Come off it! You always say that the previous year has been a great one for books!
No, we mean it! Here's an example.
In 2022, we saw a book in Hindi, Gutargoo, which is an honor board book in our list. It took the touch-and-feel factor to another level with the 'chip chip gira kuch mere upar' and a 'puchuk' with a super sticky part of the book that the child can touch! Ha! Show me a child who doesn't laugh when reading such a book!
We have a stunning children's book on the Partition, a garden book for preschoolers that teach us something powerful about harvests, and a graphic novel about the Portuguese colonization of India told from the points of view of cannons and printing presses.
I rest my case.
I really believe we are pushing boundaries with children's literature in South Asia!
We read as many children's books as we possibly can and we also read them with the children in our lives - our kids, nephews, nieces, friends, acquaintances, and more. We actively solicit entries for the Top Books list. There is no doubt that there are many more amazing books out there that escaped our net but these are the ones that spoke to us and our readers in the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and the UK.
There are a few guidelines we follow. We look for books that tell South Asian stories meant for ALL children from all over the world. We truly connect with our children and are adventurous, reflective, and creative, and signal a move towards greater diversity in thought and talent. While the search for heartfelt meditations and meaning is always important, we want books that explore new ideas, genres, and possibilities.
We believe that books should be meaningful, memorable, representative, and high-caliber but above everything else, they need to be fun! Children should love to read them and pick them up again and again. Keeping this in mind, we picked books that speak to this generation of young readers and spark their love for turning the page day after day.
Here is our list!
Puchuk.....ah, what was that? Did you see something shiny fly by?
Come and look at what Gutargoo is up to in the first-ever touch-and-feel Hindi Board book
The world's first-ever touch-and-feel Hindi board book is another much-awaited gem from T4Tales, creators of Indian language interactive board books.
Here is a fun Hindi tale to share with your little ones - introduce them to the story of naughty pigeons on the roof! A story of childhoods and summer vacations spent running on rooftops and parks chasing pigeons. Each beautiful character is brought to life by Alankrita Amaya's wonderful illustrations! Grab your copy of the first-ever touch-and-feel interactive board book in Hindi!
A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.
When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first, she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?
Veer, Baba and Mummy’s plants grow, big and flowers and then little fruits appear on them. Ananya’s plant only has leaves growing bigger and bigger. No flowers, no fruits. What was she to harvest when her plant did not bear any fruits?
Children are curious to know more about the Partition and to read stories about it. This book by Shirin Shamsi told a gripping story and conveyed many emotions. The idea of losing one's home can truly get children to think and feel many things.
In this marvelously written and illustrated book, Azra knows that wherever she goes, her doll Gurya will follow. Even if it’s on a train that will take her far away from the house her family has lived in for generations. Even if there is a new flag flying in Dehradun, and no place left in it for Azra. At least she will be taking a piece of home with her.
But when Abba comes home and says they must leave right now, Gurya gets left behind in the scramble. Will Azra be strong enough to face the long journey alone? And what will happen to Gurya, now hundreds of miles behind them?
The book is inspired by the author’s family story and is a testament to the strength, courage, and perseverance of the over 10 million refugees displaced by the largest forced migration in recorded history.
I love art mysteries from around the world, from the Mona Lisa to Stonehenge but I am sure there are so many incredible mysteries in India too. This book tells the stories of ten mysterious people, styles, and objects in Indian art from the prehistoric period to the present day and in the process, it captures some of the diversity and range of the very large canvas we call Indian art. The stories told here include those of the Bhimbetka paintings, the Pithora paintings, the women artists of the Mughal era, and the mystery of the Indian yellow tint used in art. Mamta Nainy explores diverse artistic periods, explains different art forms, and gives insights into the lives of artists working in different times and spaces, one curious case at a time.
Many artists and writers in the children's book space were talking so glowingly about this graphic novel and it exceeded our expectations! Supported by extensive research from a leading Indus archaeologist, this graphic novel seeks answers to precise questions about people from the Indus Valley Civilization and their lives. The stunningly illustrated book gives us many looks at the people during this civilization which dates back to 3200 BC.
We know that the Portuguese colonized India but did you know that they left so much behind by way of influence? Batata pav, what we understand to be a quintessentially Mumbai dish, has its origins in Portugal! In this beautiful graphic novel, Vaishali Shroff narrates the Portuguese colonization from the point of view of cannons and printing presses. It is an incredible fly-on-the-wall look at some of the greatest moments in Indian history. Says Vaishali, "I look around in Mumbai and right from the East Indians to the baobab trees to churches to my favorite vada pavs, all remind me of Portuguese origins. This book serves as an eye-opener for kids who are absolutely unaware of Portuguese India between 1498 and 1961." A great book for history and food lovers too!
Rajiv Eipe's illustrations match Serow's brilliant writing, word for word. Chitty herself is drawn so realistically that you almost reach out to touch her head or gaze into her beautiful eyes. You almost walk into the magnificence of the stars in the Western Ghats or reach out to catch the flying termites that Chitty loves to chase. The forests come alive with Rajiv Eipe's illustrations and you are mesmerized.
Khoa Le's illustrations work magic here. The picture of Leila, her mom and her dad in bed spending time together will remain in our hearts for a lifetime. The book is based on the author Sheetal Sheth's own experience battling cancer as a parent of young kids. The book helps us find light in the darkest of moments. We read it together as a family and we sensed a connection so close and timeless that it felt as all-encompassing as the quilt that Leila and her classmates make for her mother.