BEING GANDHI by Paro Anand – Shipra just shared this lovely review in the group! Reading level- 9+ but to imbibe the essence of the book -12+
There are a lot of books highlighting the glorious journey of Gandhi Ji: the journey from M.K. Gandhi to the ‘Father of the Nation.’ So, when I picked this book (from a book café that lets you choose a free book when you dine with them), I thought it would be just another ‘Gandhi’ book. But I had two good reasons to pick it – a) the author, Paro Anand (had read raving reviews of her books here at KBC) & b) pictures by my favourite illustrator, Priya Kurian.
I started reading it a week later with apprehensions and curiosity, and it was ‘unputdownable’. BEING GANDHI by Paro Anand is a refreshing new take on Gandhi. The protagonist, Chandrasekhar, a 13-year-old boy, finds the annual drill of essays, plays on Gandhi Jayanti uninteresting- “I don’t see the point of celebrating one man, one leader, year on year.” The young teen is baffled when his teacher throws an assignment – to behave like Gandhiji for a week, to follow his example in everyday life. He is left befuddled and has no idea how was he going to channelize the inner Gandhi. While he’s engrossed in getting done with the assignment soon, life takes an unexpected ugly turn. The story has the backdrop of the 1984 riots, the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi that left the entire country burning; people were recklessly killing people from the other community. Chandrashekhar’s best friend and neighbours who lived across the road are killed-the incidents leave him utterly shaken to the core. The sequence of events further brings out Gandhi in him. Without being preachy, the book takes us through how Chandra negotiates confusion, anger and fear and finds the courage and strength to stand up for what he knows is right. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” The book discusses not the man or his life but his way of life that must remain relevant even today. It urges us to find Gandhi within and keep it alive. How Gandhian principles can take through the challenges of everyday life. So, pause and introspect! The book ends with Chandra’s list of Gandhi Quotes. And ones that I loved are- “An eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind” and “the simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. “I would recommend this for every reader to get a fresh perspective on Being Gandhi.
Here’s wishing everyone an ‘introspective’ Gandhi Jayanti!
P.s. the only thing that didn’t quite impress me was the book cover, anyways, the story makes up for everything.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani for 8-12 years for those interested in Partition Stories.
Sharing books recommended by Shipra on Feelings and how to deal with them. In her words:
Feelings are fantastic, we just need to recognise them and learn how to express them socially. And of course, there are books to hold our hands & guide us through.
a) The Fantastic Book of Feelings: A Guide to Being Happy, Sad and Everything In-Between! by MARCIA WILLIAMS
This is a brilliant book for ages 5-9 yrs. The stories are written in a comic strip style. It discusses feelings like – being sad, lonely, jealous, hate, shy, angry, anxious. The characters in every story share their top tips to manage the feeling. It shares the top ten tips for keeping our feelings fit. A perfect guide to help us understand why we get certain feelings, recognise them, which will eventually help to make better choices.
Again a wonderful book for ages 6 and above. The book deals with the topic in an organised manner, explaining what is frustration and what all situations leave a child developing feelings of frustration. This particular book is a hands-on guide for coping strategies. It breaks down the problems into bits and pieces and provides simple solutions to step away from the negative feelings. The highlight of the book is the reading and writing activities that are given at the end that can help one think more about how to manage when you’re feeling frustrated. It also has detailed pointers for teachers, parents and carers to support and encourage the child to learn to cope better.
BABIES & TODDLERS
We read this beautiful and magical book, by Nancy Tillman, that is all about the power of wishes. A child and parent wake up one morning to find a wishing tree outside their home! So, what do they do? They wish, of course, and watch as their wishes come true! A world where the child wishes for unicorns one minute and to be invisible the next, the book makes you believe that if you can wish it, dream it, then it will happen.
Nancy Tillman’s heartening books are legendary and make the perfect gifts. All of our parents just love her books.
Hello, World! Birds is recommended by Aditi for every bird loving toddler. The Hello World series by Jill McDonald is extremely popular with our kbc childoos – especially HELLO WORLD! SOLAR SYSTEM and is ideal for 0-3 years.
Melissa & Doug Poke-A-Dot: First Words – Minoti’s Yashaswi was giggling away as he poked this book. In her words,
This is such an entertaining book. Every page has a big picture like apple, chair, shoes etc. basically familiar things which a baby sees around in the house and there is this button which when poked creates a ‘click’ sound
SEEK AND FIND TAB BOOKS WONDER HOUSE perfect for toddlers 1-3 years highly recommended by Achira for look and find activities. There are 4 board books based on different themes in this series.
DK THINGS THAT GO – Amardeep recommends them for eye spy/look and find games for toddlers.
Chris Ferrie books – Shipra recommends these books for curious babies, parents who wish to introduce non fiction at an early stage.
My First Little Librarian: Boxset of 24 Best Board Books for Kids (by the book tree) – Prerna Agarwal Pathak recommends this. It also comes in a boxset of 12.
PENNY TASSONI’S GOOD HABITS BOOKS for 2-4 years. Penny Tassoni is a leading early years education consultant. All the books in her good habits series are superhits with our kbc childoos! The first 4 include:
Time to Eat : Exploring new foods can be fun with this delightful picture book
Time to Make Friends: The perfect picture book for teaching young children about social skills
Time to Tidy Up: Share the art of tidying up with your little one
Time to Share: Show your child what a lovely thing sharing can be
Then came along 4 more books addressing other important issues which were published this year itself!
Time to Go to Bed: The perfect picture book for talking about bedtime routines
Time to Get Dressed: Getting dressed explained in pictures
Time to Go to Nursery: Help your child settle into nursery and dispel any worries
Time to Care: Explore empathy and kindness with your little one
Princess Truly books – the Acorn book is ideal for 4-6 yrs.
Minnie’s Rainbow for 3 years+. Quoting Arundhati who got this book recently:
It explains beautifully how a rainbow is formed. It also mentions the objects having the colours of the rainbow.But the book has one negative point, it mentions only 6 colours in the rainbow, not 7. It has omitted the indigo colour. And for this reason Mrittika didn’t like the book.. So, before buying do keep this in mind.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse books are very popular. Asha’s daughter Aarini loved them dearly when she was a smallie.
Thukpa for All (3-6 years). Neha Arora adores this book. In her words:
The name was enough to entice someone like me to be honest. Lol. It has been one of my favorite dishes from ages now. I can have it as my supper like every single day without complaining! Specially in winters. And guess what, the book comes with a recipe at the end. When I had received it, I was little skeptical to introduce it to Jahnvi (I assumed she was too young to be interested), nevertheless read it the same night and has been her favorite for months together and even today, it’s always lying with the everyday stack by the bedside. Even when we were both down with covid, this one book along with two others (details for those in the next post maybe) were our constant reads before bedtime, that too on a repeat mode. It not only helped me as a mother to introduce the concept of physical disabilities, and how being physically disabled shouldn’t take away your everyday joys as how with love and right support system, everyone’s capable to make the most of life like any of us, but we also talked about how the importance of a community (in general and inclusiveness ) in our lives. It also lead us to beautiful discussions about how the warmth and love of communities have always been the essense of my childhood too where we neighbors had a combined terrace and the power cut was an everyday affair. And how it would be such a party on the terrace with everyone dining together on a chataai under the “chataai of stars” as I hailed from a very small town in UP and no highrise buildingsaround at all to block the view of star filled skies thankfully. Oh yes mosquitoes too and that’s a different story all together . And how we would end up sleeping together on the terrace itself. She was definitely a bit puzzled and all amused , coming from the new setups in apartments with full power backups, nevertheless it is one book I really look forward to read to her myself.
LET’S INVESTIGATE WITH NATE for 4 years+ Quoting Amardeep,
I found this series “Let’s investigate with Nate”, and what a brilliant find it has been. Take magic school bus, jazz it up, fill it up with humour and many more adventures – You’ll get this series. Each concept is explained very simply through an adventure, and many many questions. The illustrations are absolutely brilliant, and help the child to understand the topic. Most importantly, the entire book is so fun that Neil and I felt like we were on the adventure with all of them. If you are looking to explain these slightly complicated topics of water cycle and life cycle to your children, I highly recommend this series. Appropriate for ages 4+
Usborne Lift-the-Flap Biology Punidha recommends this for 4+ (her sons are advanced book lovers) but we recommend you first check out the book on YouTube as it looks more appropriate for 6 years+. Quoting Punidha:
Usborne books are known for its quality very well. This book is great to introduce biology to kids. Each page has so many flaps and the text is crisp and clear. The illustration is fabulous so any kid would love it. The cover page itself has so much info and it made me to buy this wonderful book. The book covers topics on how life starts, how it works, microbes, how plants reproduce, animals, human body parts, ecosystem and some species in danger at the end talks about how human pollutes the world and how the nature needs help from us to save our planet. I love biology so I bought this book and enjoy reading it to my kids.
BE A VIRUS WARRIOR: A KID’S GUIDE TO KEEPING SAFE – an important book to explain the importance of protecting ourselves from germs.
My Little Sister Doris – by award winning Liz Pichon for 3-7 years: This is Asha’s current fave book on “getting used to the new baby” kind of books! It’s hilarious with the most outstanding illustrations. Brilliantly portrayed with the sweetest message in the funniest way :). Asha grabbed it from the Scholastic India Sale and has been gifting it since!
I Am Enough – for 3.5 years+ In Priyanka’s words…
Once a while we come across books that talk more with less words. One such book is I am Enough and indeed this is to inspire all of us here at KBC and beyond, a virtue that is so important- of self-worth, believing in yourself and knowing you are more than you know yourself.
I Hate my Curly Hair for 4 – 8 years. The story is about a girl who hates her curly hair. It has some bullying, some self-acceptance and a whole lot of hair!
Brown Like Dosas Samosas and Sticky Chikki: Inspirational Story Book for Children 5 – 8 years. A book that celebrates dark skin, talks about how dark skin is equally beautiful. And that there is much more to a person than one’s outer appearance and skin colour.
I Am So Much More Than The Colour Of My Skin . Achira has shared a wonderful review and inside pix of this book in our kbc fb group here. Excerpts:
The book beautifully touches upon the different skin tones and compares it to the beautiful things we see around us like the clay, the sand, coffee beans! What we loved the most is that it conveys a beautiful message in the most non preachy way. We must appreciate every person for who they are, the talent they have and not judge them based on what we see. I am so much more than the colour of my skin so please look past that and don’t judge me!
The illustrations are beautiful and the text is rhyming! A great book on inclusion.
All the Colors of the Earth Rama recommends this book: “There’s a gorgeous book by Sheila Hamanaka titled, “All the colors of the earth.” It doesn’t talk about the emotional aspect of it but draws kids into recognizing that kids come in all colors. And the language uses beautiful metaphors for each color. Takes away the judgmental aspects of light/dark.”
Khushboo Shah shared a review of both. In her words:
My heart: It is such a simply written book with minimal words which normalizes the various emotions we feel. Our heart will feel different things at different times (it will not always be hunky dory and that is really OK!). We must learn to acknowledge our feelings (whether sad or happy) and accept them. The most powerful lines in the book which resonated with me were “My heart is a shadow, a light, and a guide. Closed or open… I get to decide”. After reading the book, it felt a little familiar.
The Tree in Me: This one I had to read a couple of times to get the meaning. It tells that each one of us has strength and capabilities within each of us with which we can withstand any obstacle. It is spiritual in the sense that it helps us connect with nature (the tree, the sky, the sun, the wind). We are all one with nature and hence our souls are all interlinked. “The tree in me is strong. It bends, and has roots that go deep … down to where other roots reach up toward their own trunk-branch-crown and sky too.” These lines reminded me of “Avatar” movie and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series which also propounds the same theory. I think the more I read it, the more insights I will get from this.
I thought that my almost 3 yr old son Daksh will not be taken by these books as much as me. But he loves them and has read them several times (at-least twice daily) since they arrived. The illustrations are beautiful. The author uses the illustrations and the colour combination perfectly to drive home the message. And I love the fact that heart is yellow (not pink/red) and the tree is pink/orange.
My Shadow is Pink – for 4-8 years. Priyanka shared the most outstanding review of this book:
This story revolves around a boy who has ‘a pink shadow’ as opposed to his dad, brothers, male friends who have a blue one. Anything that falls in the box of ‘not for boys’ like pink toys, princesses, dresses, all of that intrigues him and he has the feeling of Self when he is surrounded by these things. His dad tries to console him stating ‘this is just a phase’, but is it one at all? He feels so aloof as he enters his school, on the first day since his pink shadow gets noticed by all his classmates and the room doesn’t quite befriend him. He is shattered and torn apart as he comes back home and just then his father stands up for him and gives him the courage to own himself and to know that ‘its not just a shadow. Its his inner- most you’. (Folks, I have goosebumps writing this already!). This beautiful story stands up for so many virtues, most of all to always stand up for who you are, no matter what your background is, no matter what color you like, no matter what is the color of your shadow. There is beauty in being different.
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by award winning Lauren Castillo. Recommended Age- 5-8years. Sharing Shipra’s review:
We spent our lazy Sunday afternoon reading a beautiful story of friendship- OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG: THE STORY OF US by Caldecott Honour winner, LAUREN CASTILLO. A story filled with love, a story that felt like a cool breeze on a summer day or a ray of sunshine on a foggy winter day. Sounds comforting ?!Our Friend Hedgehog- a simple story of friendship between a hedgehog and little Mutty, who lived on a tiny island away from the forest, just the two of them. Life was good; hedgehog was content until a terrible storm with the meanest wind swept her little friend Mutty away. Hedgehog was all heartbroken and sad and wept and wept. But she knew crying could not bring her only dearest friend back. She gathered herself up and began the quest to find Mutty in the mainland. On her journey, she met -an empathetic Mole, an intelligent Owl, a Beaver busy building his home of sticks, a hen and two chicks and the narrator, the little brown girl, Annika Mae Flores, who had recently shifted to her new house on the Tall Hill. All the characters in the forest came together to help hedgehog find her best friend; the journey made them all best friends.The sadness of losing an old friend, the courage to open up to strangers, the happiness of strangers turning into friends, the chain of events that lead to finally finding Mutty (though not in the best condition due to the storm) are all so heartwarming. Lauren’s colourful illustrations add more warmth to this sweet story of friendship. The artwork will surely inspire children to make one of their own.This chapter book, perfect for ages 5-8 years, not just celebrates the beauty of best friends but also encourages you to keep your heart & arms open for new bonding. It also acknowledges the power of kindness & the power of a community. The old friends are always special, but at the same time, you could write new stories with new friends.While we were reading this together, both of us were quick to relate it to our worlds – Sharav imagined his friends & life at school while I couldn’t help but think only about KBC. How in life we meet new people, from being strangers to friends, helping each other and creating our own story. Sometimes you make a friend and, it feels like you have known that friend your entire life.
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle for 4-8 years. Sujata and her son love this book. She recommends it for foodies, especially people who are into all things pancakes!
Scholastic Cookbook: The Magic Spicebox is for 5 yrs+ and perfect for little chefs and foodies alike!
The Long Way Home (Colour Fiction) by the acclaimed Corrinne Averiss for 5-8 years recommended by author & publisher Dr. D. Quoting him: “Delightful illustrations with a wonderful and tender message about keeping memories alive.”
Duck for President – Amardeep has suggested this for a query to explain the voting process to a 3.5 yo. “At this age, the child will only be able to understand the concept of voting and choosing a candidate from many, a candidate who stands for your rights. “Duck for President” is the perfect book to introduce this concept. It has the duck going around asking for votes too.”
Children Story Book – Stories With 2 Ends – Decision Based Alternative Story Path – Set of 3 books – Miracle world, The Underwater World, Toom And the Dragon – Achira suggested The Underwater World for the above query, “…a fun way to explain the meaning of having the right to choose your own leader is something you can try. The book that comes to my which we have is The story with two ends- Sathe underwater world. It is a story where the octopus who is the leader falls sick and he asks the fellow sea animals to choose a temporary leader till he recovers. How choosing these right person is important and makes a difference in their lives is explained quite beautifully.”
With Children’s Day around the corner two books about Chacha Nehru might interest our members:
Junie B. Jones series for 6-9 years
Dan Gutman books for 6-10 years. Amee Shah’s son’s favourite author!
I Have SPD: Let Me Tell You About Me – recommended by Sunita Tagra on a query.
WHATEVER AFTER SERIES by Sarah Mlynowski for 8-12 years
Andrew Clements’ school stories – Aneesha Myles Shewani got the bookset for her 7th grader.
A Boy Called Hope – Medhansh – our rockstar reviewer, recommends this for 9-12 years
NIMONA GRAPHIC NOVEL award winning!!! by Noelle Stevenson for 13-17 years and this was ordered by Asha for her teen daughter, Aarini aka #the14yearold
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures is Noelle’s second book for 14-17 years.
Pattern Writing Golden Sapphire Publications – highly recommended by Vandana for cursive writing practice.
Other books on Pattern Writing are available.
NEW RELEASES IN OCTOBER 2021
Coral Woman: Dive into the Majestic World of Coral Reefs with Uma Mani! by Lubaina Bandukwala (author of Thank God it’s Caturday!)
The Coward And The Sword by Jugal Hansraj
Tom Percival has new books up for release in October 2021!!
Erika and the Angermare (Dream Defenders) for 7-9 years
Chanda and the Devious Doubt (Dream Defenders) for 7-9/10 years
Silas and the Marvellous Misfits: A Marcus Rashford Book Club Choice (Dream Defenders) for 7-11 years
Tom Percival also has another series called DREAM TEAM for 7-9 years.
[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the book titles & images have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at absolutely no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you need information about other children’s books by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.]