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Meet the king and queen of Ullas!

Have you wondered how the onion got so many layers? The story begins with the king and queen of the kingdom of Ullas, who really wanted a child.

Have a peek below!

 

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The kingdom of Ullas was very prosperous. The subjects were happy, the farmers had grown a bumper crop and the kingdom was surrounded by friendly allies. But the king and queen of Ullas were very sad. Their sadness seemed to envelop them wherever they went. This was because they really longed for a child and did not have one.

 

 

One day, they learnt of a place in the forests in the kingdom where, if you prayed hard and well, you were granted your wish.

They went there and for many days, prayed to the goddess of the forest for a long time. Finally, their prayers were heard and the goddess appeared before them in a flash of green light.

 

 

‘What do you wish for, my dear children?’ she asked.

The king and queen, overjoyed, bowed low and said, ‘We wish to have a child.’

‘So be it, you will soon have a little girl,’ said the goddess, shimmering in the greenery. ‘But remember, though she will be a loving child, she will have one flaw: She will love new clothes too much and it will make life difficult for you. Do you still want such a child?’

 

How the Onion Got its Layers || Sudha Murty

 

 

The king and queen looked at each other with their eyes full of hope and love. ‘Yes, we do,’ they said to the goddess. ‘We can’t think of anything else we want more in this world.’

The goddess smiled and vanished back among the trees.

 

 

 

 

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What will happen now? Will the king and queen be happy? And how will this lead to the onion’s many layers?

Your favourite storyteller, Sudha Murty, is back to tell you all this and more!

Remembering Some Words from India’s Most Loved Storyteller

We recently celebrated our most loved storyteller, Ruskin Bond’s 86th birthday. And as much fun as we had rediscovering his stories and hearing his words again – we can never really get enough of his stories.

As we continue to flip through his words, we decided to do a our own little round-up of some of his most powerful words and quotes that have stayed with us through the years.

 

On Unequal Struggles

 

On Human Truths and Sentiments

On Sadness and Fleeting Happiness

 

On Discomfort and Struggles

 

On Dreams and Reality

 

On Friendships 

 

On Battles of Life

 

On Making Your Own Music

 

On Childhood and Adulthood

 

On Focusing and Spending on the Right Things

 


 

Whether writing for adults or for his young audience, Mr. Bond’s words have always had a resounding effect on us, no matter how many times we revisit his stories. Which of his stories are closest to your heart? Share with us in the comments below!

Meanwhile, you can join us in celebrating his work and life at our Kindle Store!

 

The Roald Dahl Reading Challenge

Author Kate DiCamillo said, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” Which book or author would make the perfect gift of reading for a child? One name popular across generations is Roald Dahl.
Roald Dahl is a favorite among children and grown-ups alike, thanks to the fun adventures he takes us on! From books for 4 year olds to 13 year olds, all children are bound to love him! His loving characters and creative words are sure to keep your child (and even you) hooked!
Depending on their age, these are the books by Roald Dahl you should pick up for your little ones, and give them a fun challenge to read them all!

4-7 Years: 

Opposites

Busy little hands can lift the flaps to discover the opposites with iconic illustrations of Dahl’s much loved characters from the one and only, Quentin Blake.
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With beautiful, bright, colourful illustrations from Quentin Blake, plus a lift the flap surprise at the end, this is the perfect first baby book for all budding Dahl fans.
Billy and the Minpins 

Billy’s mum says he must never go out through the garden gate and explore the dark forest beyond. So, one day, that’s exactly what he does! There he meets the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks. They live in fear of the terrible, galloping GRUNCHER. Will it gobble Billy too – or can he find a way to defeat the hungry beast?
 
8-10 years:
James and the Giant Peach

James is  very lonely until one day something peculiar happens. At the end of the garden a peach starts to grow and GROW AND GROW. Inside that peach are seven very unusual insects – all waiting to take James on a magical adventure. But where will they go in their Giant Peach and what will happen to the horrible aunts if they stand in their way? There’s only one way to find out . . .
The Twits

With filthy hair all over his face and horrid plots growing in his mind, Mr Twit is one of the nastiest people you’ll ever meet and Mrs Twit is just as bad and even uglier! But they don’t stop at tricking each other: neighbouring children and even the local birds are in danger, and that’s where the Muggle-Wumps come in. This family of monkeys has had enough of the Twits’ tricks and, with the help of the handsome Roly-Poly Bird, they decide it’s time for sweet revenge…
The Witches

The Grand High Witch of all the World has gathered together the witches of England for an annual conference at the Hotel Magnificent in Bournemouth. Their agenda is the elimination of all the children in the country and the prospects for their young victims look bleak. But the Grand High Witch and her cronies have reckoned without the spark and ingenuity of a young guest at the hotel and his rather brilliant grandmother…
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

WHOOSH! Inside the Great Glass Elevator, Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket and his family are cruising a thousand feet above the chocolate factory.
They can see the whole world below them, but they’re not alone. The American Space Hotel has just launched. Lurking inside are the Vernicious Knids – the most brutal, vindictive murderous beasts in the universe.
So grab your gizzard! Hold your hats! Only Charlie and Willy Wonka can stop the Knids from destroying everything!
 

10-13 years:

Boy; Tales of Childhood

As a boy, all sorts of unusual things happened to Roald Dahl. Boy, Roald Dahl’s bestselling autobiography, is full of hilarious anecdotes about his childhood and school days, illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Going Solo

In 1938 Roald Dahl was fresh out of school and bound for his first job in Africa, hoping to find adventure far from home. However, he got far more excitement than he bargained for when the outbreak of the Second World War led him to join the RAF.

The Three Ghosts your Child will Love!

The Curious Case of the Sweet and Spicy Sweetshop by Nandini Nayar is a spooky story packed with curious characters, a hilarious hero and a super-fun plot. While reading this book, your child will be in for a double treat- witnessing witty family relations and discovering the magical world of sweets!
Most ghosts are super scary but here are 3 ghosts your child will absolutely love:
Bhagwandas Mithaiwala
Plump man with hair cut short, Bhagwandas was dressed in a full sleeved shirt in his portrait. While looking at the portrait, this was a man, Laddoo thought, who probably enjoyed eating the sweets he made and sold. The post-master and Bhagwandas were best friends. The postmaster remembered Bhagwandas as a cheerful man, with cheeks like his famous gulab jamuns and a voice as thick and caramelly as the best sugar syrup!
Ramcharandas Mithaiwala
Vishnu’s grandfather, Ramcharandas was a serious looking man. A man with curly grey hair, that clustered around his head, he had a droopy moustache over his lips and looked serious. He was famous for being incredibly suspicious! He was convinced that people were trying to steal his recipes. So he built the sweetshop— without a single window. He wanted to make sure that not even a whiff of the fragrance of the sweets could escape the room.
 Girijakumar Mithaiwala
Vishnu’s great-grandfather was a thin man with a melancholy expression on his face. He was the one who set up the sweet shop. He built his house and the sweetshop under it because he believed that no sweet maker should live far away from his shop.
 

Discover India: Four things your little ones should know about Odisha

Mishki and Pushka have never seen a place as amazing as Earth. They are here from their home planet, Zoomba! Join them as they travel across India with Daadu Dolma, the sweet old man they meet.
Mishi is in a hurry to visit the next state. “Where are we going this time?” she asks Daadu Dolma, jumping up and down. Daadu tells her that the three of them are off to visit a beautiful state that is historical and very interesting and also has yummy food. They’re on their way to Odisha!
Here are four things they learn there.

That must mean there were dinosaurs and other pre-historic beasts roaming this region at one time. But rocks are not all it has. There are ridges and plateaus that have been created by soil from rivers and sand blown in by the wind.

It even supports many fishermen, who make their living through this lake.

A tribe called the Juangs have the most organized system. In the centre of this community’s village is the largest hut. It has walls on three sides and is open in the front. The walls are decorated with patterns.

There are Pattachitra artists and pipli art. Weaving is popular here and they have names like khandua, saktapda, bomkai and tarabali. Kansaris are the artists who create wonderful brass pieces.

Discover India: Four Things your little ones should know about Andhra Pradesh

Mishki and Pushka’s home planet, Zoomba is nothing like Earth, except that the people look the same! As they travel across India with their new friend, Daadu Dolma, they are awestruck by the magnificence of India.
Upon spending the entire night reading about Andhra Pradesh, Pushka says, ‘Daadu, I am really curious about this state. It seems to have a rich history—but is very modern too.’
The siblings are keen to visit and so, much to their delight, Daadu Dolma takes them to the beautiful state. Here are four things they learn about Andhra Pradesh.

This made the state a little smaller, but it still has a lot of lovely neighbours. It is surrounded by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and, of course, Telangana. On its eastern side, it has a long coastline, where the waters of the Bay of Bengal lap its shores.
 

There are many rivers that rush down the mountains and into the Bay of Bengal, watering the plains along the way. These rivers create deltas and make this area simply perfect for farmers.

Thanks to this, even the otherwise dry plateau is able to sustain agriculture.

Historically, because the Nizams ruled here for so long, Urdu is very much a part of the local language.
 

Discover India: Four Things your little ones should know about Haryana

Daadu Dolma, the sweet old man that Mishki and Pushka meet on their visit to Earth from their home planet Zoomba is keen to show them the wonderful places in India.
Mishki and Pushka are very curious because they don’t know much about the state they are about to visit. “Well, you could say that Haryana is where a lot of India’s history was born. Some of the greatest events in Indian history occurred here,” explains Daadu.
Here are four things they learn about Haryana.




There’s a New Boy In Nicky and Noni’s Class! Do They Become Friends? — ‘Being a Good Friend Is Cool’: An Excerpt

In Sonia Mehta’s Being a Good Friend Is Cool from her new series of books — My Book of Values, the author talks about the cool value of being a good friend.
Nicky and Noni have a new boy in class, but Nicky seems to be doing something wrong. What is it? Let’s find out!




What do Nicky and Noni do next? Do they become friends with Jojo? Grab a copy of Being a Good Friend is Cool to find out!

The Simple Messages Hidden in ‘Mahabharata’: ‘The Boys Who Fought’

The story of Mahabharata has been retold countless times through generations and one instinctively comes to identify it with the great battle of Kurukshetra.
But going beyond all the animosity and rivalry that overarches the epic, Mahabharata espouses some important messages for life, an aspect Devdutt Pattanaik has brought forth for us in The Boys Who Fought.
Here are a few times we were reminded of the simple but impactful messages from the Mahabharata that transcend time and remain equally relevant even today.
When Vyasa wondered about the progress humankind had truly made.

When Ekalavya showed us the meaning of control, as opposed to destruction.
The Boy Who Fought- Creative 2
When we were reminded of the true meaning of ‘life’.
The Boy Who Fought- Creative 3
When we were told about the vicious cycles humankind gets trapped in.
The Boy Who Fought- Creative 4
Know more about the timeless messages of the Mahabharata with Devdutt Pattanaik’s beautifully illustrated book today!
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India: 70 Years of Independence

By Roshen Dalal
India celebrates 70 years of independence on 15 August, and we may wonder why this date is so important. A simple answer is that on this date in 1947, India gained freedom from almost 200 years of British rule. But further questions follow. What was wrong with British rule? How was it different from that of earlier invaders and settlers? Through the narrow passes and river valleys in the high mountains, India had seen many invasions from ancient times. Darius I (522-486 BCE)of Persia (Iran) included part of north-west India in his territories. Alexander, the Macedonian conquerer, too, came to the north-west in 336 BCE, but could not stay long. The Bactrian Greeks (from 200 BCE), the Parthians (1st century CE), Kushanas (1st to 3rd centuries CE), Indo-Sasanians (3rd -4th centuries CE), and Hunas (5th century CE), and were among other invaders. All of them set up kingdoms for short periods of time, and many were absorbed into Indian society. Later there were invasions from Ghazni and Ghur in the region of present Afghanistan, which led to the rule of the sultans. The sultans defended India against the invasions of the Mongols. The Mughal dynasty was then founded by Babur in 1526, who originated in the small kingdom of Farghana in Central Asia. There were other dynasties such as the Ahoms, who invaded the north-east of today’s India. But most of these who were once invaders, ruled parts of India much like other kings of the country. They collected and spent taxes here, constructed buildings, provided justice, and encouraged the arts. British rule was different, in that they used India as a source for money and raw materials that were transmitted to their own country. Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), an Indian political leader and the first Asian to become a member of Parliament in Britain, explained this as ‘the drain of wealth’, in his book Poverty and and Un-British Rule in India.  He estimated that the British were taking money away from India at the rate of 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 pounds a year. Railways had been constructed, but the money earned from them belonged to Britain. In addition, railways were used to transport raw materials, which were later sent out of India. It seemed as if there were some good points, as law and order were maintained, but Naoroji said that under the British, ‘the Indian starves in peace and perishes in peace, with law and order’.  Artisans lost their livelihood. There was inequality, as only the British were given high posts. India was a ‘colony’ of Britain, but neither India nor Britain were unique. Across the world, other European nations, the including France, Portugal and Germany, had their own colonies, and similarly exploited those they colonized.
It was a long struggle to gain freedom from the British. The Revolt of 1857 was the first widespread expression of protest. After the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the movement became more organized, and finally, though many groups had participated, it was Mahatama Gandhi who led India to freedom through satyagraha, his policy of peaceful protest, combining non-violence and truth. There were around 565 Indian states, which the British did not directly rule, though they controlled them through their agents. Many people in these states also participated in the freedom movement.
These peaceful protests brought about gradual changes, and an involvement of Indians in the government in the British provinces.
India became free at one minute past midnight on the of 14th August, that is, the first minute of the 15th. Though many celebrated and rejoiced, some, like Mahatma Gandhi, were sad–firstly because two countries of India and Pakistan were created instead of one, and secondly because there were riots and killings between Hindus and Sikhs on one side, and Muslims on the other.
But the new country of India overcame these problems. With the adoption of the Constitution on 26 January 1950, India became fully independent. It became a democracy, a Republic with two houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, headed by the president, with real power in the hands of the prime minister, the other ministers, and Parliament.
What we must celebrate after 70 years, is that this democracy is still functioning. As I see it, this has been India’s greatest achievement. Pakistan gained independence at the same time as India, but could not provide a stable government. Many more countries gained Independence after India, both in Asia and Africa. Most of them have faced problems, in governance and otherwise.
As we celebrate India’s freedom, we must guard and protect its greatest treasure–that of being a democracy, with a Constitution that guarantees certain freedoms, and provides equal rights to people of all communities, castes and religions.
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