Isn’t it so difficult to write? Have you ever seen an introduction or a preface written for a feast, or for a treasure trove for that matter? How do you introduce such things… without revealing the secrets?… without robbing the thrill of reading the original pieces?… without repeating the oft-repeated?


Editorial

We live in a country where too many of children’s realities include not having money to buy what they need, walking long distances to collect firewood, going out to fish for their evening meal, or not having a dry corner to sleep or sit in the house when it rains. These life experiences often include incidents of being displaced by those in power, or being discriminated against by the institutions that are meant to protect, like schools, police, judiciary, health services, local governments


Reviewed by: Shivani Taneja and Ragini Lalit

The idea that the child is asexual has been accepted as natural and atemporal for the entire history of modern childhood. Social and moral norms deem that not only families and child-focused institutions, but rather society at large reacts strongly to children’s participation or interest in sex. The current discourses on sexual abuse overarchingly influence family and educational practices


Reviewed by: Nidhi Gulati

There is a strange conflict in me as a queer trans writer and a queer trans reader of children’s books when I think of books I’d like to see written, published and read. As a reader, I want to see an explosion and not just a disruption. If I am allowed to dream of books, then there is no need for me to dream small. As with many of us marginalized due to the various structures of society like caste, class, language, gender, religion, region, ethnicity, ability, neuro-normativity, sexuality, to name a few, we have very little space to dream and to articulate our desires and dreams.


Reviewed by: Shals Mahajan
Meghaa Gupta

In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister and launched a far-sighted tech policy which subsidized and allowed the liberal import of personal computers. A PC at world prices was prohibitively expensive and still out of reach for most middle-class urbanized Indians. The subsidy and easy terms for a loan allowed many to own a chunky PC and institutions also gradually started converting.


Reviewed by: Partho Dutta
Indira Ananthakrishnan

The annals of Indian history are rich and expansive, filled with the most amazing tales of both valour and idiosyncrasies. School textbooks often gloss over these incidents because it is impossible to capture all of these tales in one comprehensive text and also because textbooks need to build a cohesive narrative, a sequence which may not grasp the complicated and interlinked histories which spread across time and space


Reviewed by: Ilika Trivedi
Tilottama Shome

Open the book and you ‘see’ Shah Jahan, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, gazing at the Taj Mahal from his prison. Reading on, and with the help of Kavita Singh Kale’s illustrations, you get pulled into the captive emperor’s thoughts and get a peep into his cherished memories. Those of the happy days spent with his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. And of the sad days too, when Mumtaz died after giving birth to their fourteenth child


Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
Ruskin Bond

A little book that says it all—from beautiful descriptions of Nature’s bounty, and the history of an ancient nation and its civilization—to memories, old and precious. It is only the talented Ruskin Bond who can do it.


Reviewed by: Nilima Sinha
Pervin Saket

What picture comes to your mind when you think of a scientist? Well, when children are presented with this question and asked to draw a scientist at work, more often than not, they draw an elderly or middle-aged man wearing a lab coat and spectacles, mixing chemicals in fancy glassware. Alarmingly, the proportion of children who hold such a stereotypical mental image of a scientist seems quite large: 86.5% in a study done in 1998[1] and 78% in a more recent study[2]!


Reviewed by: Aisha Kawalkar
Malala Fund

Whenever I imagine about war, images of the aftermath of war come to my mind. Everything is scattered around. I can see only those people and things that have somehow escaped from the bombings. I can see the ominous silence spread out after the heart-rending blasts. I can see the school which has nothing left now. I can see the children who had come to school with dreams in their eyes, with the belief that everything will be alright if they study.


Reviewed by: Mudit Shrivastav
Yogesh Maitreya

B.R. Ambedkar: A Life in Books, is a very imaginative and accessible introduction to one of the tallest leaders India has ever had. The book, without being pedantic, provides a young reader a bird’s eye view of life and times of Babasaheb.  It does a fabulous job of introducing young minds to difficult themes such as caste-based discrimination, equity and justice.


Reviewed by: Adnan Farooqui

The Puffin Book of 100 Extraordinary Indians, 100 inspiring stories of outstanding achievements, is a compilation of stories of different Indians across diverse fields from various eras.Arranged alphabetically, and seemingly written by different authors (no author has been credited), the book feels random.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan
Sudha Madhavan

A collection of stories with a mythological backdrop to it has the potential to attract readers from diverse age groups, especially those who have had a taste of such stories in their childhood. The stories are written in an interactive manner and the connectedness between each of them takes the reader back and forth, weaving into a universe of the epic Mahabharata and sometimes drawing from the Ramayana as well.


Reviewed by: Simran Sadh
Devdutt Pattanaik

Renowned mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik has picked seventy-two tales, mainly from India’s rich mythology, and used them as a canvas to paint 21st century on. This collection of stories originates from Patnaik’s webcast called Teatime Tales. Why did he pick 72 stories? Well, the reason lies in mythology. 72 steps, 72 hours, 72 names, 72 stupas—all these and more feature in mythology


Reviewed by: Andal Jagannathan
Priya Narayanan

This book is a collection of stories of 17 mythical beings—Asuras, Rakshasas/Rakshasis from Hindu mythology, centered around whom stories are rarely written or discussed.In Hindu mythology, devas or gods are often shown to be virtuous (even their cunningness portrayed as diplomacy and ingenuity) and thus victorious; always celebrated and glorified. Asuras and Rakshasa/rakshasis on the other hand are shown as evil, demonic figures, whose defeat at the hands of devas are symbolized as victory of good over evil.


Reviewed by: Ruchi S
Nagraj Adve

Nagaraj Adve’s Global Warming in India is a brief and practical guide that enables the reader to engage with the discussions, debates and actions about the most pressing social and moral issue before our generation. It is written with a sense of hope and compassion for the ‘ordinary people’ that is largely missing in similar and popular books, which tend to focus more on the specialist and technocratic solutions handed over from above and to which most of us are expected to assent to and participate merely as a consumer or observer.


Reviewed by: Sarthak
Amirtharaj Christy Williams

Picking up the book—the name made me wonder how an elephant in Rajaji National Park, far removed from the southern kingdom of Mysore got the name Tipu, fondly called Sultan of the Siwaliks. Amirtharaj Christy Williams’ memoir has the answer, and more! Elephant naming anecdotes abound.An insightful Foreword by Prerna Singh Bindra, India’s leading environmental journalist, tells how Williams makes a case for the Asian elephants, remarkable animals fighting a losing battle as forests get rapidly cleared for human use.


Reviewed by: Shailaja Srinivasan
Prerana Singh Bindra

Have you ever wondered why we feel scared or become very excited when we hear about forests? Being born and brought up in metropolitan cities like Delhi, most of my understanding about forests comes from school books and they have usually portrayed forests as dangerous places.


Reviewed by: Shivam
Karthika Lakshmi M

Karthika Lakshmi’s So Shall You Reap was one of two prize winning entries in CBT’s Realistic Fiction category in the 20th Competition for Writers of Children’s Books organized in 2019. The story is about an expedition by students from across India to deposit seed samples in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, with narrative conflict introduced through ‘vested interests’ who seek to replace the indigenous seed varieties with genetically modified ones.


Reviewed by: TCA Avni
Sultan Ahmed Ismail

Our Wiggly Friends, Earthworms is a small book of 32 pages. The book can be divided into two major parts; the first and the main part of the book provides various details about earthworms while the second part focuses on the role that earthworms play for soil, and introduces the readers to vermiculture (artificial rearing of earthworms).


Reviewed by: Rajni Dwivedi
Neeraj Wagholikar

In our country, there are many huge multipurpose hydroelectricity (hydel) projects. These projects involve construction of dams, resulting in huge swathes of waterbodies called backwaters. These backwaters are not just used for electricity generation but are also a direct source for agricultural irrigation, industrial water supply, freshwater pisciculture and drinking purposes. Additionally, these can contribute indirectly to GDP as they can be turned into sites of tourist attraction.


Reviewed by: Sanket Raut
Tanya Majmudar and Sujatha Padmanabhan

India is a country blessed with rich biodiversity. It also is a nation developing at a great pace, locking horns with many other powerful global economies. But we need to keep in mind that development too, comes at a price. If development is not holistic and just anthropocentric, it doesn’t take long for the environment to collapse on itself. Unfortunately, most of the world is facing these after-effects of anthropocentric development.


Reviewed by: Sanket Raut
Sanjay Sondhi

We are not alone in this world. We are surrounded by different kinds of living beings and trees and plants. There is no place near or far from us where these living beings do not exist. A dark corner of the house, a wall, even the bark of trees, are home to many living things. And not only bark, even the leaves of trees are home to many different kinds of life-forms. There are eggs stuck on somewhere, and at other places you have caterpillars chomping on them!


Reviewed by: Kishore Pawar
Sundar Sarukkai

In most countries, philosophy as a subject of study is open to students only at the undergraduate level. However, in the last four decades or so, many have argued that there is a dire need to introduce philosophy to students at a much earlier stage, preferably from middle school years onward. According to the proponents of this view, introducing philosophy at this age enables students to critically engage with what they learn and experience, both in school and outside.


Reviewed by: Radhika Chhaparia
Chitwan Mittal and Shruti Hemani

This book is a canvas of emotions that all age groups paint in their minds every day. For children it is like a picture dictionary where they can identify if unable to express in words as to how they are feeling at a given point of time. The pages take the young readers on a roller coaster ride of happiness, to frowns and smiles, fear and dare, triumph and the importance of living each day looking at the brighter side of the world.


Reviewed by: Shubhra Seth
J Krishnamurthy

This happened a few days ago. A new-born calf strayed into our lane. Tender, delicate. Such beautiful bright eyes. Tottering in the lane she mooed so loud that quite a few people came out of their houses. The calf continued to call, looking this way and that. Gradually more and more people gathered. They surrounded her. Someone opened their garden gate. People took her inside with care.


Reviewed by: Shashi Sablok
Yemuna Sunny

This booklet about Karnataka comes as a new addition to the ongoing Nature-Society Series authored by Yemuna Sunny, which finds ways to think in innovative and imaginative ways about maps. With its striking sketch map and detailed artwork by Trripurari Singh, the book engages with socio-spatial transformations and seeks to converge ‘cartography and art, nature and society, information and criticality, map and text, and knowledge and change’ in the words of the author. 


Reviewed by: Ragini Lalit
Yemuna Sunny

This slim book packs a lot of interesting information facts and figures about Andaman and Nicobar, Union Territory of India. Located in the Bay of Bengal with close proximity to Indonesia and Myanmar, these 572 islands (of which only 36 are inhabited) are very strategic for India’s maritime interest. The relatively untouched beauty of the islands are increasingly facing the twin threats of growing commercialization and large infrastructure projects


Reviewed by: Bharat Kidambi
Ramu Velar

Tara Books is doing something fantastic. In its Makers series, it is bringing us the voices of craftspeople and folk artists, traditionally anonymous and unheard.  I raved about their previous book on the Gond painters of Patangarh and their work, and now here is a new one, A Potter’s Tale, on Ramu Velar, a master potter from Tamil Nadu.


Reviewed by: Laila Tyabji
Seema Chari

Better safe than sorry.’ A quote told to all in their childhood and one that stays relevant to this date. As the title suggests, the premise of the book revolves around this quote. Comprising 240 pages and ten sections, the book covers various topics from fire to the internet. A type of instructional book, it gives a guide to staying safe in daily life.


Reviewed by: Aditya Karnik
Charudatta Navare

Writing a non-fiction comic book for children on a rapidly developing area in science with many unknowns, is a major challenge. Charudatta Navare and Reshma Barve have done a remarkably good job of it. Andekhe Humsafar is a Hindi translation of the original A Germ of an Idea. While the author has used his biology background as a great strength, Barve’s contribution as an artist is equally important to convey the complex scientific concepts with the help of illustrations.


Reviewed by: Vineeta Bal
Priya Narayanan

The crux of the story is that the sun is up in the sky and why is Amma still sleeping?From one stand-point, this is a very small, simple story that tries to capture a very small slice of time-frame and space. But if you read it again after a while, some hazy images start emerging in your mind.


Reviewed by: Seema
Canato Jimo

Picture books, as a genre, are helpful in the early stages of reading. True to its genre, the book, I Love Grey, with its full page and sometimes double-spread illustrations and short sentences, gives ample space for imagination and reading practice. The text is simple, with some repetition—the phrase, ‘I love’—appears on each page, qualifying it further for a beginner’s reading book.


Reviewed by: Shivani Bajaj
Richa Jha

Duster is about a dog who is not really a dog. Or is he a dog but no one believes so? Duster likes things that a cat likes and he dislikes things that a dog is supposed to like. His human is disappointed in him for not behaving like a dog.


Reviewed by: Deepti Saini
Rachna Chhabria

In the first read, The Giggling Girl felt like a simple story with 6-year-old Gargi giggling through various happenings around her, through the seasons, through the year. Over a day or two, the story stayed and kept gnawing at me. I wondered if these giggles could or should be taken so innocently. I decided to take the story to a group of children who were in the age of 7 to 12 years old and see their response.


Reviewed by: Shivani Taneja
Shruti Rao

Every year, as I see the big black ants in my kitchen and garden, it is a signal that it is going to rain. I feel happy about the heralding monsoon. I enjoy watching them walking silently one behind the other gathering food or dragging a dead insect from one place to another. At the same time, I shudder at the thought of scores of them gathering on my kitchen platform.


Reviewed by: Anu Gupta
Pankaj Saikia

The title of the book is interesting in the sense that it gives you a chance to guess who is Number 5. Is it an animal? A bird? The illustration of little children on the cover page and their expressions tell us that they are looking for something. The trees around them suggest that they are in a forest.


Reviewed by: Deepali Shukla
Pankaj Saikia

A bunch of children who are travelling to see a performance are the focus of the narrative in Pankaj Saikia’s The Theatre of Ghosts. It starts with two young girls leaving their house with their pet dog. The girls and their dog think they glimpse a ghost on their route and are scared by it. Later on, we discover that the ghost was only a little child wearing a mask.


Reviewed by: Ritika Gour
Benita Sen

This picture book tells a village story about a kind, prosperous family that helps a farmer protect his harvest by making a scarecrow. Bhola, a farmer, approaches the grandfather of the family he sells his harvest to every year. He cries out for help to prevent the crows from eating the harvest. How can crows ruin the crop? From grandfather to grandson, every family member marches up to Bhola’s farm to investigate the matter.


Reviewed by: Nidhi Gaur
Manjari Chakravarti

The cover of this book invites you to look deep. It feels as if you are standing in a well and looking above at all the people standing there! The people—young and old—are all staring down at you with surprise.The story revolves around a cat, but along with the cat, humans play an important role in it.


Reviewed by: Indu Nair
Sushil Shukla
AMMA
2022

Let’s begin by saying that the idea of this book is a ‘found’ one and that the content highlights one of the most common experiences of childhood. Almost all of us have childhood memories of being lost in a mela: letting go of a parent’s hand and running after one or another compelling game or toy can cost a child dear.


Reviewed by: Teji Grover
Anjeev Anjum

Anjeev Anjum spins an endearing story about a copycat Lion, King of the Jungle, who wishes to assert his lordship over his subjects in the jungle just like the King of the land does over his subjects.


Reviewed by: Rina Goel
Reena I Puri

Alien visit, suspense, adventure and some life lessons… a cracker of a book that will enthral any youngster!The names of the characters in this beautifully illustrated, colourful book are as catchy as the story. Ma-Cluck and K-Chick are visiting Earth from their Galaxy ‘Scrambled’.


Reviewed by: Asha Sharma

Let us talk about what big books are. These are large picture-books designed to be shared with young readers by adults around them. By and large they are for pre-primary and primary aged children who are just beginning to enter the world of written texts.How do we use big books? The recommended format is to conduct ‘shared reading’ with children.


Reviewed by: Shailaja Menon

Thirteen years ago, a friend brought to my attention a series of reading cards published by Pratham. ‘You must have these in your school library,’ he had insisted and proceeded to procure them for us. I must admit that I was not greatly impressed with these cards, or I should say, the idea of reading cards. I am an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and wrinkled my nose at the cards as a substitute for books.


Reviewed by: Manjiri Nimbkar
Anushka Ravishankar

A richly illustrated children’s book written in simple, rhyming verses, A Rooster for a Pet is about a rambunctious rooster who turns the life of the author upside down. Bought by the author’s father, the cuddly ball of fluff soon grows to be a menace in the household, fluttering about the house, getting onto furniture and appliances,


Reviewed by: TCA Avni
Benita Sen

Reading aloud is one of the earliest means by which we share stories with young children and try to inculcate the habit of reading in them. Hearing a story which captures the imagination, provides enjoyment and introduces different emotions and situations and also creates a connection between the adult and the child being read to.


Reviewed by: Ranjana Kaul
Atanu Roy

टका सा जवाब देना, टके का सब खेल है, टका सा मुंह लेकर रह जाना, सौ टके की बात है—these are some of the instances where one experiences the use of the word ‘taka’ or ‘takey’. Children who are immersed in the English language may not even have used or heard this word before.


Reviewed by: Manoj Nigam
Shriprasad

Shriprasad (1932-2012), one of the founders of children’s literature in Hindi, is known for writing the most musical and rhythmic poetry for children; his entire oeuvre being a veritable feast of sounds to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. In many of his poems, there’s also an element of ‘nonsense’ which in fact, at times, has layers of meaning and borders on the fantastic.


Reviewed by: Teji Grover
Rajiv Eipe
DUGGA
2022

When an author is also an illustrator, or an illustrator also writes stories, and she or he conceives a book that takes shape—then the magic that happens is what you can see in Rajiv Eipe’s Dugga!Dugga is a wordless picture book, or a pure picture storybook. The cover shows the image of a fox-like dog.


Reviewed by: Parul Batra Duggal

Shailaja Shrinivasan & Tultul Biswas: Your writing is  prolific—for children, for adults and poetry. How do you keep in touch with the current generation that you write for when you write for children?Hans Sande: Apart from the impulses I get by visiting schools and kindergartens, I have no method or measure to keep in touch with the current generation.


Reviewed by: Shailaja Shrinivasan & Tultul Biswas
Hans Sande

Norwegian poet, novelist, psychiatrist, and illustrator, Hans Sande, pens two cavernous pieces of children’s literature. First, is the powerful, When I Came Home, the Horse was Gone and the unputdownable second, Frog. The texts come to us through NORLA, an initiative to promote the translation of Norwegian books and published by the Indian partner, Eklavya.


Reviewed by: Nidhi Gulati & Shivi
Indu L Harikumar

A sense of plain bliss pervades every page of the book—right from the beginning—right to the end. Little delights snuggle in nooks and corners of the drawings, and you may repent if you overlooked them when you turned the page in a hurry. You should not.  This happy boy, Mattie, draws the sun in the sky (in which can be seen a cricket ball) and turns to grin at the puppy who licks his feet.


Reviewed by: Rashmi Paliwal
Farideh Khalatbaree

There is a country in the Eastern end of what is known as the Mideast in the West. Iran—Persia of history and what we used to call Faaras, has given us wonderful works of cinema, poetry and other forms of art. Who can forget the amazing film ‘Becchha-ye Aasmaan (Children of Heaven)’ by Majid Majidi! Irani imagination stands out as a unique contribution to the repository of aesthetics that the human mind has produced. The same is true of children’s literature.


Reviewed by: Harjinder Singh ‘Laltu’
Hans Sande

Grief and loss are never easy to talk about, more so with children. In fact, death and children feel like opposites. Children are full of life, laughter, energy and hope. Death is silent, dark, still and hopeless.Can you write a children’s book about death and not make it dark? In the hands of master storyteller Hans Sande, this is possible.


Reviewed by: Swaha Sahoo
Priya Kuriyan

When I chose this book based on its title, Beauty Is Missing, I had imagined the book. And when I received it and held it in my hands and read the book, the story was far removed from my imagination!The story begins at a police station, where a woman has come to report her loving buffalo who has gone missing. The story then brings in humour, adventure, and also some filmy twists. Eventually, the thief is caught, and the story reaches its climax at the reunion of the old woman and her buffalo.


Reviewed by: Seema
Sadaf Siddique

A storyline where the main character has an episode of hiccups makes for an amusing read. Each character comes in to offer solutions to the protagonist, and eventually one of the solutions works out in the end. The theme of a recurring plot helps one stay engaged as the story goes along.


Reviewed by: Simran Sadh
Shals Mahajan

It’s been a while since I have been exploring alternative forms of companionship and family. The main intention behind this exploration is to navigate the potential that these two words carry. And then Reva and Prisha’s family grabbed my attention.


Reviewed by: Isha Badkas
Priyadarshini Gogoi

Ghost stories have always had a fascination for children and adults alike. This story uses an Assamese folktale—of the Jokhini—and gives it some interesting twists. The Jokhini is a demon who lives in the forests of Assam. In traditional folklore, she is a demon who likes to lure grown men. Here, while she is the scariest of all the demons, she is lonely and friendless. Her ability to be scary gives her the only identity that she is proud of.


Reviewed by: Vaibhav Parel
Yamini Vijayan

We all make mistakes. It’s impossible to not make any mistakes. Then why do we instill so much fear of making mistakes in children? Is it necessary to give them punishment for unwilling mistakes? Can’t we accept their mistakes gently? I think Roy’s Noisy Secret conveys this message subtly, but effectively.


Reviewed by: Kavita Tiwari
Ken Spillman and Silvana Giraldo

It was a normal usual day; I was working on a project and here comes my brother—loud as ever—into my room—turns off the light and fan—and leaves. He is very annoying. I was reminded repeatedly of this incident as I read this book, which is about a girl whose world is turned upside down by her big brother.


Reviewed by: Arya Badkas
Anjana Basu

The book comprises three short stories featuring tigers, two of them apparently true, and all where tigers and humans share a symbiotic relationship. All the stories are narrated by ‘Dadubhai’ to his grandson, Rohan. The ‘Tiger which Came to the Cricket Match’ is a true story, recorded in the archives of the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, one of the earliest clubs set up by the British.


Reviewed by: Bharati Jagannathan
Radhika Chadha

All summer long, Mannu the monkey has been dreaming of jamun. How he loves the ‘Juicy-shoocy jamun! Pulpy-shulpy jamun!’ When will they ever ripen on his favourite tree? He can remember how they tingle on his tongue with their sweet-sour taste. And best of all, how they make his tongue turn so purple-black!


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Arefa Tehsin

This children’s book is a pleasant surprise and a quick paced, easy read. It begins innocuously with Khalid running after their black-eyed kitten, Gupshup, who characteristically is fast on her feet, is soon lost within the walls of the Sanganer Open Prison. The rest of the story is about Khalid’s attempts to find his missing cat Gupshup


Reviewed by: Aakangshita Dutta
Mamta Nainy

This story is about a girl named Aadya, and how her life changed after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. When Aadya’s mother leaves her with her grandmother and the dog called Nimki to get her treatment, Aadya feels lonely and sad. She misses her mother all the time.


Reviewed by: Amber Khindri Biswas
Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan

There is an interesting quote that John Keating, a character played by actor Robin Williams says in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society about literature, ‘We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion and medicine, law, engineering, these are noble pursuits to sustain life.


Reviewed by: Lovis Simon 
Lavanya Kapahi

Colours are not only spread all around us, but they also bear an impact on our minds and influence the way we think. This book presents for its readers the rich diversity in terms of nature, culture and food habits around us.Although Lavanya has tried to weave it into the shape of a story where a small bird has to select a colour for itself, this is predominantly a thematic and informative book.


Reviewed by: Deepali Shukla
Yuvan Aves

The book is an absolute treasure with a most graceful rendering to help children discover their connect with the sand and sea and all life in between. It starts with a preface where the author, a naturalist, talks about how his interest in coastal biodiversity grew and how he learnt and drew inspiration from the wisdom of a skilled fisherfolk.


Reviewed by: Shubhangi Pandit
Geeta Ramanujam

Tales passed down from one generation to the next have been the mainstay of all cultures, countries and families. The act of sharing these stories is such a crucial aspect of a child’s growth that almost all forms of media, be it movies or television shows, make it a point to highlight the tradition of bedtime stories shared between parents, grandparents and children.


Reviewed by: Ilika Trivedi
Shilpa Rao

The picture book by Shruti Rao and Sahitya Rani is wholly disappointing. The grandfather here, ‘Thatha’, is the young narrator’s best friend, and they go off on imaginary adventures every day.


Reviewed by: Bharati Jagannathan
Soumya Torvi.

This is a story about a kingdom called ‘Moochhapur’. Bankim, a traveller on his way comes across this unique name for a place and wishes to go and see the same. The story is narrated by Bankim. When he enters the kingdom, he sees men with all types of moustaches—big, small, curled, and more. People appear busy with their work with large moustaches.


Reviewed by: Nitika Meena
Menaka Raman

This is a story about Sachit, a boy studying in Class III who joins the Wunderkind Academy and has recently shifted to the city of Bangalore and his adjustment perils thereon.In Sachit’s mind, escaping this new school seems like the opportunity for adventure and a gateway to freedom.


Reviewed by: Aakangshita Dutta
Samina Mishra

Jamlo is walking even today. She is walking for a world that needs justice and equality. Samina Mishra, Tariq Aziz, and Sushil Joshi who has woven the story in Hindi, haven’t just put down some words and lines and images. They have created a chronicle.


Reviewed by: Anurag Dwary

Question: You are a film-maker by training and profession. What brings you to children’s books?Samina Mishra: I came to children’s books via a film that I was hoping to make but didn’t. That turned into Hina in the Old City (that Eklavya has now republished as Hina in Purani Dilli), my first book for children.


Reviewed by: Samina Mishra in Conversation with Ruchi S. and Tultul Biswas
By Prabhat

These six books provide a glimpse into what is being written for children in Hindi today. Three of the writers—Sushil Shukla, Prabhat and Manoj Jha have already made their place in contemporary Hindi literature (for adults).


Reviewed by: Harjinder Singh 'Laltu'
Neetu Yadav

Naram Garam Dosti is a gentle children’s picture book. The story doesn’t follow a traditional pattern of introduction—problem—crescendo—resolution (or any other common pattern, for that matter). It is a slice-of-life story, highlighting the life and experiences of the main characters, and making several important points along the way—but never hitting you over the head with them.


Reviewed by: Dhruva Desai
Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena

Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena and his poems have long overwhelmed generations of children and adults alike. This fresh compilation of his most twisted yet savoury poems, with the title set to be pondered over Kitaabon Mein Billi Ne Bachhe Diye Hain, is a literary treat for all.


Reviewed by: Atul Wadhwani
Gulzar

The illustrative children’s book by Gulzar and Shaw opens a pandora’s box of curious questions and intriguing/thought-provoking responses. The book is a collection of Gulzar’s column ‘Agar-magar’ in Chakmak (the monthly children’s magazine published by Eklavya) and is enriched by illustrations by Allen Shaw. The dialogic writing style combines poetic overtones, opening up new avenues to fuel children’s curiosity to know more, to know better.


Reviewed by: Asfia Jamal and Kaniska
Premchand
IDGAH
2022

In life, we stumble upon stories of many kinds — stories that terrify us, stories that entertain us, stories that make us cry, stories that make us love. The entire world is just an amalgamation of stories, in the form of books, art, people, music. Some stories, however, leave an indelible mark on us. They inflict an emotion so profound upon us that we may spend our entire lives attempting to describe their impact and only fail.


Reviewed by: Alizia Kumail
Sushil Shukla

As parents and teachers we often wonder how to initiate children into environmental awareness and of the fragile world they have been born to inhabit. We often wonder if we can talk about climate change with small children, or if there’s a way of letting them in on the wise use of resources to lessen its impact.


Reviewed by: Teji Grover
Bama.

These five endearing books published by Muskaan, Bhopal break new ground in more ways than one. For one, all of them are written by tribal and Dalit girls and women. Secondly, three out of the five—Taalaab ke Kinare, School Mein Seekha aur Sikhaya, Jungle Kiska are written by young girls in their teens. Mitti is a story written by Madhu Dhurve as a young adult, about her childhood.


Reviewed by: Anjali Noronha
Naresh Saxena

Jiske Paas Chali Gai Meri Zameen is a book with a vibrant cover and a heavy title. The book introduces us to a family of farmers (wife, husband, daughter and son) who are enjoying the rains. After the rains, the family can be seen involved in the farming work.


Reviewed by: Nitika Meena
Prabhat

This beautiful book presents a collection of 66 poems by the noted Hindi poet Prabhat. It doesn’t rain as much in the whole of Rajasthan as it does in the book Pedon ki Amma, neither do the winds blow as much as it blows in Pedon ki Amma. You never see as many clouds floating as you see in the book, and nor are there so many animals anywhere as are in Pedon ki Amma.


Reviewed by: Parul Batra Duggal
Sushil Shukla

Pheriwale is a poem by Sushil Shukla written for young ones and published by Eklavya, Bhopal. The book has very nice illustrations on each page by Nilesh Gehlot. When children see these pictures while reading each verse, they will be able to relate to and understand the poem better.


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari
Gulzar

Gulzar is an artist who has worked in many mediums, and is yet always searching for his own medium. Apart from being an experienced script and dialogue writer, he has been writing some fine literature for children. When you read the book under review, Boli Rangoli, you get to experience a Gulzar of a very different mood. One that stops to listen to children, and learn from them, as much or more than what he has to offer to them.


Reviewed by: Chandra Prakash Kada
Various children

As you all may be aware, Chakmak is a children’s monthly magazine published by Eklavya regularly since 1985. It has a column named ‘Mera Panna’ (My pages) that carries stories, poems, articles and drawings by children. We can see the myriad abilities of children in this column, and children too can find themselves in these pages. This set of 8 cards is a selection from this vast treasure, and have been presented as one special card each.


Reviewed by: Lata Sangade and Shivani Taneja
Nirankardev Sevak

Here’s another collection of poems by Nirankardev Sevak —poems that you will find many a child singing along while doing chores or playing with odds and ends in the rural stretches of north India. The poems have been read and sung since ages—in school, at home and out in the playgrounds with rhythm and joy. In today’s fast-moving times of modernity where even children are often closeted within four walls, poems like these bring back the fragrance of the soil.


Reviewed by: Melody Xalxo
Virendra Dubey

Chal Mere Matke Tammak Tu is a folktale that Virendra Dubey has reconstructed for young readers. At some stage in our childhood, I am sure many of us might have heard the story, maybe different versions of it, from parents or grandparents. It is an interesting tale of how an old lady outwits the wild animals who want to eat her while she is crossing the forest to go and visit her daughter who lives in a far-off town.


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari
Gulzar

The book Duniya Meri is an emotional journey of the love that a father and daughter cherish. A timeless tale that has been described with both words and illustrations, it aims to address how, for a father, the daughter is his world. It portrays how little things, little moments shared between them are everything that matters for their happiness.


Reviewed by: Tanaya Soni
Chandan Yadav

Akeli Cheenti is a picture book exploring the journey of an ant, a bit different from what we have observed all ants doing.This ant is a rebellious one and wants to explore the world and so begins her lone journey where she experiences life threatening and dangerous ordeals. The sweet taste of freedom and new experiences start with the giving up of the temptation of her favourite food!


Reviewed by: Apoorva Raje
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

This is a short story by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan about the friendship between Afghan traders and the local buyers. This reminds us of ‘Kabuliwala’, a story by Rabindranath Tagore. In an era gone by individual traders from Afghanistan would come to India to sell their goods from house to house. In this case, it is heeng. These traders or hawkers miss their home and children, whom they had left behind.


Reviewed by: Aruna Patel
Divya Anand

In Misfit Madhu, Anand has narrated the tale of a grade 7 student, Madhu, who has a penchant for coding. She develops an app that helps school students swap their belongings. The story goes on to talk about the mini adventures of Madhu in the ensuing months. In narrating this tale, the storyline covers many dimensions of the psychosocial world of contemporary pre-teens.


Reviewed by: Toolika Wadhwa
Niveditha Subramaniam

Ammu’s Bottle Boat follows a plastic bottle boat on its way from Ammu’s hands to the sea, and the guts of various animals. Written in rhyme by Niveditha Subramaiam, the story narrates the grim reality of how plastic is ubiquitous and harmful to the world.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan
Sangita Jogi

What makes a modern woman? To Sangita Jogi, a modern woman pursues her own desires, is fashionable, and won’t get married unless she has a sense of self-fulfillment. In her book, The Women I Could Be, Jogi explores her idea of a modern woman in the art style passed down from her parents.


Reviewed by: Tarika Chari
Ameya Narvankar

As soon as I read the title of the book, I felt a certain excitement about the story. The title clarified that I was picking up a challenging and unconventional theme. There exists a significant dearth of stories about LGBTQI+ characters in children’s literature as it is left off as an uncomfortable topic


Reviewed by: Simran Sadh
Mala Kumar

Mountains have been shrouded in mystique since time immemorial. They are loved for their beauty and revered for being bountiful providers of water, food and energy. The sheer physical challenge they present to those trying to scale them commands respect! In Up the Mountains of India, they come alive with Mala Kumar’s lucid writing!


Reviewed by: Shailaja Srinivasan
Aditi Krishnakumar

That Year at Manikoil is part of a series named ‘Songs of Freedom’ launched by Duckbill Books in the year of India’s 75th year of Independence. It seeks to explore the lives of children across India during the struggle for Independence.


Reviewed by: Tultul Biswas
Hannah Lalhlanpuii

I cannot understand what they are fighting for–the MNF rebels. I am perfectly fine with the way things are; I cannot imagine what more freedom I need. Sometimes, I feel that people ask for too much.’When Blackbirds Fly starts off as a simple story seen through a child’s eyes


Reviewed by: Malati Mukherji
Devika Rangachari

History lessons in school can be pretty boring for 10-year-olds, with their rigmarole of dates, names of battles and rulers to contend with. They can be quite confusing and meaningless as well, for history happened a long time ago! Even something like India’s freedom movement can become a part of the very hazy past. The same events seen in the form of a story become so much more memorable and interesting for young readers.


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Lubaina Bandukwala

An interesting title, and on the face of it this book is all about a cooking club in Chowpatty, Mumbai. However, the title turns out to be rather misleading, for here is a story of India’s freedom movement as told by 10-year-old Sakina in the form of diary entries in 1942. Set in Mumbai within sprawling Parsi and Muslim households, the idea of fighting for freedom is fast gaining ground with Gandhiji’s Quit India movement.


Reviewed by: Nita Berry
Daribha Lyndem

I must begin by saying that I loved this book. Name Place Animal Thing is about growing up as a Khasi girl in the ever politically-charged Shillong. It is a book of connected stories rather than a novel or novella (as the inner cover describes it), the stories connected by the first-person narrator referred to as D. The stories are told by an adult narrator who is recollecting her past, her childhood and young adulthood.


Reviewed by: GJV Prasad
Mandira Shah

The story takes off on the school terrace with a young student manipulating a surveillance drone that captures a deadly secret of missing children and a shadowy figure known only as the Dragon. Two teenagers, April, a resident of Imphal and Shalini from the mainland living there with her father, an army man, jump into the plot to unravel the secrets running below the surface of this land, confronted at the onset, with the disappearance of a bright young boy handling the drone


Reviewed by: Ira Saxena
Gayathri Ponvannan

A story imagined in the backdrop of World War II and India’s Freedom Struggle. The protagonist of the story is a 16-year-old girl, Kayal. The story unravels as she maintains a journal to record her journey from her orthodox home in Madras to the war camp of Netaji’s Azad Hind Fauj in Burma and beyond. It is all about how the life of this school-going teen, with a patriotic fervour, takes a sudden turn when she leaves the traditional home of her parents who are all set to marry her off to 18-year-old Shiva.


Reviewed by: Shubhangi Pandit
Radhakrishnan Pillai

Chatur Chanakya vs the World Wide Web is the sequel to Radhakrishnan Pillai’s first delightful book, Chatur Chanakya and the Himalayan Problem, which introduced readers to the Super Six gang of Ganesh colony including Chanakya, the pale, slender and rather unlikely hero.


Reviewed by: Ranjana Kaul
Bhakti Mathur

Amma, Take Me to the Taj Mahal is the latest addition to the ‘Amma Take Me’ series written by Bhakti Mathur. In the earlier books Amma took her two sons to the Golden Temple, Tirupathi, Dargah of Salim Chishti and Shirdi. As the author, Bhakti Mathur, says in her introductory note, ‘The series is an attempt to introduce children to the places of historical interest and different faiths in India


Reviewed by: Neera Jain
Chitra Soundar

Friendship isn’t dictated by logic or form—it just is.’  This powerful quote encapsulates the conundrum in Chitra Soundar’s delightful and adventurous tale that is inspired by her own childhood in Chennai and a young girl’s anxiety of moving countries and searching for a new friend.


Reviewed by: Rohini Rangachari Karnik
Amit Majmudar

Heroes the Colour of Dust by Amit Majmudar is a book on the Dandi Salt March told from the perspective of sparrows. The story follows Blatherquill, Thunderpuff, and other sparrows, as they stop a couple of Britishers (and a mutt) from derailing the march.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan

An anthology of 12 teenage stories, this book covers topics like online dating, bullying, child marriage, and more. Each narrator shares a story that means something to them. Life lessons and experiences are compiled together and are easily immersible with illustrations by Ajanta Guhathakurta.


Reviewed by: Tarika Chari
Zai Whitaker

The story revolves around the town of Thapoli and its shenanigans around cricket. The search for an umpire, the match and the climax and the hero setting an example to follow are the focus area of the story.Cricket, which is seen as a man’s game with lots of complicated rules and regulations, is made easy for everybody to understand, using simple language and beautiful narration of the Thapoli town, and how Thapoli Ashes become the carnival of its kind for the town.


Reviewed by: Ankur Pandey
Dr. Zakir Hussain

Abbu Khan ki Bakri is a timeless tale written by the third President of India Dr. Zakir Hussain, who has written many stories for children. Dr. Zakir Hussain was born in 1897. The story, reflecting those times, is about the situation of slavery, the pain of bondage and the frustration and struggles for freedom. The story takes us to a Himalayan village of Almora where Abbu Khan resides. He rears goats and sheep with care.


Reviewed by: Brajesh Verma
Anirudha Umat
SYANA
2021

This book appears to have been nurtured by the warmth of the desert winds and the colours of sand. The empathy and sensitivity in the relationship between humans and animals in the desert-land depicted in the story touches the reader deeply. Images of the travelling camel caravans visiting my city every summer came alive in my mind while reading the book.


Reviewed by: Indu Nair
Vinod Kumar Shukla

Vinod Kumar Shukla’s new creation—Gamle Mein Jungle—takes us on a sailing boat into the deep seas of imagination.Are we any different from the rest of nature? Can we live in harmony with all other living beings? Be it a river, mountain, tree or elephant—what kind of relationship do we have with them? Are we trying to rule over them? Can we let all be as they are?


Reviewed by: Mihir Pathak
Vinod Kumar Shukla

Teesra Dost by Vinod Kumar Shukla is a delightful offering by Ektara Publications. Going by the number of words and pages, one might think of it as a short story. But as you get into the story and especially if you have read Vinod Kumar Shukla before and know his writing style, this perception changes.


Reviewed by: Shiv Narayan Gour
Vaishali Shroff

Andhere ke paar is a story of a young boy, SP, about 10-11 years old, from a middle-class (well-to-do) urban nuclear family, who is facing bullying by his schoolmates. Reading ahead, we realize that along with bullying, there’s also a dynamic of ‘unmet’ parental expectations and consequent disappointments that have led the boy’s struggle with his self-esteem, gradually leading to depression.


Reviewed by: Kakoli Roy
Gulzar

The book Zameen Humko Ghumati Hai is an interestingly inquisitive poem of how the author questions the wonders of nature, particularly the earth. Throughout the book and the poem, the author states his astonishment at the many attributes of nature.


Reviewed by: Tanaya Soni
Arefa Tehsin

Amra Aur Dayan is the story of a boy of about 10-12 years of age. It is the story of a day when Amra gets a feeling that everything is going to go wrong. In this day full of troubles, he has the company of his friend Virma. The day of troubles is so grave that Amra is forced to visit the hut of ‘Jeevti Dayan’.


Reviewed by: Bihu Anand
Amitabh Shankar Roy Chaudhary

Written in the wake of the Kedarnath flash floods of 2013, Himmat Sawar gives a fictional twist to the devastating events that unfolded during the flood. A novel for children, the book attempts to initiate a conversation between literature and ecology by bringing together the relationship between humans, animals, and the physical environment


Reviewed by: Aman Nawaz
Dileep Chinchalkar

Life is akin to an amusement park and birth itself is an entry ticket. Exposure to as many experiences as possible is normal to a person fascinated by life.’ The author lived by his words and the book is a testimonial to it. The book presents snippets from his boyhood to adult life and in no particular order.


Reviewed by: Karuna Amy Guria
Vinod Kumar Shukla

When I was to select a book for reviewing, the title Bana Banaya Dekha Aakash, Bante Kahan Dikha Aakash itself drew me towards this book. As if it was asking me, ‘Have you ever seen something like this?’ And the cover illustration too appears to have assimilated all living and non-living beings into the folds of the sky.


Reviewed by: Kunwar Singh
Priyamvad

On hearing the word melancholia, I imagine—crooning of a musical instrument, the sound of the rain, evenings spent in solitude, sailing on the boat during sunset, reading a pensive book, having a conversation with a person who lends an open ear and objective mind, watching sky change its colour, gazing stars under the night sky.


Reviewed by: Manika Kukreja
Vinod Kumar Shukla

Vinod Kumar Shukla’s Ghoda aur Anya Kahaniyan has six stories apart from the one titled ‘Ghoda’. These are : ‘Bahiya’, ‘Cinema Line’, ‘Heera’, ‘Kotwar’, ‘Sacchai ki duniya’ and ‘Gali-mohalle ki Jalvayu’.‘Bahiya’, alias a madman, replies to all questions people ask him in a particular pattern. The mystery of his unique ways and the pattern of his answering questions is revealed later in the story.


Reviewed by: Manoj Nigam

Around five-six years ago, it would have been easy to say that nothing was happening in the world of Marathi children’s literature. I would have simply left my comment at that. But since the situation today has changed, it needs a mention as well. It is high time that we acknowledge the bits and pieces of contributions and explorations, initiated and ongoing despite the odds.


Reviewed by: Madhuri Purandare
Madhuri Purandare

This series of 30 early grade readers has been developed in Marathi by Pratham Books to support guided and independent reading in grades 1-3, when children are learning to read.It is now widely recognized by educationists (though not practiced in most of our schools) that textbooks alone are insufficient for teaching learning of language and literacy.


Reviewed by: Amrita Patwardhan

Children’s Literature in Telugu is said to have had a golden period during the decades of 1960s and 1970s when a monthly magazine Chandamama was very popular. It was published in more than ten Indian languages. It had a fairly common structure with two-three serials, a Vikram and Vetal story and other stories dealing with test of honesty, cleverness and spontaneity, finding a successor to the throne or a bride for the son.


Reviewed by: K Suresh
Venu Gopalakrishna

A painting could be worth a thousand words but a picture book is worth much more, since the illustrations contribute much more to the story than the text. A series of ten Telugu picture books was published by Manchi Pustakam in association with Telugu Association of North America (TANA) in November 2021. Each of these books, adorned with colourful illustrations, is twenty-four pages long. Here is a sneak peek into what the books have in store for the readers.


Reviewed by: Pavithra VS

If I recall my childhood, we grew up surrounded by books, books of all kinds. Many of them had beautiful illustrations. Children and books were as if integrated.There were many authors in Bangla who used to write for children and all were among the established ones such as Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury, Leela Majumdar, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Tarasankar Bandopadhyay, Sukumar Ray, Sharad Chandra Chattopadhyay.


Editorial
Malini Mukherjee

A few months ago, I watched the film Back to the Future, an American science fiction film made in three parts. There, the protagonist, Marty, and his friend move across time and space, to the future to save lives and to the past for solving scientific experiments that have gone askew. Science fiction has been a part of various art forms in the West for centuries.


Reviewed by: Proma Basu Roy
Jaya Mitra

This is a ‘novel for adolescents’, a thing that is hard to define.  But the necessary condition for an adult writing a ‘novel for the adolescents’ is that the writer must return to her own adolescence, because years of growing up alter the life of the writer significantly as compared to the life projected in the story. Yet, the writer retains a flow of perspective on the world and life, and on the philosophical outlook.


Reviewed by: Priyatosh Dutta
Dipanwita Roy

True to the genre of science fiction, this volume is teeming with aliens and spaceships, time travel, robots, the future world and amazing scientific inventions that tempt wrong-doers and children alike. A wonderful collection of sci-fi short stories that will tantalize young minds.The stories are told from the perspective of a child-hero who interacts with the adult world or even aliens on his own terms.


Reviewed by: Indrani Barua

Konkani is spoken in four States—Goa and the coastal regions of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. There are 40 lakh speakers, of which about 16 lakhs are in Goa. There are five scripts used for writing Konkani—Malayalam, Kannada, Devnagari, Roman and Arabic. Recently, the Konkani community from Kerala decided to switch the script from Malayalam to Devnagari. With such diversity, an apparent challenge that one may encounter in Konkani literature is of transliteration.


Editorial

To comment on the current status of literature in Gujarati, overall and on contemporary literary trends, would be a contentious matter. It would be pertinent, thus, to limit the scope of this write-up to sharing some contemplations on the current status of Children’s Literature (CL), based on our experiences and engagement.The scenario in Gujarati CL is not encouraging.


Editorial
Manoj Sahu ‘Nidar’

Language is not only a means of exchange of ideas, it is one of the most reliable mediums of expression. It is also an importance means for the development and social-cultural identity of a society. Without language, humans are incomplete and disjunct from their traditions.


Reviewed by: Archana Cynthia Gour

The Children’s Literature sector in India has seen many positive shifts in the last two decades. The market has grown, the work of the existing not-for-profit and for-profit publishers has strengthened, new voices and publishers have emerged, and efforts to strengthen the sector like children’s book awards have increased.


Editorial