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By members of the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC/Indian section of IBBY:Inteernational Board on Books for Young People). Cover design and illustrations by Jagdish Joshi. Translated from Hindi by Toofan Mein Jyoti.
Ponytale Books, Kolkata, 2012, pp. 256, Rs. 225.00

By Nilima Sinha
Ponytale Books, Kolkata, 2012, pp. 183, Rs.175.00


Deadly gases that fill the night air...a killer wave that washes away all...parents who go away, sometimes forever...the shadow of guns and suicide bombers...earthquakes, sickness and riots—heartbreaking tragedies, when a child’s worst nightmares come true, turning his world upside down… Here are two dozen heartwarming stories on love and loss, disaster and personal grief, abuse and aggression, sensitively written by well-known children’s authors. Whatever happened to those idyllic child-hood years of innocence and carefree abandon, one wonders—when life was an endless playground and all was right with the world? Maybe those wonder years never really existed, after all. Personal and domestic turmoil, unrest in the neighbourhood, everyday stresses in school and the world beyond have almost always shadowed the lives of the young, in one way or the other. What is more, terror and conflict today along with natural and man-made disasters everywhere, seem to have put childhood on the fast forward track towards adulthood. These sensitive years that oscillate between childhood and maturity beyond one’s years, can be lonely and unsure, and are often devastated by physical, mental and societal worries. Stories have proved to be a time-tested way to help children cope, heal and adjust to adverse situations. It was with this in mind that AWIC launched its Book Therapy Project, which believes in the potential of literature to soothe traumatized young minds and radiate hope. Some of the stories in this collection, Lighthouse in the Storm, were developed initially at a creative workshop on Book Therapy conducted by Manorama Jafa, the Secretary General of AWIC. Subsequently, more AWIC author members picked on a variety of themes reflecting turmoil and trauma in young lives to weave their stories around. This collection of stories—written in an array of engaging styles, is a result of that effort. Every story strikes a chord somewhere, to make the young reader reflect. The turmoil of young years, as with the breakup of the traditional family unit, the loss of a beloved parent, suicide, sickness, AIDS, child abuse, disability, death—all subjects once taboo in children’s stories, find a place in this book. These are all stories of sadness, of loss and despair. Yet they bring with them hope and recovery too as new dimensions open, opportunities come by, and the threads of life are picked up again. The suicide bomber changes Shabir’...

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