Just as we draw close to a fantastic festive season and inch towards the season of cosy mornings, sweaters, hot drinks and picnics, here’s a list of fun reads we have curated for the little ones to bask in as they get comfortable in their couches in the season’s mild sun and cool weather.
1. Wise and Otherwise: A salute to Life by Sudha Murty: In this collection of poignant and hard-hitting educational stories, the author emphasises the need for humility in life. A collection of 51 short stories, this book could be a kid’s guidebook to getting the foundation of life right. From the tale of a man disowning his own father and putting him in an old-age home to a tribal chief in Sahyadri hills teaching Murty why there should be humility in receiving too, the stories are drawn from the author’s own life experiences.
2. The Ramayana and The Mahabharata: These two great Indian epics should be strictly separated from religion, as kids’ minds should be free and rational beyond the scope of any religion whatsover, and viewed solely as great source of wisdom. Be it the selflessness of Lord Rama, the fall of Ravana, or the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjun, the stories and the characters teach us something or the other and can be very well applied to critical situations in real life.
3. Dollar Bahu by Sudha Murty: This one is an ideal pick for young adults. Murty draws an excellent case for a traditional joint family and the many facets of the interpersonal relationships among the family members, told from the perspective of a young woman, Vinuta, who after marriage puts out her best efforts to fit in the new surroundings and still get taunted by her mother-in-law, Gouramma, a reality for many Indian women even today. The book re-examines the complexities of human relationships, societal pressure, the many facets of patriarchy and the unrealistic expectations set on women.
4. The Misadventures of a Diamond Thief by Lubaina Bandukwala: Set in the backdrop of 16th century Hyderabad, this book is a breezy read that unfolds the journey of Sahabzada Hawa Singh Rafu Chakkar (Rafu), a descendent of the time-travelling thieving djinns, who gets a Herculean task of stealing the Shah-i-Noor diamond in the newly-constructed town of Hyderabad. Rafu wants to get rid of his family tradition of stealing jewels and wants to pursue his passion — cooking. How he makes his way through the aromatic allure of kebabs and pulav and whether he gives up his mission or manages to meet his target, will be quite a fascinating read for sure.
5. Starry Starry Night by Nandita Basu: This will be a beautiful introduction for young minds to the world of grieving, compassion, empathy and shared sorrow, as Tara, a music teacher at a boarding school who has lost her music partner and best friend from college, and Kunal, a 10-year-old who has lost his mother, who has come to stay with Tara, his aunt, navigate their individual griefs, are united in their grieving process and find a way to cope with losses and come to terms with life.
6. Grandmother's Tale by R.K. Narayan: Set against the backdrop of the British rule in India, the author traces the family dynamics of that time and the fine nuances of human emotions in the light of a seven-year-old girl child being married to a boy of 10. Bala, the central character of the book, the author's great-grandmother, forms the microcosm of the struggles of young brides of that time as the author skillfully portrays her inner grit, passion and determination as she embarks on a soul-stirring journey of finding her long-lost husband who set off on a pilgrimage to Pandaripur and never came back.