Monday, August 28, 2017

eGranth- Anvita and Anika's Book Newsletter - August 2017 (Part 1)

eGranth - The Books Newsletter. August 2017 - Part 1

Editor: This is the fifth newsletter, and as you all know, it is being edited by me, Anvita Agarwal. This newsletter has sections too, and I have decided to add more in the section where I mention my studies, and what I have been learning at school. I have included books that are good books, and have been recommended to me by my father. All of them are books one must read, and I can guarantee that the person will enjoy it. My sister has provided half of the content and put in a lot of hard work into it, so they are well written. Later on, we might have themed newsletters, so one newsletter will have one particular theme on which the whole newsletter will be based one. Happy Reading! – Anvita


Percy Jackson – Heroes of Olympus

By Rick Riordan

Books in this series: The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades, The Blood of Olympus
Fiction: mythology: adventure
Age: 9 – 12
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN
Percy Jackson is the name heard universally. It is one of the most recommended books. Rick Riordan, also known as ‘Myth Master’, has written a wide collection of books with a fictional character named Percy Jackson, who is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. This genius has cleverly combined Greek and Roman myths together to form a series of enjoyable books. I had heard of the books but hadn’t read them until now. I started reading his second series of books revolving around a group of eight people – Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Nico, Hazel, Frank and Leo. That series of books is called ‘Heroes of Olympus’. The main storyline is their mission to prevent the Earth goddess Gaia from rising. Gaia seeks revenge against the gods, but isn’t in full consciousness, though she is still able to create the giants, her children. The giants are recruiting the monsters, and getting some good people on their side. Meanwhile, they caused more trouble by chaining Thanatos, the god of Death. This resulted in serious consequences. Anyone who dies, won’t stay dead! They will come back to life because Thanatos is not controlling who comes in or out of the underworld! Percy along with the rest must prevent Gaia from awakening and at the same time free Thanatos to seal the Doors of Death. The first series of books is the Percy Jackson series. This series is before the ‘Heroes of Olympus’. In this series, Percy along with Rachel, Annabeth and Grover, a satyr must prevent Kronos, the gods’ father, from piecing his body together and come back to full power. I loved both series, as they are interesting, and at the same time have many funny bits in them. The storyline has many twists and turns, that you don’t get bored, and long to know what will happen next. The story flows smoothly and each book has a new mystery altogether that you can wait for. This book is categorized as one of my favorite series. I am moving onto his other two series, which I’ve heard are as good as the others.

A Mauryan Adventure

by Subhadra Sen Gupta

Fiction: History: Mystery
Age: around 9-12
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN, Kindle

This book is written by Subhadra Sen Gupta. She has set thus fictional story in the time of King Ashoka, and the storyline talks about a girl named Madhura, and about a conspiracy that wants to overthrow King Ashoka. It is how Madhura and her brother Karthik, a spy, along with the help of Kamalika, a dancer who is also a spy, find out about the conspiracy and catch the culprit. I really liked this book as it portrayed Madhura as a girl of strong character, which rarely any books do. She describes whatever is happening in the story very well, and one can vividly imagine what is going on. My favorite part of the book was when Madhura helped Princess Sanghamitra sneak out to the bazaar alone. Sanghamitra longed to visit the bazaar alone with Madhura without the large entourage of guards who would escort her anywhere outside the palace. The guards wouldn’t give her the space she wanted and she couldn’t sit and chew paan, or eat the delicious, mouth-watering food from the roadside shops. This brings out another characteristic of Madhura. She is observant, and was the only one who noticed that the guards never checked the maids, who would pull their fine muslin dupatas over their head, and cover their face. This made it easy for Madhura and Sanghamitra to escape unnoticed. The story is written in simple, understandable English, and an age group between 9-12 would enjoy it because it has a mystery and adventure, which this age group enjoys.

Secrets of Zynpagua: The Return of the Princess

by Ilika Ranjan

Fiction: Fantasy
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN, Kindle

Like most children, I love books which take me to fictional worlds which I can explore and enjoy. Reading such books allows my imagination to run wild. Not all books are that great, and can’t create the same vision the good ones do, but this one did. ‘Secrets of Zynpagua’ is written by Ms. Illika Ranjan. She was one of the authors who visited our school. Every year, my school calls one author to our school to talk about one of their books that was recently published. Apparently, Ms. Illika Ranjan had come to our school before when her first book in the ‘Secrets of Zynpagua’ series had been published. This year she came to our school as her second book in the series had been released. Standard 7 and 8 were called to attend her session. During the session, she handed out free books to a few students. I managed to receive one of the books. I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She described everything in detail, and each part of the story is clear. The story involves many characters, and keeps switching from one scene to the other, but it is very smooth, and one doesn’t get confused. The whole book talks about a land that was once on Earth, and was called Zynpagua. The ruler of Zynpagua was Queen Sussaina. There were good times in Zynpagua, until Sussaina neglected her kingdom when she was pregnant and allowed Drudan, an evil scientist, come to power. The three stars- Sun, Venus, and Mars, that made Zynpagua happy and rich, didn’t bestow their light and allowed Drudan to rule. Drudan created a light called the Violet Light, that would kill anyone if it entered the person’s veins. The violet light was so strong, that it pulled Zynpagua from the Earth’s surface and threw it into space. This scared the people and they accepted Drudan’s rule. Drudan locked Sussaina in the shadow of the Moon, so she couldn’t escape. At that time, she got pregnant with a baby girl who would save everyone from Drudan. This girl was sent to India to protect her from Drudan until she was old enough to return to Zynpagua. The rest of the book talks about how she returned to Zynpagua and drove Drudan out.

Vicious Vikings Here We Go (Horrible Histories)

by Terry Diary

History, Humour
Age: 9-12 years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN, Kindle

A book on Vikings! Why on one of the most disgusting races on Earth? Well, that is part of the story, as Vikings are also one of the fiercest creatures on Earth, but also extremely gruesome and violent. This book is based on the life of the Vikings, their expeditions, Viking myths, and their wars. Caution: People with a bad stomach, or no tolerance for violence should not read this book. I repeat, they should not read this book. This book has a lot on Viking Myths and stories. It is a perfect way to learn about Vikings. These books are always filled with illustrations that are there side by side the information. The illustrations are extremely hilarious. Don’t worry! These are not your boring history textbooks, they are extremely funny, and have a lot of information that will interest you. This book may be filled with a little gore, so you can skip the parts that you don’t want to read. It conveys information in such a way that you do not forget it easily. The books are short, about 200 pages, so they do not bore you easily. There aren’t a lot of words on the page, so it will feel less like a history textbook, which is filled with words and dates. How frustrating!

Gita for Children

by Roopa Pai

Religion, Philosophy
Age: 9-12
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN, Kindle

The Bhagvad Gita, the book that every Hindu says is the wisest, and the one with all answers. What is so important about it? Why do people refer to it so much? The answers to all of this is found in this book. It is written by Roopa Pai. She is also the author of the Taranaut series (refer to the May newsletter for information on this series). As the name suggests, it is the Gita for ‘Children’, so it naturally isn’t very difficult to understand. Roopa Pai has written this book in the casual language children use nowadays, to make it more interactive, and interesting for children. She has translated the main points of the Gita into a book. Children of the present time, deign to touch the Gita. Her writing style is so good that even children nowadays will want to read it. To give you a glimpse of the book, I have listed a few lessons the Gita teaches us, that she has mentioned in the book. Some of them are:
  • Your work is your duty. Don’t feel any emotions when you receive the results of your actions. You should neither feel happy, nor sad. A man who has understood this, is the most contended of all.
  • You should do what you work is, and not want any reward for your work. Your duty is to do work, and not expect rewards. The shloka below rightly explains this in its two simple lines:

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते माफलेषु कदाचन| 
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 47 ||
karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana 
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

Personally, I loved the book, and learnt a lot from it. I could read it like a storybook, because it was so simple and interesting. The chapter names itself are so catchy and interesting. It was much easier to read than the other translations of the Gita in English.

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

by Theoni Pappas

Math, games
Age: 9-14
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN, Kindle

Maths! Oh my god! So many problems to solve. I need to memorize these problems! So basically, Math class is the class of semi-consciousness, and confusion. How about a fun math storybook? Most reply, “Nah. Can’t be.” You had better believe it, as I present before you a book that has explains Math in a simple manner, without writing so many equations. After each chapter, or in between a chapter, there are a few problems to check your understanding. To check the answers, go to the end of the book (Don’t cheat just because I revealed this juicy bit of information!). The whole book helps you explore Math concepts from the eyes of Penrose, a cat, and the main character in the story. The writer, Theoni Pappas, says she got the idea of creating Penrose from her on cat who would sprawl himself among the papers kept on her study, to take a nap (you will notice this scenario many times in the book. Penrose will spread himself on his mistress’s papers to take a nap). I really loved this book, as it was so simple, it cleared of the Math concepts that refused to get inside my head. Classes 5 – 8 can read this book, as the Math concepts in this book go up to this standard.

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures

by Malba Tahan

Age: 10-14
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN

As the name suggests, this is another mathematical book, is written by Júlio César de Mello e Souza, who also went under the pen name Malba Tahan or Breno de Alencar Bianco. The whole book talks about the journey of a man called Hanak Tade Maia, and his friend Beremiz Samir, who is none other than the Man Who Counted. It shows different situations and problems that Beremiz Samir. Each problem brings out the beauty of numbers, or it shows one of the properties of numbers. Most of the problems are extremely confusing, or almost impossible problems to solve, but notice how Beremiz Samir cleverly solves all the problems. I really enjoyed this book. Each problem is unique, and helps you look at problems differently, helping you solve them. It isn’t very difficult to understand, but you might have to look at a few problems again, as they involve a few concepts that are a little confusing. I found the book interesting, and I did not get bored. It helped strengthen my Math concepts. Standard 6-8 can read this book.

School Studies

Science, Education

Age: 12-13
Reviewed by: Anvita

In the July Newsletter, very little had been told about what we have been doing in school. In this newsletter, I am including a little more on the chapters we are learning at school. Till now, my favorite subject has been Science. I am enjoying all the chapters as they are interesting, and I am learning a lot from them. I have completed four chapters in Science, including all the parts of Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Last time I gave you a glimpse of what I had learnt in Chemistry through one of my science experiments provided by my school, so this time I will focus more on what I did in Biology. In Biology, so far, I have learnt nutrition in plants and nutrition in animals. I enjoyed the second chapter more, where they explain how food is ingested*, digested**, the nutrients are absorbed^, then they are assimilated^^, and lastly the undigested food is excreted~. I have learnt this process in three kinds of living organisms – amoeba, ruminants (like cows), and humans. I found the way amoeba digested their food the most interesting of all, and I would like to share it with all of you. Amoeba are single-cellular organisms, and their digestion process is pretty simple. Amoeba do not have a lot a very complex body structure, so they more or less look like unshapely blobs. When Amoeba find the presence of food near them, they form pseudopodia, false feet, that completely enclose the food. This creates a space, called the food vacuole, where digestive juices are secreted, and the food is digested.

*when a living organism eats food.
**when the food is broken down into simpler substances.
^when the soluble substances produced by the body during digestion are absorbed by the tissues of the body.
^^when the body uses simpler substances to build more complex substances for the body to use.
~when the undigested food is taken out from our body.
(... to be concluded in Part 2)

© 2017, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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