Read the summer away

Apr 21, 2013, 09:04 IST | Kareena N Gianani

We know what your children could (actually, should) do this summer �give structured leisure time and running between hobby classes a break. Perhaps head to the city's charming, hole-in-the-wall bookshops and libraries instead? Kareena N Gianani went book-peeping and found that the bookshop owners had eager recommendations on what your child could discover between their many pages

Maharashtra Book House, Dadar
Give this charming little roadside library a chance, and you won’t be disappointed. Run by Jethalal and his wife, you could rent books for a throwaway price and keep them for as long as you want before returning them. Here are some interesting copies we found:

Survivors: True Stories of Children in Holocaust, by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun: The authors interviewed nine Holocaust survivors and wrote this book from the point of view of their childhoods. A good way to let your children know about a grim event in human history, and also discover what grit and survival really means.

Why the Wagtail is So Tiny and Other Folktales, by Meera Uberoi: We loved this copy because it has folktales from all across the country— Naga, Bengal, the Chettiyars, the Santals and so on. The illustrations by Uma Krishnaswamy are beautiful, too. Have your child pick this one up to know about the lands around them.

MCubed Library, Bandra
Lazy cushions and peeping books, that’s what makes this Bandra library so charming for children. Its owners Vibha Kamat, Vaishali Shinde and Sonal Bimal will tell you about the many books your child could discover this summer. Here are a few:

Swami and Friends, by RK Narayan: According to Kamat, this is a charming look into the world of children and every child who reads the book will find someone exactly like him/her.

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne: This book is a wonderful way to meander through times gone by and come right back to modern times without losing a second. Slim volumes introduce the child to everything from dinosaurs to knights and the Olympics, and by the way, to reading.

Judy Moody, by Megan McDonald: Judy, our girl detective enchants and draws the child into her world. Here’s a secret: you’ll rarely see her in bookstores, but she is here at the library. Go now.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Kamat feels strongly about this one, and we can understand why. Just the right book for this age, it makes you think of justice, the evils that beset us and how, ultimately, it is always the individual who makes a difference. It is all about that one step forward, the willingness to see others as ourselves.

Leaping Windows, Versova
Ritu Desai, who works at the comic library Leaping Windows at Versova, has a confession to make—she says she could go on and on and on about books. If you’re taking your child there, introduce the two of them because s/he must hear about these wonderful novels from her.

The Cartoon History of The Universe, by Larry Gonick: These graphic novels are a series on the history of the world told in hilarious prose and pictures. According to Ritu, if your child has been reading for some time, s/he should be able to follow this book easily and will love the humour in the story. The cartoons, she adds, are the novel’s USP.

The Campfire series: Remember the Steve Jobs’ graphic novels released on his 57th birthday? Yup, that was a tribute by the Campfires series. This series, says Ritu, has classics written by Indians and illustrated by British illustrators. “I discovered them at Comic Con last year and love the art work,” says Ritu. Of course, she adds, your children should read Alice In Wonderland unabridged, but these graphic novels are an vibrant introduction to these works. Rest assured that your child will devour classics after this one.

The Naruto manga, by Masashi Kishimoto: An evening spent with graphic novels would be incomplete without manga, you’d agree. Holding a manga, feels Ritu, is like holding the Japanese culture and landscape in your hands, and a child will love everything the novwel can show him/her. “The art style is fresh, the works very solid and the experience rather fresh.” Ritu would know. It is because of manga comics that Ritu learnt the Japanese language, after all.

The Invention of Hugo cabret, by Brian Selznick: Do remember to tell your kid that the Oscar-winning film, Hugo was based on this novel. There’s some pretty cool poetry in there, which children will love, feels Ritu. They’ll also love the way it ends—no preachy morals but a thoughtful end to a thought-provoking book, that’s what makes it Ritu favourite.

Strand Book Store, Fort
Head to the first floor of Mumbai’s dearest bookshop and you’ll find the reserved Bhaskar (he prefers to be called just that) handing out books to children and their parents. We overheard a parent insisting that her son buy activity books, and ones which don’t have too many girls photographs (we wonder why). That was until Bhaskar suggested they try the following:

The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street, by Shabnam Minwalla and illustraed by Savbhu Kholi: According to Bhaskar, this book is perfect for your kid to read this summer because it is a gripping story set in the city. It is a story of you, and everyone around you, he says.

Moin The Monster and Moin The Moster Songster, by Anushka Ravishankar: Bhaskar says he loves this book because it has two things every children’s book must have—humour and simplicity. A monster who is pink and sings without much ado—are sweet dreams made of this?

Slawter, by Darren Shan: The third book in The Demonata series, Slawter promises to awe and scare young adults, and Bhaskar says that’s a good thing.

The Snow Leopard Adventure, by Deepak Dalal: We must mention that Bhaskar seemed very excited when he picked up this book. Here, Vikram and Aditya set off on an expedition to the Zanskar Mountains of Ladakh to search for the fabled leopard with a team of ecologists and explorers. Little do they know what awaits them as they trace the ‘Grey Ghost of the Himalaya’.  

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