Monday, September 23, 2013

A Guide to 101 Indian Children's Books We Love!



'101' is an amazing guidebook which gives us a sneak peek at the vast variety of Indian books available to children at various stages of their growing up years. It gives details of books like the author, illustrator, publisher and price. We are happy to note that four books, "Annual Haircut Day', 'The Monsoon Concert', 'Phani'sFunny Chappal' and 'Handmade in India',  published by Pratham Books, have made it to '101'!


Parents keen on getting their children on the reading wagon, here's good news for you. '101' lends you a helping hand by grouping the books based on age. 


Today, many of us lead fast-paced lives, with barely enough time to stop and think, much less sit and read. But there are some others who take to books and how! Books become their constant companion, guide and friend. But when is it the right time to shake hands with this to-be-friend? "It's never too soon!" says UK based writer, editor and children's book consultant, Wendy Cooling.

Cooling, in her article on books and early childhood points out the differences between a child who has been around books from a very early age and a child who encounters a book for the very first time in school. I have to agree with her  when she says that parents who read to their tiny tots and introduce them to picture books, actually help in building the child's power of concentration in addition to colouring their imagination.

I'm in agreement with her as, as recently as a few months ago, I used to tell stories to my two and a half year old cousin at bed time or to distract her when she got cranky. But now, she has begun to tell me stories! Her latest was about a BIG croc that ate a sma....ll fish. And boy, is she hooked to stories now!

'What do you speak at home?' 'English!' comes the prompt reply from most kids living in cities today.  '101' features an article by Radhika Menon, publisher and managing editor of Tulika Publishers, in which she discusses the importance of bilingual books and its impact on children. According to her, reading in one's own language is an enriching experience for kids and reading in another language  is an empowering one. Yay! Nanige Kannada baruthe! (I can speak Kannada) :)

Another treat is that our very own Manisha Chaudhry, Content Head at Pratham Books, has contributed to the richness of this book. Reading is not just another brick in the wall, but is "the most basic building block in education", says she. She adds a cultural and historical touch to children's literature in Hindi. By walking us back to the past, she unfolds to us the development of Hindi children's literature.



Through the peephole '101', we see the colourful world of Indian literature winking back at us. Literature in various Indian languages has not only been introduced to us in this book, but we are also presented with a long list of promising, fun books that are must-reads! By bringing out the importance of bilingual books and books in other Indian languages, '101' says, "Onward, forward Indian Literature!". This makes it a must-read too!

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