If you look into our home library, we have a small section dedicated to Indian authors. Why am I emphasising Indian authors? Of late I can see kids talk a lot about trees which are growing in another part of the world or learn about major countries or flaunt about the foreign illustrators. (I won’t say don’t read them) Do our kids know about the culture or streets or local cuisine of India or famous things in the city we are staying in?
To speak the truth, Nathan also doesn’t know much about our villages or towns or streets of the place we live (know our house’s surroundings, though?) but can know about the streets of London from a recent read. We all know books are a powerful medium to transfer anything around us. So why not use them to teach the actual identity of our country and also the regional language?
Back then, there were few Indian publishers for children’s books. I would say Nathan is very lucky to grow up with beautifully illustrated books from various publishers like Tulika Pratham Tara books, Karadi Tales, Tota books, etc… who are giving equal competition to Julia Donaldson or Eric Carle, or Oliver Jeffers books (not saying they are bad) economically.
The world is booming and there is a great boon in IT which made our lives revolve around metro cities. If you ask Nathan what is a village fair or what is a bullock cart or what is famous in your city, he will think. Ok, he knew bullock cart as a school near us conducts a fair each year and he gets to see bullock cart. In fast-growing IT, we have different language speaking people around us and our kids naturally converse in English. Now our regional language is losing its identity, and what will our kids do if they want to converse with people in a local shop?
Here I am jotting down a few books, which we can remind them how diverse our country is and how beautifully we have Indian publishers who bring out outstanding books in our regional language, too, for our children. A few comparisons also, I will make and how awesome are our Indian authors and illustrators are.
We love reading Gajapati Kulapati series; the story is basically about an elephant, but it beautifully talks about a village. How each people is ready to help one another and how they are enjoying playing outdoors. Once we pick these books, we will surely sow a seed in their head to explore their surroundings and play outdoors.
Another beautiful read is the Food Monster, which talks about food and the village fair. The only fair I remember is attending our church’s food fair or exhibition and devouring all the delicacies that are sold. This book beautifully talks about a fair and how a young boy eating all the delicacies and comparing with different shapes. This book will open up a dominant topic to talk about your regional foods and how you enjoyed them back then.
Soda and Bonda is a quirky tale of friendship between two unique characters, ye they get along so well. This book can be taught to our children how to nurture friendship, seeing no differences.
How about reminding them about the street of India! Pick the book Where’s the cat or Maharani the cow. Ponni lost her cat, and she took us through a busy street in a town. The kids will get to familiarise themselves with a town and get connected. Maharani the cow is about our crowded streets and how slowly the cow moves amid the traffic.
How many of us know the long scooter rides or auto rides or rickshaw rides to school? I remember my mom telling us the story of her rickshaw ride to school and we will listen curiously and imagine how rickshaw would be. I and my brother travel on our school bus and Nathan, before he could start school, we are pandemic stuck. He hasn’t travelled by bus/auto and knew only about the car or metro. Let’s go—Anthara Mohan is a perfect book to learn about types of Indian vehicles and you will also witness different scenes on each page where you will relish your old memories.
Discover India by Sonia Mehta is a beautiful set of books that can take you for a grand tour across India. So virtually travel India at the luxury of your home.
Do you all visit the Sunday market or Friday market or any market? If no, pick this illustrated book You can’t find me and know what is a market is and how you can enjoy small pleasures by seeing the crowd and seeing the local goods.
Do you think only she is talking about Indian culture and many foreign authors write books along with a message? I have an exquisite book that talks about gratitude, thankfulness, and bullying. Ekki Dokki is a story about two girls where one girl always bullies another one, yet she got her heart’s desire filled by her genuine helping tendency. Read this book and remind your kid how to be grateful.
What makes me ME: it conveys how each unique ME makes a diverse WE, and how it’s “being part of WE that makes me ME”! A must-have book to embrace the uniqueness of each person.
How about learning about Kashmir and how to empathize with the situation prevailing there? Read Mazzoo Mazzo by Sandhya Rao and hear the beautiful Kashmiri tale and also learn about Kashmiri embroidery.
Do you want to know how your food is grown and comes on your plate? Read farmer Falgu By Chitra Soundar and learn about fresh produce.
Many art forms are pronominal to India. Many gorgeous books are published, and a few of them are Dotted lines visit the bhil carnival, Dancing on walls, A for ajrakh, Cave art, Where’s the sun?…
How about a book that converts to a playmat or a truck by Miles Kelly. Sounds cool, right: A similar book called Indian Beach is published by Tara books and you can sit inside the book or act as a playmat or flip the pages like a book. This book tells about the beach, fish sellers, and the crowd that enjoys the evening play.
You have a book published by the DK publisher to learn about India’s Flora and fauna. Pick Big little nature books instead of any highly illustrated foreign author book, which is not relevant to our country’s nature.
Last, a beautiful book to cherish our bonding with our grandparents: pick Grandma’s eyes and say the importance and how lucky is to have a grandma.
Now you may wonder, where can I buy them? Many bookstores are emphasising the foreign illustrator’s titles in the front rack of their shop to attract customers. Few independent book stores stock these books in a physical store. But fret not—you have immense options to buy these books online directly from the Publisher’s website or small entrepreneurs running a small business in social media. Also, look for book fairs happening in your city and support these local publishers who have a stall in that.
You can find the list of websites and how you can buy them CLICK HERE
To read similar Indian author books CLICK HERE
A list of 15 books I have recommended to learn about India CLICK HERE
Make sure you teach them to read and speak in your regional language. Globalization let us not lose our language and identity of who we are. Read a lot of Indian author books and let us support our publishers to come out with more awesome reads. Let us give our kids an environment to read many local books and let them experience the joy we once had. Also, one of the reasons to read them is they are so pocket-friendly.
“A balance in everything is always good to keep running,”
Would love to hear your views!