Look on the bright side
Young minds, and you, could do with hope and positivity. India's fave children's book authors curate a reading list of happy endings for The Guide reader
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." These words by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore that had warmed our hearts years ago have been coming back to us in the past couple of weeks. How often have we all as kids resorted to stories — whether by curling up with books or spending hours listening to our grandmothers — to tide over a bad day? Apart from missing friends and giving up the freedom to play just about anywhere, children across the world have been trying to comprehend new words like lockdown and pandemic; words that even we, adults, are still getting used to. In such times, stories of hope and sunshine are all we have. We reached out to a few children's authors to share their reccos for these testing times.
"There's nothing like a well-written school series to keep tweens occupied for hours," says Bijal Vachharajani, author of A Cloud Called Bhurra, suggesting the Nimmi series by Shabnam Minwalla. "It is about eleven-year-old Nimmi who loves coining words such as spectabulous and is always up to something. It can strike a chord with tweens, who may see themselves in these stories." She also encourages kids to try Puchku Seeks a Song by Deepanjana Pal, saying, "It encourages young readers to understand the value of friendship and what it means to be there for each other, which is especially relevant now."
Get some inspiration
Chennai-based Sandhya Rao, who recently authored the book Zakir and His Tabla, picks The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Byran Mealer. "It's about a little boy in Malawi, Africa, which has faced a famine. The boy, who is interested in science, goes on to invent a windmill that changes the economy of the state. It's a positive and inspiring story," she says, adding parents should set aside time to read together with their kids during this phase.
If you're looking for some feel-good stories, check out Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, says author Ranjit Lal. "It's a beautifully written, fuzzy, warm book that will leave you feeling good. It's filled with unforgettable characters like Mole, Ratty, Mr Badger and Toad of Toad Hall." The author of How Wondrous Is That: Nature's Bizarre also suggests Rosy is My Relative, by Gerald Durrell. "It's a comic story about the adventures of a young man who's been bequeathed a lovable elephant, with a weakness for drink, by an uncle and is determined to get rid of the benign beast before it ruins him," he adds.
Bal Sahitya Puraskar winner Paro Anand's first pick is Flyaway Boy by Jane De Suza, a book about a boy called Kabir who keeps trying to fit in, but can't, and then goes missing. "It's told with a lot of humour and seems light-hearted, but it is also an important read for parents," says the author of No Guns at My Son's Funeral. She also suggests You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Giona, a book that deals with discrimination and special needs. "The story is contemporary, has young people's language, and is very uplifting."
Also check out
. Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter by Jean-Yves Ferri
. Scribble Witch: Notes in Class by Inky Willis
. When Ali Became Bajrangbali by Devashish Makhija
. Rusty and the Magic Mountain by Ruskin Bond
. Jataka Tales (ACK)
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