New Login   


Nivedita Sen

Edited by Anita Roy and Samina Mishra
Young Zubaan, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 164, Rs. 195.00


In a world of children’s reading that is dominated by Harry Potter and his ilk, Anita Roy and Samina Mishra have compiled and showcased titles of Indian children’s literature. In the burgeoning world of contemporary Indian publishing, it is true to say that children’s literature, which has gone through a transformation that brings it on par with any of its western counterparts, could steal much of the limelight if only adult readers, its decisive judges, gave it adequate attention. Not only has Indian children’s literature come a long way from didactic tales ending in moral homilies that demarcate the good child from the bad in very reductive terms- even the quality of paper, print, format, colour and finish of these books have undergone a transition that makes them much more attractive to handle and read by children and adults alike.   The book is a catalogue-cum-description of 101 best-loved Indian children’s books in English. It has admittedly left out rewritings of mythological texts including those like Panchatantra as the list would have become unwieldy. It includes both fiction and non-fiction. Poetry- rhymes, limericks, verses for children, however, are a serious omission. The book classifies the list according to age groups, starting with 0-5 years and ending with the 12 age group. When I read the descriptions, however, I was not totally convinced about the age groups since some seemed to spill over into either the former or the latter category. Although the compilation has left out myths, it has included folk tales e.g., in First Sun stories: Unusual Folk Tales from the Far East by various writers and The Magic Drum and Other Favourite Stories by Sudha Murthy.   Among the titles of non-fiction, there are some that capture the essence of Indian art and indigenous craft like Handmade in India by Olivia Fraser or Captured in Miniature: Mughal Lives through Mughal Art, while still others retell history by celebrating our legendary rulers—like Ashoka: The Great and Compassionate King by Subhadra Sen Gupta and Harsha Vardhana by Devika Rangachari. But the books that violate conventional adult assumptions about what constitutes children’s literature and dare to focus on some serious contemporary issues from a perfectly acceptable and comprehensible children’s perspective are No Guns at My Son’s Funeral by Paro Anand (dealing with the explosive Kashmir problem), Bhopal Gas Tragedy by Suroopa Mukherjee ( which documents the ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.