My first introduction to The Jungle Book was a cartoon show that came every weekend, in India. I was 6-8 years old when I saw it first time and it was my favorite TV show. In the Indian version, Mowgli, the protagonist, had a boomerang, and how I wished I had one. The Jungle Book was written by Rudyard Kipling and was first published in 1894. It is about a boy called Mowgli who gets lost in an Indian jungle and is adopted by a wolf family. Mowgli’s teacher is Baloo, the Bear and Bagheera, the panther is his mentor and friend. Mowgli’s enemy is Sher Khan who waits for a chance to pounce on Mowgli and have him for a meal. The original book is a bit hard to read because the English was a bit different in 1894, but the beautiful pictures by Nicola Bayley helped me to complete it. If not the book, I definitely recommend watching the movie.
Indian mythology is my favorite in world mythology. We have great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The epics are filled with brave princes, beautiful and capable princesses, ferocious demons and villains that make your heart skip a beat. I grew up reading Indian mythology and fables like Jataka tales and Panchatantra that taught principles of life in a fun way. In this book, Tales and Legends from India, Ruskin Bond collects the tales from various sources: the great Hindu religious epics, Buddhist fables and stories recorded by early travelers. This is a beautiful and entertaining book that introduces you to Indian fairy tales and mythology. While reading this book, I was transported to childhood and also came across new stories that I haven’t read before. In Ruskin Bond’s own words, “India is more than a land – it is an atmosphere – and this book is designed to give the reader the feel of India and recapture some of its old magic.”
The Republic Day of India is on January 26, so this whole week I am highlighting books featuring India. Ruskin Bond is my favorite Indian children’s author. I grew up reading his stories and I cherish his writing style, which highlights the elements of nature. Cherry Tree is a picturebook by Ruskin Bond. Rakhi, is a six-year old girl who lives in Mussoorie. One day she eats delicious cherries and takes her grandfather’s advice to plant the seed. But the soil in her place is stony and might not be suitable for a cherry tree. Despite that, Rakhi plants the seed and protects it from hungry goats, savage bullock carts and other dangers. The cherry tree survives, flowers and gives first crop. It is a beautiful story that will encourage children to plant and nourish, and have a beautiful connection with nature. Do pick up this book if you have it available at your local library. Nothing is lucky if you put it away. You must make it work for you. – Cherry Tree
When was the last time you danced? How Do You Dance by Thyra Heder is a celebration of dance. There are many ways to dance, you can jump, shake, moonwalk and jiggle, just to name a few. You can also dance anywhere, in your home, at the bus stop, at the grocery store etc. We can dance when we are happy and also dance when we are sad. In this book, everyone encourages a boy to dance and also give him many ideas about how, when and where to dance. Will the boy dance? If one of your new year resolutions is to lose weight, then this is the best way to lose some. If not, just dance, there is no need of an occasion to have some fun. This book definitely inspired me to dance. I read this book while making breakfast and I did it while swaying my hips. Well, nobody complained about how breakfast tasted so all is well that ends well. The book is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers …
In December, I read a lot of Christmas themed picturebooks. These were books about Christmas trees, Reindeer, Santa Claus and one nativity book. I also read one of the books from Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series for the first time. Now, I am reading the whole series from beginning. The concept is that a brother and sister, Jack and Annie discover a magic treehouse in the woods. You can travel through time, in real and fantasy worlds by pointing at a picture in a book and wishing you were there. The Magic Treehouse series follows the adventures of Jack and Annie. Looking forward to reading exciting children’s books in 2020.
December was a good reading month, given that I had a lot of holidays. I read fiction, non-fiction and children’s books (next post). Among non-fiction, I loved Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book is a creative person’s bible and reveals the pleasures and pains of a creative life. The other book, The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven revealed 100 secrets for a happy life. Each secret was a statement followed by an example showing the application of the secret and supporting scientific literature or quotes. Among fiction books, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins were murder mystery/thrillers. Into the Water is a decent thriller but not as good as the previous novel, The Girl on the Train. Miracle Creek was a bookstagram favorite but it did not live up to my expectations because I guessed the ending within 30% of the novel. A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum and The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia were good reads. A …
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Room for a Little One tells the nativity story with animals playing the main role. An ox was in his shed. He sees a dog and invites him to come in. After the dog, comes the cat, mouse and a donkey carrying Mary. All of them are welcome in the shed. Jesus Christ is born in the shed among the presence of animals. This story teaches kindness and helping one another in time of need. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!