Lubaina Bandukwala: The Best Indian Children’s Book 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.

Lubaina Bandukwala is an editor and a children’s book professional.


We are thrilled that Lubaina picked a Duckbill book, and we promise no arms were twisted–platypuses do not believe in list-fixing.

Queen of Ice by Devika Rangachari (Duckbill)

So I was putting together the programming for a lit fest and wanted to feature Queen of Ice by Devika Rangachari. Looking back at my various notes to myself, I found references to “Ice maiden,” “Ice Princess,” “Icy” and even “Icicle!” – I simply couldn’t retain the name in my sieve of a memory!

What did remain however, was stronger – a picture of a unique and spirited woman and a story that wrapped itself around me and wouldn’t let me go. The rise of Didda from a lame unwanted daughter of an indolent and short-sighted king to a powerful princess of Kashmira is rich in historical detail; but I enjoyed it for its masala action and emotional drama between a wide and carefully drawn range of characters.

It’s always hard when someone asks me to pick my book of the year – some I loved for their terrific writing, some for their style. In this end I picked this one, for the one simple reason that keeps me hooked to books – I love stories, and this one was particularly well told.

I also loved Captain Zero by Jane D’Suza (Puffin), he was adorable! As was Captain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas by Anushka Ravishankar (Tara). Horrid High by Payal Kapadia (Puffin) and When Santa Goes Missing by Parinita Shetty (Puffin) were on my fun list too.


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