Gauri Mohan: The Best Indian Children’s Books of the Year

We asked some people who we know read a lot of Indian children’s and YA books to tell us about one (or more) really impressive book they read this year. We will be posting their replies over the rest of the month.

Gauri

Gauri Mohan co-edits the webzine mybigredbag.com.

We are thrilled that one of Gauri’s favourites is a Duckbill book, and we promise no arms were twisted–platypuses do not believe in list-fixing.

I honestly believe that the children’s and young adults publishing space in India is doing far more interesting work today than most of what is doled out to us grown ups, and that is why I can never resist a peek at the kids’ section of a bookstore.

The one young adult book that I absolutely loved this year was Devika Rangachari’s Queen of Ice (Duckbill). Maybe it is because the story of Didda ticked so many boxes for me. Kickass conflicted heroine, check. A friendship that lasts through the ages, check. A chance to look at history from the point of view of one of its bystanders, check. Palatial intrigue and manoeuvrings, with a side helping of family drama, check. I’d unreservedly recommend this book to readers of any age at all!

An old(er) book that I discovered for the first time with my daughter was the Churki Burki Book of Rhymes (2010)*. I am such a huge fan of Tara Books’ visual aesthetic. And this one- with its lovely illustrations by Durga Bai- and easy rhymes was an instant hit in our house. It also inspired a lot of questions and conversations (as any good book should!) about young Churki and Burki and their way of life.

*Okay, this is really old, but the Stern Blog-master is in last-week-of-year jolliness.

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