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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > How these new titles tap into Indias diverse cultural landscape

How these new titles tap into India’s diverse cultural landscape

Updated on: 23 February,2024 07:24 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nandini Varma | theguide@mid-day.com

Zhevili, Shaana and Damayanti are young, bright girls who shine as intelligent voices in these new titles. Check out why we think they are mini superstars

How these new titles tap into India’s diverse cultural landscape

Zhevili and her friends from What’s My Mother Tongue? ILLUSTRATION COURTESY/Canato jimo

Authors of children’s literature across India are finding new ways to tell stories. A child’s curiosity is always the driving force. Nothing is too big or small a subject, when it concerns a young, inquisitive mind. This understanding is helpful because it brings out unique stories from the authors’ storylines and unique ways of narrating them. These are crucial factors in fostering, from a young age, a love of reading. Tapping into India’s diverse cultural landscape, these new titles also act as valuable instruments to showcase how today’s kids can express themselves.


A panel from North, South, East, West. ILLUSTRATION COURTESY/Kavita Singh Kale
A panel from North, South, East, West. ILLUSTRATION COURTESY/Kavita Singh Kale


Of mother tongues, among other things


Written by Abokali Jimomi and illustrated by Canato Jimo, What’s My Mother Tongue? is a tender attempt towards introducing young readers to the endangered languages and dialects of Nagaland. With English being a popular medium of instruction in schools, over 50 Naga languages and dialects have seen a radical fall in the number of their speakers. In the book, young Zhevili’s school in Nagaland celebrates Language Day to educate kids about this. Zhevili and her friends participate by introducing themselves in their mother tongues. In addition to this, their teachers encourage the students to come dressed up in ethnic clothes to keep a significant part of their identity alive.

Around the country in five months

North, South, East, West by CG Salamander — and illustrated by Kavita Singh Kale — is written in the form of 12 letters. Little Shaana travels across the four coordinates of India for five months and writes to her classmates, sharing what she sees. Readers travel with her from the Thajiwas Glacier in Kashmir to a boat ride in the Sunderbans in West Bengal, from the dry desert in Gujarat to the Olaikaadu beach near Chennai. One of the most endearing moments in the book is to encounter her intrigue on finding out that Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh aren’t exactly close, even though they share the same surname: “I thought all the Pradesh states sat next to each other.”

Damayanti the detective. ILLUSTRATION COURTESY/Nivedhita SUBRAMANIAM
Damayanti the detective. ILLUSTRATION COURTESY/Nivedhita Subramaniam

Sharing is caring

Niveditha Subramaniam’s Damayanti the Detective follows Damayanti, the master crime-solver, on one of her quests. Her father has reported that his handkerchief is missing; her grandmother is missing a hairpin; Damayanti cannot find one of her favourite socks. As she munches on her snacks, she carefully lists down all possible suspects. One day on one of her walks, however, she solves the mystery when she notices that the missing items are, in fact, helping a little creature stay warm. It’s a sweet lesson for young readers in learning to share and care.  

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