What better way to start your year picking up Ruskin Bond’s latest Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes with illustrations by Samrat Halder. Here, the acclaimed children’s writer takes the readers on various travel adventures from his childhood. What was the world like for young Ruskin? What kind of vistas fuelled his writing? How must children observe their surroundings?... are some of the many questions this book — released last year as an e-book and now available in paperback format — answers. Let’s take a deep dive.
Apart from Bond’s book, another worthy read from Speaking Tiger’s Children Imprint Talking Cub is A Clown for Tenali Rama by Subhadra Sen Gupta. The author recently won the Big Little Book Award for children’s literature. A mix of fact and fiction the book brings details about the mighty Vijayanagara Kingdom in a historical setting.
In a conversation with The Morning Standard, Sayoni Basu, Consulting Editor, Penguin Random House, gives us a lowdown of promising titles for this year. Queen of Fire by Devika Rangachari tops her list. “Continuing her tradition of writing about female rulers of India, historian D Rangachari writes another impeccably plotted, gripping tale of a woman and the overwhelming odds she has to take on.” Basu also talks about Gopal’s Gully by Zarin Virji, a middle-grade debut novel about a Dalit boy from UP who comes to Mumbai and must find a livelihood and a life.
This is a hyperlocal tale of a street in Jogeshwari and the different people who live there, and how they coalesce into a family for the young boy. There is Mirror Mirror by Andaleeb Wajid — a young adult novel about a young girl who has issues with her body and how she comes to terms with it. “Wajid weaves this not-discussed-enough theme into a compelling story about finding one’s self and dealing with a late pregnancy in the family, with her usual touches of humour and romance,” says Basu.
For Vatsala Kaul Banerjee, Publisher, Children’s and Reference Books, Hachette India, the new title The Midnight Years by Jane De Suza and Sangita Unni, is a relevant Young Adult story fit for the times. She says, “I was pulled into The Midnight Years by Jane De Suza’s racy, light and caring touch, and how (the characters) Alisha, Sharad, Ruhi and AK stay human despite their life-changing decisions, without turning into unbelievable heroes. What could be a more time-relevant story than one about teenagers faced with doubts, expectations, and anxiety, and trying to come out on the top.
Awesome fact: at the end of the book, psychologist Sangita Unni analyses issues and opens doors to solutions!” Accordingly Nimmy Chacko, Senior Commissioning Editor, Children’s and Reference Books, Hachette India, Young Pandavas series by Anupam Arunachalam is a promising series. “I really wanted to publish a retelling of the Mahabharata for children, not an abridged version.
Enter the Young Pandavas series: a no-holds-barred account of how the heroes of the Mahabharata went from being forest kids to warrior princes, as they grow up in a dysfunctional royal family, from the perspective of the wimpiest (and smartest) Pandava, Sahadev.” Chacko says the author manages to give each character a distinct voice and explore new angles in these bite-sized books while staying true to the source material, and spunkily ends each one with a cliffhanger that works, “even though we all know what happens next!”
A worthy read from Speaking Tiger’s Children Imprint Talking Cub is A Clown for Tenali Rama by Subhadra Sen Gupta