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31 Children's Books to Learn about Indian History for Independence Day and Republic Day

August 14, 2022

Looking for books on Indian history for Independence Day? You'd be amazed at the variety of books available about India. We have listed them all. From picture books to chapter books, activity books to books on Indian History, and more, check out these 31 books to learn about Indian History for children.


1. My Gandhi Story

Everyone has their own story of Gandhi -- and in this book, a Warli artist, a storyteller, and an animation filmmaker come together in a unique collaboration to bring a very visual story of Gandhi to children. This book is part of our best-selling Toka History Series.

The book narrates Gandhi's story but from a unique perspective and the story is something that every young reader can relate to, instead of just being impersonal facts in a book. We also love the diversity behind the making of this book, when different kinds of artists come together to tell a story.

Both Gandhi Books are also available for purchase as a Gandhi Bundle on the Toka Shop!

Buy this book now!

2.Tales of Historic Delhi

In this stunningly illustrated picture book, the animals of Janwar Dosti — Tunnu the tiger, Zero the giraffe, Lucky the rabbit and all their jungle friends — embark on a beautiful and historical journey through Delhi. They discover its monuments, its places of historical importance, and also find fun things to do. Tales of Historic Delhi is the ultimate family guidebook and companion to explore the city and make its history come alive.  Come and take a walk back through time with the animals and birds to discover historic Delhi!

Many Indian books for children have listed the various monuments of Delhi, but few have succeeded in making them into a book that makes learning about this great city - fun! The illustrations make the book come alive. A great way to educate children through this medley of the real, the fantastical, and the historical!

Buy this book now! 

3. Mukand and Riaz

Mukund and Riaz by Nina Sabnani, published by Tulika Books is a story of a deep friendship between two boys, Mukand and Riaz set against the backdrop of the partition of India. The story strikes a chord and is deeply touching and all the more because it is based on the real-life story of the author's father. A perfect book to perhaps begin conversations about hard topics with your children, if and when they begin asking these questions.  

Buy this book now! 

4. The Story of Dandi March

A battle over salt? Yes, fought the Gandhi way! What guns and soldiers could not do, he did simply, quietly and non-violently, just by picking up a lump of salt. Follow Gandhiji’s famous march to Dandi to see the brilliant strategy that made the British give in and the world take notice.

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5. Bhimrao Ambedkar: The Boy Who Asked Why

This book follows the life of Babasaheb Ambedkar and how he lent his voice to fight against caste discrimination. From GoodReads - "This straightforward telling, visualized with quirky imagination, brings to children a man whose story will raise their awareness of discrimination -- leading them, perhaps, to ask their own whys. It's a great way to learn about one of the authors of our constitution and a man who fought many battles in his life.

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6. A for Ajrakh: The A to Z of Block Printing

What do ancient fragments of cloth found in Egypt have to do with modern-day Gujarat? The answer starts with A — and sets us off through the alphabet, building with blocks of a very different kind! A for Ajrakh, B for Bagh, C for Chhipa… Each letter sparks off an aspect of block printing on textile, so that by Z for Zafran what we get is a fascinating patchwork of the styles, the motifs, the blocks, the dyes, and the skilled people who sustain and invigorate a centuries-old intricate craft.

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7. The Story of Babur by Parvati Sharma

This is the story of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of Hindustan. It is based on the Babur Nama, in which Babur writes about the events in his life, and the people and things he loved or hated. Descended from two legendary conquerors, Genghis Khan and Amir Temur, Babur spent much of his early life losing kingdoms, wandering through the Uzbek mountains, and almost living the life of a vagabond. This is the story of the strange and wonderful things the future brought to him.

Lavishly illustrated in Mughal miniature style paintings, this action-packed tale of this legend, king, and adventurer will fascinate children and their parents alike.

Buy this book now!

8. The Indus Valley

The book narrates how in the 1920s, archeologists started to excavate great cities buried beneath huge, ruined mounds in South Asia. They revealed an ancient civilization that flourished from 2600 to 1900 B.C.E. The skilled architects, artists, and builders of this mysterious culture left behind a wealth of artifacts. Each year's archeological finds provide more clues to solve the riddles of the Indus Valley civilization.

Apart from giving your child information on the Indus Valley Civilization in short and engaging bites that they will like and enjoy, the book may also light the spark and produce budding archeologists! Unearthing cities under the ground is many a child's dream!

Buy this book now!

9. Cave Art: The First Paintings

How did art begin? Where did colors come from before paints in tubes and bottles? Taking a long step back in history, this book explores how the world’s first artists may have tried their hand on the very first canvases on the walls of rocks and caves. Arising more from artistic imagination than archaeology, this story of art unfolds with photographs of the ancient paintings at the Bhimbetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh alongside creative reproductions of rock art.

Visceral, thought-provoking, and informative, the book contains visual signposts to our history and origins. Children being such visual learners, they will connect immediately to the instincts and emotions behind primitive art and its honesty.

Buy this book now!

10. Eye Spy Indian Art

After Raza's Bindu, authors Ritu Khoda and Vanita Pai are back with Eye Spy Indian Art, an absolutely gorgeous and well-crafted book that takes us on a journey of the evolution of Indian Modern Art and its various movements.

They start with the pre-modern phase of the Company School depicting life, birds and animals in British India under the patronage of the East India Company and Kalighat Pats made of cloth that is accompanied by patuas who tell stories or sing folk songs.

Buy this book now!

11. The Story of Tipu Sultan

Read and Colour favourites are back in a new edition! A hands-on way for young children to understand and explore ‘information’, this series keeps them engaged with more than just text. As they enjoy colouring in the well researched line drawings, they absorb the little visual details that add to the experience and stay with them. 

Trained to be king from the time he was 12 years old, Tipu was a bold and fearless boy – no wonder, then, that he chose the tiger for a mascot! Here’s a tale of how this Tiger of Mysuru challenged the growing might of the British in the late 18th century.

Buy this book now!

11. Krishna Deva Raya, King of Kings

A lushly-illustrated long-form picture book that brings the glory and the grandeur of the south Indian 16th century Vijayanagara Empire to life, through the heartwarming story of a girl and her grandmother.

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12. Thangam of Mehrgarh

Meet a friend from the Indus Valley! Thangam lived 9000 years ago and was part of a great civilization. Yet, she was just like you – dreamy, restless and wanting to do everything all at once.

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13. UNESCO India Heritage Series

There are 37 World Heritage Sites in India. The set of 5 books in this series tells stories of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh’s Sanchi Stupa, the Qutb Minar in Delhi, and the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. The books are authored by renowned historians and conservationists and beautifully illustrated by accomplished artists.

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14. A Conspiracy in Calcutta 


In 1928 in Calcutta, student protests gain momentum across the city and police atrocities grow, but ten-year-old Bithi wants to join in the struggle for freedom.

She lives in a society where her best friend is to be married and just the fact that she is going to school is regarded with disapproval, so how can Bithi play a substantial part? How can she fight those who are dearest to her? Discouraged but not daunted, Bithi schemes and plots and lies and is drawn into unexpected danger-all for the sake of fighting injustice in all its forms.


15. The Chowpatty Cooking Club 


With Mahatma Gandhi's call to the British to Quit India, the city has become a hotbed of revolutionary activity-student protests, secret magazines and even an underground People's Radio which broadcasts news that the British want concealed.

Sakina and her friends Zenobia and Mehul desperately want to be part of this struggle for freedom. But there is little that they are permitted to do. But at least, they are trying to do something useful, while their mothers are only running a cooking club.

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16. The Train to Tanjore


There are few excitements in Thambi’s quiet life. There is the new hotel, disapproved of by elders, which lures him with the aroma of sambar with onions. There are visits to the library to read the newspaper, and once in a while, a new movie at the Rajaram Electric Theatre. More disagreeably, there are fortnightly visits from his uncle to lay down the law.

When Gandhiji announces the Quit India movement, Tanjore is torn apart by protests. The train station-the lifeline of the town-is vandalized. Mysterious leaflets are circulated, containing news that newspapers do not publish. And inspired by the idea of a free India and his own dreams of being an engineer, Thambi must find the courage to do what he believes is right-even when it endangers all he holds dear.  

Buy this book now!

17. After Midnight: A History of Independent India


At the time of Independence, few believed that a country made up of British provinces and over 500 princely states could survive as a nation, even for a few years. That a land stripped of its riches, wracked by disease and famine, and divided along tense communal lines could thrive in its aspirations. Yet, in the 75 years since Independence, India has grown beyond anyone’s expectation.

How did India get this far? What were the sweeping social, political, scientific, technological, military, environmental and economic developments it witnessed along the way? Interspersed with personal anecdotes, illustrations, infographics, informative timelines and quotes, After Midnight revels in the diverse ideas that have come to shape India and offers a multifaceted context to the present. In many ways, this is one of the greatest underdog-beating-the-odds stories in world history, full of blood, sweat, tragedy and triumph.

18. The History Mystery Series 

Natasha Sharma is one of our favorite authors. The History Mystery series are semi-fictitious stories woven around famous people from Indian history -- Ashoka, Akbar, Razia Sultan, and more. The incidents narrated are fictitious but are based on actual events from history. We loved Razia and the Pesky Presents, a book about Razia Sultan who is very irritated because she keeps getting these pesky presents that keep reminding her she is a woman and not a male to run the empire. She sets out to discover who is giving her these gifts. 

In Raja Raja and the Swapped Sacks, Raja Raja is the king of the Chola dynasty. He is worried because the Chinese from the Song dynasty have complained against him against the Ayyavoles who are the group of traders who control the trade of the Chola dynasty. Someone has been swapping the sacks of goods that the Chola empire has been trading with the Chinese. The king then realizes that only one person in this kingdom can solve this mystery. 

There are five books in this series and each one is so engrossing, that you cannot put it down! 

Combining history with mystery is a superb idea and Natasha Sharma's humor keeps the narrative going at an exhilarating pace. You will be on your toes, trying to read till the very end and make interesting discoveries. The book has actual facts and information on each historical figure, right at the very end.  We highly recommend this one! It's our favorite.

Buy now! 

Toka Box History Mystery Bundle Set 

19. The Incredible History of India's Geography 

Written by Sanjeev Sanyal with Sowmya Rajendran, and published by Puffin, is one of those magical books which manages to convert historical facts and figures into an interesting read with almost a story-like feel to it.

Buy now! 

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20. Excavating History

Superhero action carved on rocks. A headless statue. Royal inscriptions on pillars and copper plates. Glass fragments from a lost city. These may sound like clips from a fantasy thriller, but are in fact objects unearthed at archaeological sites across the country — and the stories they throw up are just as exciting! This book won  the 2018 The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Book: Non-Fiction

Buy now!

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21. Ahimsa  

Set in 1942, Ahimsa is about Anjali, a ten-year-old girl whose mother works for a British officer. Anjali's mother quits her job and joins the freedom movement. Anjali is nonplussed by her mother's choice and she cannot understand why they would have to give up their beautiful clothes and only wear khadi. Anjali and her family are brahmins and hence on top of the caste system. Anjali's parents decide that everyone should be equal and they start challenging the status quo -- they empty the waste from their own toilets, work with the Dalits in their neighborhood on how to read and write, and are constantly assessing their beliefs and strategies when it comes to their role in the freedom movement. 

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22. The Incredible History of the Indian Ocean by Sanjeev Sanyal

An adaptation of The Ocean of Churn for young readers. When did the first humans arrive in India and how did they get here?

What are Roman artifacts from hundreds of years ago doing in a town near Puducherry?

How did merchants from Arabia end up near Kochi?

From the east coast of Africa to Australia, one big blue body of water has connected diverse peoples and cultures for thousands of years: the incredible Indian Ocean. Read on to learn about the fearless travelers and sailors, pirates and conquerors who set out to cross the ocean in search of gold and glory, and discover how geography can shape the course of history.

This book is an Honor Book in the Non-Fiction Category from the Toka Box Top South Asian Books 2020! 

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23. The Teenage Diary Series by Talking Cub


The Teenage Diary Series published by Talking Cub, is written from the point of view of brave female warriors from Indian history who went on to defy the orthodoxy and became fierce warriors and achievers. There are five books in this series -- The Teenage Diary of Razia Sultana by Anitha MurthyThe Teenage Diary of Jahanara by Subhadra Sen Gupta, The Teenage Diary of Rani Laxmibai by Tanushree PoddarThe Teenage Diary of Jodh Bai by Subadhra Sen Gupta, and The Teenage Diary of Noor Jahan by Deepa Agarwal.

Young children and chapter book readers will empathize with famous historical personalities because they are written from a teenager's point of view. It makes for fascinating reading and inspires children in many ways!

Buy now!
The Teenage Diaries Bundle 

24. A Children's History of India

This book is written by Subhadra Sen Gupta & illustrated by Priyankar Gupta published by Rupa Publications is a consolidated book on the history of India right from the times it was called Jambudvipa till today. The book is divided into four sections - Ancient India, Medieval India, British India, and Independent India. While most history books deal with important events, what sets this one apart is the chapters on how the common people lived.

25. The Constitution of India for Children by Subhadra Sen Gupta

We all celebrate Republic Day but what is the constitution of India? What does it tell us? It took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to realize the constitution. The Constitution of India for Children is a beautiful book by Subadhra Sen Gupta, which tells children everything they need to know about our democracy - which language is the Indian constitution written in? Were women part of the team? What is the official language of India? 

This handbook is wonderful for children to get essential facts about this beautiful country. It is presented in a very engaging and interesting manner, with the author talking about many interesting events that mark our history and how the constitution was written.  

26.  20 Indians Who Changed the World

When we read 20 Indians Who Changed the World by Shurthi Rao, my daughter and I rediscovered Indian scientists, philosophers, musicians, writers, and mathematicians but we also unraveled larger narratives at work in the book - for example, why did science decline in India after the 12th century? One of the causes, Shruthi writes, is explained by a 19th-century chemist named PC Ray. He attributed the decline to the introduction of the caste system, which prevented fruitful intellectual interactions between different people in society. Unlike most books on history that seem to be holding the publishing world in a sort of frenzy, this book has a unique narrative style and a very distinct voice.

Buy this book now!

27. A Conspiracy in Calcutta 

A Conspiracy in Calcutta.jpg

The Songs of Freedom series from Penguin depicts the Indian Freedom Struggle as experienced and narrated by children. As fans of Lesley D. Biswas's Chumki series, we were thrilled to see her write for older children. A Conspiracy in Calcutta is about ten-year-old Bithi who is furious that her best friend, Sulata, is forced to get married at a shockingly young age.

All around her, India's struggle for freedom grows stronger and while she is drawn to this struggle, Bithi finds the purpose to fight for issues like women's education and against child marriage. She owns the local akhara and her brother is injured and arrested, which means that Bithi is forced to deliver a secret message without being caught by the police. The book is set against the student protests in Calcutta and give us a stunning portrait of the Indian Independence movement in that city.   

28. Let's Go Time Travelling Again!

How did Indian mulmuls make it into Cleopatra's wardrobe? Who popularized the Mahabharata in households across the country? Did our ancestors really identify Jupiter and Saturn without even a telescope?

Find the answers to these and many other unusual questions about the India of yesterday. Go time travelling through the alleys of history and explore the many occupations that have existed through time-from dancers and playwrights to farmers and doctors. Sift through snapshots of the rich life led by ordinary Indians and discover unexpected titbits about language, food and culture.

Told through portraits of children growing up in the villages, towns and courts of our country, this sequel to the award-winning Let's Go Time Travelling is a vivid glimpse into our past

Buy this book now!

29. India to the Rescue

Do you think history is booorrriing? Here’s a book that’s as action-packed as your favourite TV show – and it’s all true! The Indian armed forces are among the bravest in the world. Read about one of their most exciting military operations as they save the beautiful island state of Maldives from a surprise attack. You’ll step right inside this thrilling adventure and see how our tough, Daredevil soldiers get into action! In this book you’ll take a secret flight on a fighter jet with a team of paratroopers get on a tiny boat and sail through the darkness in the ocean free an island country with only a battalion of men! Reading level: for 7 years and above.

Buy this book now!

30. 10 Indian Monarchs Whose Amazing Stories You May Not Know

This book tells the stories of ten Indian monarchs who find, at best, a passing mention in the history textbooks we read, though their lives were exciting and their achievements considerable:
Ajatashatru | Bindusara | Rudradaman | Pulakeshin II | Jayapida | Didda | Ramapala | Abbakka | Chand Bibi | Ahilyabai Holkar
Historian and award-winning novelist, Devika Rangachari writes absorbing tales of the men and women who shaped lives and kingdoms in their times.

Buy this book now!

31. The Unknown Indians by Subhadra Sen Gupta

The book begins with an introduction about the evolution of India, which gives a background to the way we perceive civilization; and explains in amazing and interesting detail how we, as a country, have always been tolerant and all-encompassing. It speaks about the influence that other cultures of the world as well as the dynasties that have ruled us have had on our culture and lays a firm foundation for this marvelous work.

The book is a lovely read that is divided into chapters with headings that are self-explanatory and beautifully laid out. At the end of every chapter, there is a small section that gives fascinating pieces of information complementing the chapter. As a chapter ends, one is not yet ready to let go, but with the beginning of every new chapter, it is impossible not to be interested all over again and immersed in a world that is superbly mesmerizing!  

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