Aakriti Mahaja
HOPE: STORIES FOR A HEALTHY MIND by Pragati Sureka. Illustrated by Nina Su Scholastic India, 2021, 56 pp., 295.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

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. He shares his feelings with her and she, in turn helps him and his parents to seek a counsellor to resolve the matter.

The second story is of Kabir. This story narrates the experiences of Kabir in understanding his father’s depression. His mother explains to him about his father’s mood swings. The use of analogy of see-saw with mood swings emulates the feelings of Kabir’s father. She explains to him that one must share their feelings and seek professional help for a healthy mind and better life.

The final story is that of Shoma, who is a diligent student but becomes upset and restless if she sees clutter in any form around her. Due to this behaviour, she is often late and misses her school bus. The story explains her struggle with overthinking and worry about these minute details. Her parents are shown to be very calm and seek the help of school counsellor, Mrs. Dheer. With her regular sessions with Mrs. Dheer, Shoma is now able to control her compulsive behaviour and manages her time well.

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