Agarwal

Deepa Agarwal’s book Sacked comprises 15 stories about kings, princes, clever old ladies, merchants, peasants, birds and animals. Although the author does not mention the provenance of these stories, one presumes that they are largely Indian regional tales. Her style is simple and lively so that you are constantly engaged as if it were being told orally.


Reviewed by: Dipavali Sen
Sudha Murty

As you grow older, several unpleasant problems must be confronted. Amongst them falls the inevitable consequence of children growing up, leaving home, stubbornly refusing to take their effects with them and angrily refusing to let you give them away.


Reviewed by: TCA Srinivasa Raghavan
Deepa Agarwal

Indian mythology is a complex maze of stories within stories revolving around the amazing exploits of gods and goddesses, saints and sinners, and creatures dark and bright. Our ancient scriptures are full of these fabulous tales that tell of births and rebirths, boons, blessings and curses. They are veritably a part of the Indian subconscious mind…


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Manjula Padmanabhan

Vanita is a unique child…


Reviewed by: Tara Saldanha
Aditi Krishnakumar

The main characters of this rather captivating and sometimes scary book is a duoMeenakshi and Kalban. Meenakshi is the daughter of Kalban’s teacher who is from a different land. Kalban studies in Meenakshi’s father’s study whereas Meenakshi studies in her father’s library.


Reviewed by: Syed Umar
Sara Holland

Everless is all about seventeen-year-old Jules who has arrived at Everless, the estate of the Gerling family—a place which she detests and fears, in order to earn time for her dying father. In our world, we work to earn money to pay our taxes, bills and rent.


Reviewed by: Sanchita Kamath
Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow, daughter of Chancellor Corvus Crow, is born on Eventide. Those unfortunate enough to be born on this day, are predestined to die on their 12th birthday. As a ‘cursed child’, she is blamed for random catastrophes that happen in her home town of Jackalfax, from hailstones and heart attacks, to ruined batches of marmalade.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide is an adventure fantasy novel written by Chris Colfer, whose name kept niggling me, as I read this book. Yet it was only after I finished reading the book that I was surprised to find that the author was an actor in one of my favourite television series, Glee.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Lt. Col. A David and Shiv Kumar

This book is an encyclopedia of wild animals. The various ani-mal species, their way of life, what they eat, where they live, their life span, where are they found, etc.—everything is explained vividly and in great detail. I think this is a book worth keeping in schools and in homes with school-going children.


Reviewed by: Girija Rani Asthana
Suman Bajpayi

This book is a collection of four award-winning articles on environment. ‘Tapti Dharti Ilaaj Mange’ and ‘Paryawaran Sanrakshran’ were awarded in a CBT competition in non-fiction category on environment. The other two are taken from an English language book SOS from Nature.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Manish Chandi

This unique little book complements the title Walking is a Way of Knowing by the same authors and illustrator. This is a collection of unusual folklore from the world of the Kadars. It tells the story of how Kadavul the creator created the Kadars or hill people and blessed them with gifts of edible leaves, honey, tubers, herbs and incense, all hidden in the forest.


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Madhuri Ramesh

Two books based on oral stories of the Kadars, a small adivasi tribe in South India, have been written by Madhuri Ramesh and Manish Chandi who spent much time with the Kadars in their forest. The Kadars no longer live in the dense jungle but they walk its uneven, muddy paths every day.


Reviewed by: Books For Beginners
Dhavat Singh Uikey

What an attractive and unusual cover…the ferocious tiger is behind bars! The hard cover of this book has effective cut-outs of bars and the snarling tiger is crouched behind them, on the first page. The Gond author/artist, Dhavat Singh Uikey tells us that the tiger is an important part of the Gond natural world.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Subhash Vyam
WATER
2018

One of the largest tribal communities in the world, the Gonds are found mainly in the forests of central and southern India. They are known for their distinctive art forms with vibrant depictions of local flora, fauna and gods, using natural bright colours.


Reviewed by: Anju Virmani
Ruskin Bond

Stumbling through Life is a collection of twenty-five small essays through which Bond shares various aspects of his life and of human nature, in his unique style of writing, which leaves readers thinking about larger issues in the end. He calls it his mini-autobiography, but it’s encyclopedic.


Reviewed by: Esha Rudresh
Francesca Cavallo

If your kids have finished reading the first volume of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, you can now hand them the second volume to read. The battle to end patriarchy is not over, and so it makes perfect sense to have more books with profiles of more wonderful women for the young ones to learn about.


Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta
Aparna Jain

Like A Girl is a collection of stories of 51 women. Many of these women are not unknown to us, several of them are celebrities. The women featured in this book range from 19th century heroes like Rani Laxmibai to contemporary trailblazers such as Dipa Karmikar. Along the way you read about the extraordinary Amrita Shergill, Leila Seth and Soni Sori.


Reviewed by: Vinatha Viswanathan
Rauf Ali,

Judge this book by its cover. A hand-drawn elephant, a monkey, a tortoise, a bird, a butterfly, and a somewhat rakish, thin, balding man with sunglasses border a background of dappled sunlit green. Welcome to the world of forests, its denizens and India’s eminent ecologist, Rauf Ali.


Reviewed by: Neera Jain
Sheshagiri KM Rao

Sheshagiri Rao’s maiden book is a memoir—about a teacher who altered his perspective of a subject and turned his life around. Rao, an education specialist, shows us that any subject can be made interesting to the students if the teacher wills it so.


Reviewed by: Rini Marshel
Sachin Tendulkar

Many people know Sachin as a famous cricketer, some even believe that he is the best player of the game. But not many people know about his very gruelling and challenging past, which I think we must know to appreciate him. He is a very hard-working person and I think we can all change by reading his autobiography.


Reviewed by: Syed Umar
Quinton Winter

You can be different, yet lead a meaningful life and live up to your potential. You can be happy and successful too. Be yourself and do your best is what each story from the book seems to say. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different has some amazing stories that warm the cockles of your heart! Here’s a small peek into the book…


Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
Maria Parr

Books often serve as a bridge to another world. Maria Parr’s book does just that. It takes us into the world of Tanya (Tonje, in the original)—the pluckiest girl in the Glimmer Dale Valley—and her life full of innocent pranks, speed and self-confidence, and a friendship with a seventy something neighbour called Gunnvald.


Reviewed by: Tara Saldanha
Jess Butterworth

When the Mountains Roared hits the ground running. From the very first page the book jumps right into the thick of the story, leaving you waiting eagerly for the next twist in the tale. The author, Jess Butterworth has fashioned an engaging narrative set primarily in the foothills of the Himalayas.


Reviewed by: Tara Saldanha
Shyamala S.

First things first, this book is written for teenagers but is not well thought out and plotted. The story is quite good where one friend gets kidnapped and the other saves her. The story is a dystopic reflection of today’s world. It is set in south Bombay which is another way of being told that such events take place in the real world itself.


Reviewed by: Anirudh Devendra Prabhu
Shailaja Mohan

Dangerous Trail by Shailaja Mohan is a young adult novel, narrating the adventures of a fourteen-year-old girl named Medha and a Siberian crane named ‘Comrade’. Medha’s elder brother, Arijit, is a naturalist who works with the ‘Department of Environment’. Siberian cranes are of special interest to him.


Reviewed by: Livia Antony