Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Our Indic Book Recommendations

From among all the books we covered in our monthly newsletters, here are some that we recommend on topics that are Indian or written by Indian authors. Hope you like them!

Six Spellmakers of Dorabjee Street, by Shabnam Minwalla 

Age: 10+ 
Category: fiction, adventure 
I can promise you a lot of laughs from this.  Nivi and her brother Nikhil, have just moved into a dull grey building called Cosy Castle, on Dorabji Street in Mumbai. She adjusts quickly with her surroundings and befriends a girl named Sarita. Their favourite spot was the garden located in the apartment. The garden had two large Bimbli trees which they used to climb and read books on. Two old ladies, Mrs. Braganza and Mrs. Katodia hate to see children laughing and playing, and start to plot together to inflict misery on the innocent children. Nivi, Nikhil, Rehaan, Sarita, Venu and Vijay must save the bimbli trees, their favourite spot.
Reviewed in our July 2017 eGranth newsletter 

A Mauryan Adventure, by Subhadra Sen Gupta 

Age: 9+ 
Category: fiction, history, mystery 
Set in the time of King Ashoka, the book is about a girl named Madhura and a conspiracy 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,
Reviewed in our Aug 2017 eGranth newsletter! 

Gita for Children, by Roopa Pai 

Age: 12+ 
Category: Religion, Philosophy 
It reads like a storybook, simple and interesting. The chapter names itself are catchy.  Reviewed in our Aug 2017 eGranth newsletter. 

Sita - Warrior of Mithila, by Amish Tripathi

Age: 10+
Category: mythology, religion, fiction
The book starts with Sita’s birth. The book was very interesting and full of suspense. If you read the whole book you will find a very unexpected traitor at the end. I found it better than the first one.

The Thama Stories, by Kamala Laxman 

Age: 6+ 
Category: Fiction, animals 
I truly adore this book! My favourite tale is the first one, in which he befriends a little sparrow named Gumchikki. The tale starts with Thama's mother leaving him alone in the woods because she has to go and see his grandmother. She leaves Thama a large amount of food and warns him to make the food last for the number of days she is away, and not gobble the food in day. Once she leaves, he starts feeling hungry and he ends up finishing all the food at once! He starts to feel hungry once he has a nap and then remembers he has no food left. What will he do? This is just the plot of one of these stories. Reviewed in our Sep 2017 eGranth newsletter.

"Sita’s Sister", by Kavita Kane (@kavitakane)

Age: 12+ 
Category: Hinduism, mythology, fiction 

It talks about a character rarely noticed, Urmila, Sita’s younger sister. The book describes everything through Urmila’s eyes. It concentrates on her emotions and feelings. It also describes her long internal struggle as she is separated from her husband for 14 long years. I thought that Urmila must have been a woman of exceptional strength that she was able to bear 14 years of separation. I as a kid felt that the book could have done with a little less romance. Kavita Kane has described everything really nicely. I really felt that this was a book worth reading. Anika also reviewed this book in March 2017. Read the full review at http://anika.abhinavagarwal.net/2017/03/sitas-sister-by-kavita-

"Purna Vidya"

Age: 6+ 
Category: mythology, education 
Purna Vidya is a series of books that explain to us our Hindu Culture, our epics & various stories. One of our top five Hinduism book picks of 2017, we covered it in our Jan 2018 eGranth newsletter.

Taranauts, by Roopa Pai

Age: 9+
Category: sci-fi, fantasy, adventure 
An engrossing series of 8 books, set in an entirely new Universe named Mithya.  One of our favourite series and we covered it in our May 2017 newsletter. 

"The Complete Adventures of Feluda", by Satyajit Ray

 Age: 12+ Category: detective fiction, adventure 
The book revolves around Feluda, a twenty-seven-year-old amateur detective. He is usually accompanied by his thirteen-year-old cousin Topshe. All of Feluda’s adventures have been described through Topshe’s eyes. Topshe too is aspiring to be a detective and is Feluda’s assistant. Feluda has an amazing observation due to which most of the mysteries are solved. I think Feluda is the Indian Sherlock Holmes. My favourite story was the ‘Kailash Choudhary Jewel’. It was the first of the Feluda stories that I had read.We covered this book in our April 2017 eGranth newsletter.

Ponniyin Selvan, by Kalki Krishnamurthy

 Age: 12+  
Category: history, fiction, Hinduism 
Ponniyan Selvan is another name for the prince Arulmozhivarmar, popularly known as Raja Raja Chola. Fictionalized history books. Anvita loved the series & plans to re-read all six books in the Ponniyin Selvan series this summer. Vallavarayan Vandiyathevan is one her favourite characters from the series. Covered in our June 2017 eGranth newsletter.

"The Kishkindha Chronicles: Saraswati’s Intelligence", by Vamsee Juluri 

 Age: 12+ 
Category: mythology, fiction, religion 
This book talks about Hanuman before he met Lord Rama. Anvita loved the way the book beautifully describes the story of Hanuman’s life.

Bookasura#2: Koobandhee, by Arundhati Venkatesh

 Age: 8+  
Category: fiction, humour
Koobandhee talks about a boy named Bala who loves reading. Unfortunately, his books are terrorized by his book-eating sister. The summer holidays start and Bala is shipped off to Melagam with his sister to live with their grandparents. Bala feels that things can’t get any worse but they do when he meets the monster Koobandhee. She eats and barfs books. She also farts a lot. Anika thought the book was very funny, the plot was very simple and the illustrations were funny too! Read the entire review here.

Avishi: Reimagining Vishpala of the Rig Veda, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Age: 13+ 
Category: mythology, fiction
This book talks about Vishpala, a queen mentioned in the Rig Veda, who lost her leg during a fight and then had her leg replaced with a metal one. Saiswaroopa Iyer, the author, has reconstructed Vishpala’s life through Avishi and also imagined some of it, to present before us this wonderful book. Saiswaroopa Iyer has written another book called ‘Abhaya’. Both her books have one thing in common - both talk about tales of women with unimaginable courage. Anvita wrote, "towards the end when Avishi and Khela fought, I was holding my breath, waiting for how it would end." Review here.

Incredible History of India’s Geography, by Sanjeev Sanyal  

Age: 12+ 
Category: history, geography, non-fiction 
Anvita loved the book, and she plans to read "Ocean of Churn" next!  Covered in our Dec 2017 eGranth newsletter.

The Kashmiri Storyteller,  edited by Ruskin Bond

Age 10+ 
Category: fiction, folk-tales 
A collection of stories from Kashmir. The storyteller here is Javed Khan who is the owner of a shop where many children gather during cold evenings. The main children who gather there are Kamal, Shashi, Vijay and Amit. Javed Khan then tells them many interesting folktales and stories from his days in Kashmir. Another favourite of ours. From our Oct 2017 eGranth newsletter.

"Malgudi Days", by RK Narayan 

Category: fiction 
This is a fabulous collection of simple stories, set in the fictional town of Malgudi. From our Sep 2017 eGranth newsletter.

Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Culture Course 

Age: 9+  
Category: religion, spirituality, education 
This set of books are a lot like the Purṇa Vidya series that were mentioned in the April edition. The Culture Course series narrate around 15 stories in each book. Based on each story there are 6-7 questions. There is only one difference between the Purṇa Vidya series and the Culture Course. Purna Vidya mostly talk about stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata whereas the Culture Course books narrate stories about folk tales, Mahabharata and Ramayana stories, stories about great rishis, the foundation of holy places, rituals, etc.  
See here, here, and also our June 2017 eGranth newsletter!


Dead as a Dodo, by Venita Coelho

Age: 8+ 
Category: fiction, wildlife
 Anika's fvaourite among the three Venita Coehlo books! Rana, Bagha and Kela are three agents from the AIA on a mission. They discover that the extinct species, the Dodo is alive! Only one managed to survive and is held at Mauritius, South America. They go to Mauritius but the dodo is taken by another person. Their job is to rescue the dodo, Sam, and find a home where people won’t try to hurt him. From our April 2017 eGranth newsletter!

Monkey See, Monkey Do, by Venita Coelho

Age: 8+ 
Category: fiction, wildlife 
The second of three books by Venita Coehlo that both of us absolutely loved. Bagha, Kela and Rana are off on another mission to rescue the animals on whom cosmetic products are being tested. On their way, they encounter a dangerous silverback gorilla called Alpha who detests humans and his goal is to wipe out the entire human race. Rana, Kela and Bagha must rescue the animals and deal with Alpha. http://anvita.abhinavagarwal.net/2017/05/anvita-and-anikas-book-newsletter-april.html

Scion of Ikshvaku, by Amish

Age: 12+  
Category: mythology, religion, fiction
The story goes from the birth of Rama to Sita's abduction, and Rama sees the Pushpak Vimana taking off with Sita. The first book in the Ram Chandra series, Anvita included it in their July 2017 eGranth newsletter.

Krishnavatara: The book of Satyabhama, by K.M. Munshi

Age: 11+  
Category: religion, mythology
This is a retelling of Krishna's life in a series of seven books. Well-written and engaging. We covered in our August 2017 eGranth newsletter.
The entire series of seven books is also highly recommended:
  1. The Magic Flute 
  2. The Wrath of an Emperor 
  3. The Five Brothers 
  4. The Book of Bhima 
  5. The Book of Satyabhama 
  6. The Book of Vedavyaasa the Master 
  7. The Book Of Yudhishtira 

Tiger By The Tail, by Venita Coelho

Age: 10+ 
Category: fiction, wildlife, adventure 
A wild ride, a page turner adventure! Kela, a langur, is Agent 013; Bagha, a tiger, is Agent 002 and has a license to kill; and Rana, Agent 11.5, is a human, and all three are agents from the AIA (Animal Intelligence Agency). They must rescue the tigers that are being taken to China for illegal activities. Venita Coelho has protested against animal trade through this book in an interesting manner. Covered in our first eGranth newsletter of April 2017!!

Lanka’s Princess, by @kavitakane

Age: 12+ 
Category: mythology, religion, fiction 
She has described most of the story from Shurpanakha eyes & concentrating on her emotions, while being fair to Rama & Lakshmana. Anika's review is here.

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.

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