Merryn Glover’s India Books for Kids

When an author I greatly admire, Merryn Glover, talked about putting together a blog tour around the anniversary of the India/Pakistan partition, I jumped at the chance to be part of it. Some first hand recommendations of India books for kids? Yes please! Here is what she says:

I grew up in Nepal, India and Pakistan, so it was always important to me that my children – brought up in Scotland – had an understanding of that part of the world.  Along with my memories, photos, films and two special visits, I shared my love for those countries through books.  As August 15th this year marks the 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence, Barbara suggested I write a post about my favourite India books for kids and teens.  There are squillions of great titles out there, but these are the much-enjoyed books still on our shelves and available in the UK.  Listed roughly in order of reading age.

 

Image result for mangoes and bananas bookMangoes & Bananas, The Sacred Banana Leaf & The Great Race: Nathan Kumar Scott

Nathan Kumar Scott (http://www.nathankumarscott.com/my-books) is an old school friend who has written a series of picture books based on Indian folk tales, each title drawing from a different form of folk art.  The results are exquisite books with enchanting stories.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mangoes-Bananas-Nathan-Kumar-Scott/dp/8186211063/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848817&sr=1-3&keywords=nathan+kumar+scott

 

Image result for One grain of riceOne Grain of Rice: Demi

This book was a gift to my sons from a former teacher of mine and is sub-titled “A Mathematical Folktale”.  It’s an adaptation of a traditional Indian story that uses a girl’s clever plan to explore both maths and morals.  It’s also beautifully illustrated in a style drawn from Moghul art.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Grain-Rice-Mathematical-1997-03-01/dp/B01K13KL6I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501847985&sr=1-1&keywords=one+grain+of+rice

 

Ancient Civilisations – Indian Myths: Shahrukh Husain & Bee Willey  This is a collection of tales from India’s rich store of mythology with vivid pictures and a helpful glossary.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Indian-Myths-Stories-Ancient-Civilisations/dp/0237533766

 

Indian Tales, A Barefoot Collection: Shenaaz Nanji & Christopher Corr  “The trip of a lifetime!” the book announces and so it is, with brightly coloured maps, stories and information from eight regions in India and a long list of sources at the back.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Indian-Tales-Collection-Shenaaz-Nanji/dp/1846860822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848238&sr=1-1&keywords=indian+tales+barefoot+collection

Image result for Amazon the jungle books by rudyard kiplingThe Jungle Books: Rudyard Kipling – We all know the wonderful Disney film, but how many of us have ventured with Mowgli and his animal friends through the pages of Kipling’s books?  I can guarantee a wild time!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Jungle-Rudyard-Kipling/1856132536/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848677&sr=1-4&keywords=the+jungle+book

 

The Village by the Sea, Anita Desai  I taught this poignant story of poverty and courage to my S1 English class in India many moons ago and fell in love with it.  By a Booker prize-winning author, it is strong writing that will draw readers close to the characters and the dilemmas of their lives.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Village-Sea-Puffin-Anita-Desai/0141359765/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848616&sr=1-1&keywords=village+by+the+sea

 

The Wheel of Surya, Jamila Gavin This is the first of a trilogy that begins with a brother and sister in India when their lives are splintered by Partition in 1947 and they end up on a boat to England.  I read it to my sons on a visit to India when they were 12 and 10, and we were captivated.  The other books in the series are The Eye of the Horse and The Track of the Wind

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wheel-Surya-Trilogy-Jamila-Gavin/dp/0749747447/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848901&sr=1-1&keywords=the+wheel+of+surya

 

Malgudi Days, R K Narayan  I first discovered this glorious little collection of stories when I taught S4 pupils in Kathmandu and have returned to it many times since.  Short and deceptively simple, they are full of wisdom, humour and deep humanity.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Malgudi-Days-Astrologers-Lawleyroad-Classics/dp/0143039652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501848739&sr=1-1&keywords=R+K+Narayan+Malgudi+Days

 

Narayan said of India that ‘the writer has only to look out of the window to pick up a character and thereby a story.’  Which is good news for us, as we need only to dip into one of the many brilliant books from India to meet those characters and enter their stories.  Join me there!

 

Image result for a house called askival

Merryn Glover is a writer of fiction and plays with work widely anthologised and broadcast  on Radio Scotland and Radio 4.  She has also worked as an English, drama and dance teacher and currently spends two days a week in a high school library, loving the magic of bringing books and kids together. 

Her novel for adults (and intelligent older teens), A House Called Askival, is set in north India and spans 70 years of history, including the cataclysmic events of Independence and Partition.

Links: A House Called Askival http://www.merrynglover.com/askival-2/

Website www.merrynglover.com

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