Nov 292020
Review: Tales From The Himalayas
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Book Title: Tales from the Himalayas 

Author: Priyanka Pradhan 

Publisher: Rupa Publications 

Type: Hardcover 

Age Group: 7-10 years 

I’m lucky that I got to lay my hands on this splendid book, all thanks to Kids Book Café. This is the first time my 6 year old son, Sharav is reading a different genre. The book got us excited as it has picturesque Himalayas as its backdrop and we absolutely adore our mountains. 

A collection of 17 exquisite short stories, this book takes you on an exciting journey to the state of  Uttarakhand. The storytelling is simple yet engaging. The author has kept the stories short and crisp,  good enough to keep young kids glued. 

Each story has a distinct appealing theme which gave Sharav a wide variety to read, like & love. There are stories with moral messages, a few heart-warming tales about relationships, stories addressing  social issues, real life inspiring stories and a few had ghosts too 😉  

Though all were brilliantly written, we loved a few stories a little more than the others. “The Bagpiper”,  “The Snow Leopard”, “The Villain”, “Mischievous Teeth” and last but not the least, “The Postcard” were our favourites. 

“The Bagpiper” is the opening story which gives us an insight into the musical history and tradition of playing bagpipes. This story beautifully conveys a much needed message for children, “everything you  do in life should come straight from the heart”. 

“The Snow Leopard” comes from a grandmother’s bag of stories, who loves narrating stories to  children. The story has a little girl who displays the admirable act of courage and kindness which helps her win the love of her tribe. 

I would call “The Villain”, the hero of all the stories. It addresses a deep rooted issue of our society— “discrimination on the basis of skin colour”. The story has two sisters Kamli and Kisna as the central  characters. How Kisna, a dark skinned girl, realises that everything about her is unique, special and  lovable. How we look is Mother Nature’s gift and we shouldn’t ever be ashamed of that. This absolute gem vocalises feeling confident in one’s own skin. Each one of us is unique, so nothing  and no one should pull us down – a lesson very relevant for our children. 

The book also contains stories based on two real life inspiring characters: Nain Singh Rawat (explorer  & surveyor from Pithoragarh) and Gaura Devi (who initiated the Chipko movement in the village of  Reni in Garhwal). 

The author, through her lucid storytelling is surely going to touch every reader’s heart. This captivating book is like a breath of fresh cold air of the mountains and will definitely be loved by kids and adults alike.

I personally thought a book with very few pictures wouldn’t manage to build that connection with Sharav. But to my surprise, he loved it because the stories are written simply and to the point. And yes, the best thing – it opened up our discussions about the place. He loved the tales of friendship and also the naughty antics of twenty siblings in the story “Mischievous Teeth”.

If you have been longing for a vacation to the mountains in this pandemic, do order this book. Happy  Reading!

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