Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

Ready for June Readathon?

While we are still getting past the uncertain times and the young ones are spending the summer break indoors, we have come to their rescue with our interesting June book collection. With a tinge of laughter, a touch of magic, a series of adventures, and a sea full of learning, our books promise to offer entertainment, comfort, and knowledge.

Here’s a curated list for June readathon!

*

My First Library of Learning: Box set
My First Library Learning || .
Ages: 0 to 3 years

Foster a habit of reading in your little ones with this box set of 10 gorgeously designed and thoughtfully created board books. These books equip toddlers and preschoolers with essential reading, language, visual, motor and imagination skills. This bright, handy, easy-to-read and fun library contains books on English alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes, things at home, fruits and vegetables, seasons and opposites, transport, animals and insects.

 

Dealing with Feelings Box Set 2

Sonia Mehta

Dealing with Feelings || Sonia Mehta
Ages: 5+ years

Foggy Forest is inhabited by many fun little animals. These quirky creatures are always there for one another—helping each other overcome jealousy, boredom, sadness and confusion. Together, they deal with all the different feelings one might have every day. This special box set edition brings together six exciting titles to start a conversation with kids about their feelings and emotions.

 

Big Mistake
Big Mistake
Ages: 16+ years

Insecurities and assurances, conflict and solidarity, fearfulness and courage—the personal histories, stories and #ownvoices in this anthology cover a lot of ground in just a few pages. Let them spark conversations on love, identity, disability, family, body positivity, ambition and other tough stuff. After all, no matter how old we get, growing up can feel like one big mistake.

 

Nida Finds a Way

Samina Mishra

Nida Finds A Way || Samina Mishra
Ages: 7 to 9 years

Whenever Nida wants to do something new, Abba is scared for her and says NONONO. But Nida needs to learn and do new things—so the only way is for her to persuade Abba. Can Nida find a way?

 

A Pinch of Magic

Asha Nehemiah

A Pinch of Magic || Asha Nehemiah
Ages: 7 to 9 years

Veena’s aunt Malu is in trouble. Her pinching spoon is broken. She must get a new spoon or close down her herbal medicine business. But the only person who makes pinching spoons has disappeared. Can Veena help her aunt?

 

Unmasked

Paro Anand

Unmasked || Paro Anand
Ages: 11+ years

The year 2020 will forever be reported as the time when we all fell down. But it was also the year we all got back up and were forced to come together in a way we had never imagined before. In this timely masterpiece, Paro Anand writes of despair, courage and hope. Through eighteen short stories from the pandemic, Anand introduces us to characters who feel familiar and their stories intimate.

From a mother and son looking to make ends meet as the lockdown brutally affects their lives to a housewife who’s a victim of domestic abuse, from young keyboard wizards keen on making a difference to a home delivery executive who becomes an unlikely hero, this book unmasks the layers of the year that changed us all.

 

My Little Book of Krishna
My Little Book of Krishna || .
Ages: 3+ years

Naughty little Krishna’s search for butter leads to an unexpected adventure. With charming illustrations and simple language, this short tale about Krishna will entertain and delight. It is a perfect way to familiarize the little ones with India’s rich cultural fabric. It’s a must have to introduce a god from popular Hindu mythology and impart valuable life lessons.

 

My Little Book of Lakshmi
My Little Book of Lakshmi || .
Ages: 3+ years

Lovely Lakshmi comes to Earth once a year. Will she have a good time here?
With the beautifully illustrated pages, this short tale about Lakshmi offers a fun and enjoyable read about timeless myths and festivals for modern kids.

 

My Little Book of Ganesha
My Little Book of Ganesha || .
Ages: 3+ years

Clever Ganesha’s got something on his mind, but what that is you’ll have to read on to find.
This short tale about Ganesha has fascinating illustrations and lucid language, making it suitable for bedtime reading and parent-child association. It’s dotted with interesting facts as well as an interactive activities.

**

Careful what you wish for

All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life. It brings together many known charming, endearing characters such as the iconic Rusty, the eccentric Uncle Ken and the ubiquitous grandmother, and a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers, especially middle schoolers. Heart-warming, funny and spirited, this is a must-have on every bookshelf!

All-Time Favourites FC
All-Time Favourites||Ruskin Bond

Here’s a taste of what’s in store in this exciting collection of stories. An extract from the story of a parrot who could, but ‘wouldn’t’ talk. ‘What goes around comes around’ is a complete mood in this one.

~

‘Kiss, kiss!’ Aunt Ruby would coo, putting her face close to the barge of the cage. But the parrot would back away, its beady little eyes getting even smaller with anger at the prospect of being kissed by Aunt Ruby. On one occasion, it lunged forward without warning and knocked my aunt’s spectacles off her nose.

After that, Aunt Ruby gave up her endearments and became quite hostile towards the poor bird, making faces at it and calling out, ‘Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’ and other nasty comments.

It fell upon me, then ten years old, to feed the parrot, and it seemed quite happy to receive green chillies and ripe tomatoes from my hands, these delicacies being supplemented by slices of mango, for it was then the mango season. It also gave me an opportunity to consume a couple of mangoes while feeding the parrot.

One afternoon, while everyone was indoors enjoying a siesta, I gave the parrot his lunch and then deliberately left the cage door open. Seconds later, the bird was winging its way to the freedom of the mango orchard.

At the same time, Grandfather came to the veranda and remarked, ‘I see your aunt’s parrot has escaped!’

‘The door was quite loose,’ I said with a shrug.

‘Well, I don’t suppose we’ll see it again.’

Aunt Ruby was upset at first and threatened to buy another bird. We put her off by promising to buy her a bowl of goldfish.

‘But goldfish don’t talk!’ she protested.

‘Well, neither did your bird,’ said Grandfather. ‘So we’ll get you a gramophone. You can listen to Clara Cluck all day. They say she sings like a nightingale.’

I thought we’d never see the parrot again, but it probably missed its green chillies, because a few days later I found the bird sitting on the veranda railing, looking expectantly at me with its head cocked to one side. Unselfishly, I gave the parrot

half of my mango.

While the bird was enjoying the mango, Aunt Ruby emerged from her room and, with a cry of surprise, called out, ‘Look, my parrot’s come back! He must have missed me!’

With a loud squawk, the parrot flew out of her reach and, perching on the nearest rose bush, glared at Aunt Ruby and shrieked at her in my aunt’s familiar tones: ‘You’re no beauty! Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’

Aunt Ruby went ruby-red and dashed indoors.

But that wasn’t the end of the affair. The parrot became a frequent visitor to the garden and veranda and whenever it saw Aunt Ruby it would call out, ‘You’re no beauty, you’re no beauty! Can’t sing, can’t dance!’

The parrot had learnt to talk, after all.

Ninja Nani – The mystery hero

It is common for Nani to somersault around the room and backflip without a flinch. Her ninja senses jingle when there is danger in Gadbadnagar and the air then wibbles and wobbles around her. Nani steps out every night, catches robbers, helps people trapped in lifts and burning buildings, and saves stray pups and little birdies. Is it hard to believe?

Here’s an excerpt from the book where Nani gives a glimpse of her superpowers to young Deepu.

*

Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival || Lavanya Karthik

‘So what happened? Where did you go? How?’ If Deepu’s questions had had feet, they would have tripped over themselves trying to get out of his head.

The door slammed as Papa rushed out of the house to get to his doctor.

Upstairs, another door slammed. Then they heard the SKREECH-THUD! of Mummy pulling her chair out and plonking herself in it. The muffled sounds of her talking on the phone followed.

Nani turned to Deepu. ‘I could tell you, or . . .’ She smiled and raised her hands. The air around her fingers fizzled! Little electric sparks danced.

Deepu gasped. ‘Is this . . .?’ he whispered.

Nani pressed her fingers gently to either side of Deepu’s forehead. Deepu’s brain sparked and frizzled! More jutsu!

‘The Ninja ThoughtMeld!’ Deepu shut his eyes tight, as images jumped and crashed and fizzed about inside his head. Morimori used it on his show all the time!

Who knows?’ said Nani’s voice, inside his head. ‘It’s this trick I picked up last week.’

‘Am I hearing your thoughts?’

You are! Pretty neat, huh? But wait, it gets better!’

She was right.

Deepu couldn’t just hear her thoughts, he could see them as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

To know how Nani, Deepu’s own Superhero, fights the monsters and saves everyone from gadbad, read Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival.

A diving holiday, disturbing discovery, and kidnapping

Far out in the Arabian Sea, where the waters plunge many thousands of metres to the ocean floor, lies a chain of bewitching coral atolls – the Lakshadweep Islands. Vikram and Aditya dive into lagoons with crystal-clear water and reefs that are deep and shrouded in mystery. But when they stumble upon a devious kidnapping plot, their idyllic holiday turns into a desperate struggle for survival.

Here is an excerpt from Deepak Dalal’s new book, Lakshadweep Adventure where Faisal – the boy who’s care Vikram and Aditya are left in – makes a disturbing discovery.

Front Cover A Vikram–Aditya Story: Lakshadweep Adventure
A Vikram–Aditya Story: Lakshadweep Adventure

Faisal was in a bad mood. His uncle’s impending arrival hovered like a dark cloud above him. And his friends’ decision to abandon him for the day only made things worse.

Faisal had noticed the wind the moment he had strolled out on to the beach, and his mood had soured even further when he saw his friends enjoying themselves. He wished he had accepted Aditya’s offer as he watched them speed their boards across the lagoon. But it was too late now. His uncle would be arriving shortly.

Faisal sat under a palm tree. He passed time drawing figures in the sand. Above him, palm fronds shook and fluttered as the wind whistled through them. The sun shone brightly. The sand intensified its glare, forcing Faisal to shut his eyes. It was pleasant under the tree and the wind was crisp and enjoyable. The rustling of the palms overhead soothed him and he soon fell asleep.

The tide slowly crept up the beach and finally washed over Faisal’s feet, waking him with a start. He looked at his watch, muttering softly to himself. It was past midday.

Basheer uncle would have arrived by now. He dusted sand from his clothes and rose hurriedly to his feet.

Faisal heard raised voices from the living room window when he entered the yard. He crept forward till he was below the window and peeped in.

His uncle was standing in the centre of the room, facing a group of men.

Basheer Koya was a copy of Faisal’s father, except that he was fatter and there was hardly any hair on his head. But unlike his brother, whose manner was calm and collected, Basheer Koya’s face was contorted with rage. His cheeks were dark and red and he was shouting like a man possessed.

‘Fools!’ thundered Basheer Koya in Malayalam. ‘Monkeys have more brains than you lot. Idiots. I thought you had ears. But obviously you don’t. You weren’t to set foot in Kalpeni. How many times did I tell you not to come here? Yet, not only do you come to the island, but even more brainlessly, you visit my home.’

A bearded man with big, wide shoulders spoke. ‘Sir,’ he began. ‘Sir—’

Basheer Koya ranted on, cutting off the man. ‘I travelled all the way to Kochi to make certain that no suspicion fell on me and I returned only after the operation was over. And you? I come home and see you fools sitting in my house. I take all these precautions and now everyone on this island can link me to you and from there to the operation.’

‘But, sir—’

‘You were under orders to head to Tinakara Island. What are you doing here?’

‘Sir. I was trying to explain just that, sir. We were headed for Tinakara. But we had engine trouble, sir. A terrible rattling noise came from the engine and we were forced to head for the nearest island. You can speak to the mechanic, sir. He looked at our boat and said we were lucky to make it here to Kalpeni.’

The explanation diminished Basheer Koya’s rage, yet he continued to glare at the bearded man. ‘Kumar. Where is Kumar?’ he barked.

‘Kumar is safely on board, sir. There’s no need to worry about him. He is in the lower cabin and one of our men is with him all the time. He can’t make a sound or do anything. He won’t be able to alert the mechanics.’

Faisal froze. This was not for his ears. It was wrong of him to eavesdrop. He wondered if he should leave, but who was Kumar and what was his uncle up to?

‘No one is to know that we have a prisoner on board,’ growled Basheer Koya. ‘Even Allah will not be able to help you if he is discovered. I make no allowances for mistakes.’ Basheer Koya stared at his men, shifting his gaze from one to the other. ‘Do you understand?’

There was silence in the room.

Faisal understood full well what his uncle meant. He shuddered.

***

Journey through these breath-taking islands with a tale of scuba diving and sabotage, set in one of India’s most splendid destinations.

The more (books), the May-rrier!

We know that our current times are not the most optimistic. But now more than ever, we believe that books can act as a source of hope and joy, howsoever small, and keep us going.

We have an assorted selection of books for you this May! These will keep your young ones occupied as they spend the summers indoors, inside the safety of their cozy homes.

**

All-Time Favourites for Children

Ruskin Bond

Front cover of All-Time Favourites
All-Time Favourites for Children || Ruskin Bond, Kashmira Sarode (Illustrator)

Ages:  9+  years

All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life, iconic Rusty, eccentric Uncle Ken, ubiquitous grandmother, and many other charming, endearing characters in a single volume while also introducing us to a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers.

 

Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival

Lavanya Karthik

Front cover of Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival
Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival || Lavanya Karthik

Ages: 10 to 14 years

It’s time for the annual festival and a special guest is expected to arrive in Gadbadnagar, but has a certain President gone too far? Has Nani finally met her match in the meanest, scariest and awfullest demon ever to crawl out of the Dark Forest? Will the Mayor’s mustache ever run for office?

Wait, there’s more!

Fake Mystery Heroes! Haunted falooda! Giant dogs–

And what’s that again about goats? You’re going to have to read it for yourself. 

 

Mirror, Mirror

Andaleeb Wajid

Front cover of Mirror, Mirror
Mirror, Mirror || Andaleeb Wajid

Ages: 10 to 14 years

Five years earlier, a friend’s nasty comment makes Ananya start hating her body. She decides to change into a new person-one who effortlessly fits into all kinds of clothes, who shuns food unless it’s salad, and who can never be called ‘Miss Piggy’-and to cut everything from her ‘old’ life, including her best friend, Raghu, for being the witness to her humiliation.

Ananya is on her way to becoming the Ananya of her dreams, but she’s still a work in progress.

One day, her parents announce that they’re expecting a baby (at their age!). To make matters worse, Raghu reappears in her life …

Andaleeb Wajid’s latest novel for young adults is a touching and funny story about a young girl’s journey to acceptance and self-love.

 

What’s the Big Secret?

Sonali Shenoy

Front cover of What's the Big Secret?
What’s the Big Secret? || Sonali Shenoy, Annushka Hardikar (Illustrator)

Ages: 9+ years

Eleven-year-old Aditya really wants to know about periods.

Ever since Rhea Didi began getting brown paper packages, there’s been something that no one is telling him. Mama turns red, Pa chokes on his coffee and Dadi has steam coming out of her ears! Thank goodness for his friends Naveen and Vinay-whom he can talk to.

But when Vinay brings an odd-looking napkin to school that soaks ink, Aditya is even more confused. Doesn’t his sister use a microtip pen?

All of this is only making little Aditya more determined to find out What is going on!

 

Dark Tales

Venita Coehlo

Front cover of Dark Tales
Dark Tales || Venita Coehlo

Ages: 9+ years

In this collection of eleven very dark and twisted tales, Venita Coelho lays bare the underbelly of contemporary India. Get ready to gasp and cringe in horror as you have the rug pulled out from under you! This is a book you won’t want to read after dark.

 

And That is Why

L. Somi Roy

And That is Why || L. Somi Roy, Sapha Yumnam (Illustrator)

Ages: 8+ years

Dear Reader, do you know
· why the deer does not eat rice?
· why man gets wrinkles and a stoop?
· why the cat buries its poop?
· why a doll is worshipped in a village called Kakching?

Discover twelve magical tales from Manipur, the mountain land in the north-east of India on the border with Myanmar. Passed down by learned scholars, balladeers and grandmothers over hundreds of years, these unknown myths and fables are enriched with beautifully rich paintings that will transport you to Manipur!

 **

 

 

 

 

 

A slip and a fall in search of the grey ghost of the Himalayas

In Deepak Dalal’s new book, The Snow Leopard Adventure, Vikram and Aditya are back in magnificent Ladakh. Having finally freed their young friend Tsering from the hands of dangerous men, they’ve set themselves up for an even greater challenge: to track down the grey ghost of the Himalayas, the snow leopard.

But things don’t always go according to the plan during their trek. Here is an excerpt from the book that highlights one of the more challenging events of the trek.

Front Cover The Snow Leopard Adventure
The Snow Leopard Adventure||Deepak Dalal

I didn’t see exactly what happened because I was looking down at the gravel-strewn track as I ran. I heard a scream, and when I looked up, I saw a pair of hands grabbing desperately at the edge of the outcrop. I wasn’t far behind Caroline and scarcely a few seconds must have elapsed between her falling and my flinging myself to the ground and locking my fingers around her wrists. I had barely grasped them when her scrabbling fingers slipped, and her entire weight was transferred on to me. I was dragged forward and my chest hit the rock at the edge of the cliff with a thud.

We were both stuck, Caroline dangling from my hands and I pressed against the cliff edge, pinned down by her weight. Caroline is three inches taller than my 5 feet 7 inches and also heavier than me (sixty-five kilos to my sixty, she told me later). I could feel myself being pulled towards the edge. Disaster appeared to be a certainty, but Tsering intervened, saving us by clinging to my thighs and adding his weight to mine.

Now, on reflection, I don’t think any of us would have died if we had gone over. The cliff we clung to was not a large one. The fall was only a few metres. But the area at the base of the cliff was not flat, it sloped downwards at an alarming angle. Our injuries could have been serious. We would have broken several bones, but we would have survived.

My breath came in rapid gulps and sweat must have flowed from my every pore. Yet, even though I was terrified, a part of my mind admired the vista that spread before me. I could see the river valley below and the mountain slopes opposite. I spotted flecks of colour in the distance—our camp mates. I wondered if they could see us.

I am ashamed to admit that I lost control of myself up there. My hands shook and my chest hurt terribly. My heart kicked and pummelled my chest, and my senses swam about me. I kept assuring myself that there was no reason to panic and that nobody would go over.

I had no idea then that I was speaking my thoughts aloud (Caroline and Tsering informed me later). I told myself that we only had to wait it out. Somebody would come . . . Tina and Kathy would return and untangle us.

Luckily, a heaven-sent determination infused Caroline as she dangled in the sparse Ladakh air. While I was rambling, she spotted fissures and cracks on the rock face she was suspended against. She willed her legs to grope beneath her and she found secure anchors in the stony crevices. Her fingers and palms gripped rock at the cliff edge. With me still holding on to her wrists, she pulled herself up a few inches.

I heard her breathing. She was gasping and panting far louder than I was. Soon her face was level with mine and our eyes met. Hers glittered with cold determination. There was a vacant expression in mine, she told me later. She was probably right, because she had to shout several times before I paid attention to what she was saying. She wanted me to release her wrists, which I did mechanically. Now sure of herself, Caroline dragged herself up and without further incident she flopped beside me. We lay inert on the rock, Tsering looking down on us.

After a long time we continued our walk to the crest. The rest of the morning was a blur. None of us were in any state to look for bharal or search for leopards. Kathy, Tina and Yuan turned up, exhausted, after an hour. They had found more sign of the leopard they were following but had not been able to locate it. We turned back for camp shortly thereafter. Caroline had extracted a promise from

Tsering and me not to speak about the morning’s drama to anybody. She smiled gratefully when it became clear that we were not going to say a word, and she turned distinctly friendly when we maintained our silence at camp too.

Aditya was aghast when he learnt that I had not pursued the leopard with the others. ‘How could you let such an opportunity go?’ he wanted to know. ‘You were so close to the leopard!’

Does Aditya eventually see the Snow Leopard? Grab your copy for Snow Leopard Adventure to find out!

Did our universe… always exist??

It all started with a big cosmic blast. Or did it? Refresh your facts with this excerpt from Shruthi Rao’s How We Know What We Know  and immerse yourself in a world of fun facts about the world, its origins and all the awe-inspiring details of how everything works.

~

What is the Big Bang? The sound you hear when you burst a big balloon?

Umm, no. The Big Bang Theory is an attempt to explain what happened at the beginning of our universe.

Wait. Our universe had a beginning? Didn’t it always exist?

That’s what scientists thought too, till a few decades ago. But research and studies suggest that there was indeed a beginning. A point. Before that point, there was nothing. And after that point, the universe came into existence.

Scientists think that the universe came out of a singularity—an infinitely small, infinitely dense, infinitely hot point. What exactly is this, though? If the universe was born from this singularity, where did the singularity come from? Why did it appear?

We don’t know that. Yet.
But how do we know that this is what happened?
The story began about a 100 years ago, with Georges Lemaître of Belgium. Though he was an officer of the church, he was fascinated by physics and he studied Albert Einstein’s theories of space and time and gravitation. He concluded that if Einstein’s theories were right, it meant that the galaxies in the universe are moving away from each other. Lemaître said this proved that the universe is not just static and unmoving, as everybody previously thought. It was expanding.

cover How We Know What We Know
How We Know What We Know||Shruthi Rao

It was a theory, and though Lemaître had come up with it on the basis of an established theory, scientists needed other proof before they could accept it. But Lemaître didn’t have any data to support this idea.

Meanwhile, American astronomer Henrietta Leavitt came up with a way to calculate how far away stars are from Earth. Using her work, astronomer Edwin Hubble looked through his telescope and calculated the distances of various stars from Earth. He concluded that things in the universe were moving away from Earth. Not just that, things that were farther away from Earth were moving away faster than things close to Earth. This could only mean one thing. The universe is indeed expanding. Georges Lemaître was right.

Okay. The universe is expanding. But how does that prove there was a Big Bang?

If the universe is expanding, it must have expanded from some point. Think of the expanding universe as a movie. The galaxies are moving outwards, away from each other. Now run that movie backwards. You can imagine it as the galaxies rushing towards each other. So then, all the galaxies must meet at some point. At this point, all the matter of the universe must have been contained in a very small space, that is, the singularity.

The moment at which this singularity started expanding is the Big Bang.

But where was the proof?

Decades later, in 1965, two scientists, Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, were trying to measure radio signals in the empty space between galaxies. They used a giant horn-shaped antenna, called the Holmdel Horn Antenna, in their observatory at Bell Labs in New Jersey, USA. But as they tried to take measurements, an annoying noise kept interfering, like static on a radio.

Where was this noise coming from?

They pointed the antenna towards New York City. No, it wasn’t city noise.

They took measurements of the noise all through the year. No, it didn’t change with the seasons.

Could the noise be from a nuclear test that had taken place a while ago? It couldn’t be. If it was, the noise should have decreased year by year.

Then what was it?

Perhaps it was just the pigeons roosting in the antenna? They chased away the pigeons, and scooped up and cleaned the droppings. But the noise still remained.

Then they learnt about the scientist Robert Dicke, a professor at Princeton University. Dicke had been thinking about the Big Bang. His opinion was that if the Big Bang was true, there should be some kind of matter remaining from the explosion. And most probably, he said, this would be a kind of low-level background radiation throughout the universe.

Dicke wanted to try and find it. But it turned out that it was exactly what Penzias and Wilson had already found! The hum they had encountered was this very radiation resulting from the Big Bang!

Penzias and Wilson got the Nobel Prize for this discovery, because it proved that the Big Bang Theory was true.

Researchers all over the world are still taking better measurements of this noise, and are finding more things to think about.

~

Exciting trivia awaits you in How We Know What We Know.

 

Little Swara’s tryst with the locked down world

You left your jokes and funny faces in my mind.
You left our secrets and your knitting behind.
I’m still sad. I’ll always be.
I love you times infiniteeeeeeeey.
You don’t mind
that I can’t rhyme.
I don’t know how to end this,
will someone help me?

To help Swara, you’d have to dive into her world during the lockdown. Feel the almost-nine-year-old’s heart break as she loses her favourite person ever, Pitter Paati. Swara pursues clues to find her, but stumbles upon a crime instead. VExpectedly, no one believes her.

Will Swara and her VAnnoying friends from the detective squad find the Ruth of the Matter in time?

Told with humour and sparkle, When the World Went Dark is a compassionate story about finding light in the darkest times of our lives. Here’s an excerpt from the book wherein Swara is trying to understand why the rules of the world around her have suddenly changed.

**

 

The times were dark, alarming, threatening. Clouds of fear kept people bolted and barred into their own homes. You couldn’t open a window to draw in a deep breath. You couldn’t trust anything that anyone else had touched. In fact, if you remember, you couldn’t even put a toe out of your front door.

Swara should know because she tested it out.

Ruth was the one who’d thrown her the challenge. She claimed to be her best friend, although you might doubt it after this. They lived in apartments opposite each other and often they sat cross-legged on their doormats and chatted, yelling to and fro. It was Ruth who said, ‘Swara, you cannot put even a toe out of your door.’

Swara scoffed at this. ‘Why? What if I do?’

‘Try and see. It is banned! There is a high-tech app that will make your toe shrivel up and fall off.’

If you’ve been almost nine, like Swara was, you knew what absolutely had to be done if thrown down such an outrageous challenge. Swara quite naturally, had to still her beating heart, hold her breath, kick off her chappal and wiggle her big toe an inch out of her open door. It did not fall off and land on the doormat. It stayed firm on her foot.

‘You are full of lies, Ruth!’

‘I am not. I am the Ruth, the whole Ruth and nothing but the . . .’

‘Fine, but my toe is fine too. It is my toe, the whole toe and nothing but the toe.’

‘It will not be. Keep watching it. Over the days, it will turn red, purple, black and then fall right off. Just you

wait.’

Swara retreated, scared. And since then began to watch the toe for signs.

The times were like that as we’d mentioned. Dark, alarming, threatening times.

And then, of course, holidays were declared— out of the blue! No waking up to a screaming alarm clock, or drinking milk while sleepwalking, or pulling on the uniform and buttoning it down wrong, or running down to catch the yellow school bus and missing the favourite seat.

front cover of When the World Went Dark
When the World Went Dark || Jane De Suza

 

Like most kids, she spent the first week playing, eating, sleeping and like most kids, got fed up of it all. Nothing fun was on the Allowed List. No playing downstairs, no eating out, no meeting friends. To add to her dismay, her toe sported a smallish reddish spot one morning, which turned as white as a sheet (just a saying). She held her toe in one hand and hopped over to Appa, who examined it and opined that it was a harmless insect bite and would disappear soon.

‘My toe? My toe will disappear?’

‘No, Swara, the red spot will disappear.’

What was high up on the Rotten List was that she couldn’t meet her favourite person in the world, her paati. Not Madurai Paati, her father’s mother, but her Pitter Paati who lived on the outskirts of Bengaluru. In the same city and not meetable! VStupid (Very Stupid)! Everyone was locked down—Pitter Paati, Thaatha, Anand Maama, Maami and the twins. The whole city was locked into their houses. The whole world, too, from what the TV showed. You could see people in Italy singing and waving while hanging over their balconies. Swara made a point of letting Ruth know that no one’s arms were turning purple, shrivelling up and falling off.

She video called Pitter Paati many times a day, to show her a new poem, the suspicious red-spotted toe, the view of no one on the streets outside, a line of ants creeping towards the dustbin, her fake moustache, anything actually. PP was always interested in whatever Swara was up to.

 

**

 

 

 

A (w)hOle world of wonderful adventures

The hOle Books are incredibly fun and delightful. Full of beautiful illustrations, they bring to life the lives of young protagonists who face challenges and emerge more well-rounded. There are a million reasons to pick up any of these books. Here are a few:

 

front cover The Clockwala's Clues
The Clockwala’s Clues||Varsha Seshan

 

The Clockwala’s Clues

by Varsha Seshan

Varsha Seshan’s The Clockwala’s Clues will keep you glued to its pages. Jasmine and Sheba want to get stray puppies off the street by encouraging people to adopt them. But Sheba has a problem managing her time, and her father is going to send her off to learn time management over the summer. Who will adopt the puppies then? How will Jasmine manage this feat on her own?

This quick read is more than the adventures of two girls. It is also a fantastic look into solving real parenting issues in creative ways, ways that do not punish children for their excitement and innocent curiosities, but enable them to approach things as challenges.

 

front cover Chumki and The Elephants
Chumki and the Elephants||Lesley D. Biswas

 

 

Chumki and the Elephants

by Lesley D. Biswas

It is a universal fact that Chumki’s Dadi loves sooji ka halwa. So Chumki is naturally stunned when her Dadi feeds her the entirety of the portion given to her. But in the midst of this domestic confusion, some elephants escape from a nearby reserve. Dadi remembers the last time that the elephants came; now that they are here again, will it help her regain her memory?

Lesley D. Biswas’s adorable story works with some serious themes under the surface – a beloved grandmother who is losing her memory, forgetting her own granddaughter’s name cannot be easy to tackle, but Biswas integrates this wonderfully into the story.

 

 

front cover the chirmi chasers
The Chirmi Chasers||Arefa Tehsin

The Chirmi Chasers

by Arefa Tehsin

Nanka’s father Doonga wants to host an inter-school sitola match, which is highly unconventional for everyone he knows. If they win, they will be able to use the sports facilities of Madhopur High to train their students.

If they lose, he will quit his job.

Having picked a rag-tag team of four unlikely players, Doonga proceeds. But will they win?

This is a story not simply about an exciting match with high stakes but also a great exercise on building a team. It shows us that a team can be formed out of unlikely people, that any time people come together to do something and put their mind to it, anything is possible.

 

 

~

Share these wonderful books with your young ones; few things are more precious than discovering new worlds with your little readers.

An eclectic reading list for all kinds of young readers

Nothing says new year like a dazzling list of books brimming with enchanting stories of lands far and near. In the spirit of new beginnings, we are back with a diverse list of books for young readers. We hope that you’ll find something here for your child that they would cherish and hold dear for a long time to come.

 

Murder in Melucha

Aditi Krishnakumar

front cover of Murder in Melucha
Murder in Melucha || Aditi Krishnakumar

 

In Melucha, children’s alphabet books teach that H is for hemlock, so it is no particular surprise when someone is found murdered. But in a city where everyone has devious and twisted motives, and dire plans, it is not easy for Meenakshi and Kalban to find the murderer.

In this sequel to the acclaimed The Magicians of Madh, Aditi Krishnakumar pulls off another delightful romp, full of mystery, humour and hilarious predicaments.

 

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas

front cover of Concrete Rose
Concrete Rose || Angie Thomas

 

With his King Lord dad in prison and his mom working two jobs, seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter helps the only way he knows how: slinging drugs. Life’s not perfect, but he’s got everything under control. Until he finds out he’s a father…

Suddenly it’s not so easy to deal drugs and finish school with a baby dependent on him for everything. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. But when King Lord blood runs through your veins, you don’t get to just walk away.

From international phenomenon Angie Thomas comes a hard-hitting return to Garden Heights with the story of Maverick Carter, Starr’s father, set seventeen years before the events of the award-winning The Hate U Give.

 

 

Shyamchi Aai

Sane Guruji, Shanta Gokhale (tr.)

front cover of Shyamchi Aai
Shyamchi Aai || Sane Guruji, Shanta Gokhale (tr.)

 

The evening prayers in the ashram are over. Cowbells tinkle sweetly in the distance. The residents of the ashram sit in a circle, their eyes fixed on Shyam, who has promised them a story as sweet as lemon syrup. And so Shyam begins.

While on some evenings he tells them of his boyhood days, surrounded by the abundant beauty of the Konkan, on others he recalls growing up poor, embarrassed by the state of his family’s affairs. But at the heart of each story is his Aai-her words and lessons. He reminisces of the day his mother showed him the importance of honesty and the time she went hungry just so her children could eat a full meal.

Narrated over the course of forty-two nights, Shyamchi Aai is a poignant story of Shyam and Aai, a mother with an unbreakable spirit. This evergreen classic, now translated by the incomparable Shanta Gokhale, is an account of a life of poverty, hard work, sacrifice and love.

 

When the World Went Dark

Jane De Suza

front cover of When the World Went Dark
When the World Went Dark || Jane De Suza

 

To help Swara, you’d have to dive into her world during the lockdown. Feel the almost-nine-year-old’s heart break as she loses her favourite person ever, Pitter Paati. Swara pursues clues to find her, but stumbles upon a crime instead. Vexpectedly, no one believes her.

Will Swara and her annoying friends from the detective squad find the Ruth of the Matter in time?

Told with humour and sparkle, this compassionate story is about finding light in the darkest times of our lives. It packs in an intriguing mystery and even a good belly laugh.

 

Karma Vs The Evil Twin

Evan Purcell

front cover of Karma vs the Evil Twin
Karma vs the Evil Twin || Evan Purcell

 

Everyone in Jakar knows that Karma has always defended his village from monsters. But suddenly his friends and neighbours are angry with him and accusing him of crimes he knows he didn’t commit.

Karma suspects he has a doppelgänger who is terrorizing the town, but no one believes him. His friends Chimmi and Dawa and even his mother do not seem to trust him.

But with every monster in Bhutan suddenly turning up in Jakar, will he be able to stop his adversary in time?

The third book in the Karma Tandin, Monster Hunter series, set in Bhutan, is a rollicking adventure that will keep you riveted till the very end!

 

Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa

Nandini Nayar

front cover of Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa
Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa || Nandini Nayar

 

When Keya’s parents stopped living together, unusual things happened.
Keya became the only girl in her class with two homes.
‘Where will you live?’
‘Who will you live with?’
‘Sometimes Mama,’ Keya said, ‘sometimes Papa!’

This heart-warming story with comforting pictures reassures young readers that parents, whether alone or together, are always there for them.

 

 How We Know What We Know

Shruthi Rao

front cover of How We Know What We Know
How We Know What We Know || Shruthi Rao

 

There are millions of facts that we know about the world around us – that the earth is round, that birds migrate and that dinosaurs once roamed the planet. But how do we know what we know? Regaling us with tales of remarkable men and women who didn’t rest until they got the answers they sought, Shruthi Rao chronicles the stories behind the discoveries and inventions we take for granted today. This book, in fifty marvellous accounts, tells us of the sense of mystery and wonder that propel scientists to go after solutions to the puzzling problems of the world around us.