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Welcome to Bookistaan

Bookistaan is India’s first recommendations based online children’s bookstore

As a small town bookstore, we have an inclination towards Indian publishing and writing, that hasn’t been able to find the routes into smaller towns. We believe it’s important for children to be exposed to their own literature for them to grow into empathetic individuals, proud of their own roots.

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Duckbill

Manya Learns to Roar

Have you ever been in a crowd and felt like you were losing your voice amidst all the noise? Like your voice was drowning, like it wasn’t important enough to be heard?

In times like these it’s important to not lose faith in yourself because the moment you do, you lose yourself and become the crowd.

Moving on to today’s book, Manya Learns to Roar is about a girl who dreams of shining out and making her own place in the world. Manya studies in the 5th standard and is absolutely thrilled to hear that her school is preparing a play on The Jungle Book. She knows the role that she wants to play and completely believes that she’ll be great at it. There’s only one problem, a lot of people don’t believe she can pull it off because she has a stammer. Soon Manya starts believing these other people more than herself and her stammer begins to worsen. Will she be able to reinstate her faith in herself or will be lose herself in self doubt?

 

Why read it?

Manya is a strong character, reading the blurb I’d expected a meek character, but she came as a welcome surprise. She knows how to put up a brave face in times of crisis and holds her ground even when it’s shaking beneath her feet.

The book covers issues like disability, bullying and bias and aims to make its reader conscious/sensitive about them. The idea is not to incite pity but empathy, and the book does that job well. It aims to make its reader into a considerate citizen without making the person with a disability a victim.

Also, the book will resonate with a lot of readers, young and adults, because it talks about the road to your dream, the hurdles that come along the way, the criticism, the doubts, everything. It’s quite an inspiring read in that sense.

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this roar some book for younger readers, ages 7 and above.

 

 

Unbroken by Nandhika Nambi

How things unfold?

There are two things about this book that’ll throw you off balance; one that the protagonist of this book is someone with a disability (trust Duckbill to do something like that!) and second that this character with the disability does not elicit admiration in the reader, not for a very long time in the story. She is a character who wants to be hated, she’s much rather be hated than be pitied, she feels no one understands her but she makes no attempt to give people a chance to understand her. According to her, she is a monster and she’s accepted that.

Her life is pretty normal comprising of parents who want her to lead a normal life, a do gooder brother who dotes on her (and everyone else), two friends who have stuck around through the thick, school, homework. exams. But everything, no matter how normal, seems to infuriate her more and more and more. How much anger can a teenager have? And what happens when the anger reaches the tipping point?

Why read it?

 For the awkward topic

Let’s admit it, disability is an awkward topic that most of us don’t know how to address. It’s almost a taboo which is why you’d hardly find it in books. So reading about a topic like that does educate you in terms of how to deal with it and this book does more that, it gives you insight into the thoughts of a person with a disability like its the most normal of circumstances. It makes disability normal not awkward. Kudos to the author for that!

For the fiesta character

Aakriti (that’s our main lead) is quite a rebellious character full of sarcastic come backs and mean (honest) opinions that she doesn’t shy from voicing. She can seem even heartless sometimes but her journey is enlightening (not to mention very satisfying). The book in that sense is an epiphany, telling you that all it takes is one person, one moment, one little thing to change your life, to change you and when that chance comes you should accept it.

Open your mind

I don’t wanna give out spoilers but there are a few other issues that the book takes on in a thought-provoking manner. It will open your mind about a lot of things, so give it a try.

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this one for young adults, ages 13 and above.

 

 

 

Ravana refuses to Die

How things unfold?

Rustom Dadachanji’s Ravana Refuses to Die is a collection of four short stories that follow the adventures of the Babubari’s gang – Muru, Jitu, Chippa, and Chipkili- as they deal with the demons of the 21st century. Along the way the fearless four meet a Rakshasa of the past, a scheming, syrupy voiced, kidnapping Sadhu, a money lending, land grabbing, gold digging ogre and marauding, mischief making monkeys. Whoever said village life was simple didn’t know that adventure comes to those with the courage to seize it at the right time!

Why Read it?

A taste of mythology
While the book doesn’t directly talk about the myth Ramayana, it does offer quite a lot of anecdotes and scientific terms from the myth successfully arousing the readers curiosity.

Demons exposed
The definition of evil has changed over the eras, it isn’t as explicit as it used to be. It has taken a more deceitful, crafty avatar in our world. It is this avatar that Rustom Dadchanji exposes and in a simple and subtle enough way to be comprehendible to children.

Picturesque storytelling
Dadachanji’s vivid imagery and detailed insights into the evil characters is absolutely delightful. It helps unravel a character making it easy to imagine.

The gang
The most endearing part of the book for me is the gang and age that they represent. The age where you stick out for your friends even if they annoy you, the age when you meet a stranger and you are friends in five minutes, the age where you take a leap of faith, trust a stranger and go out of your way to help them just because it feels right.

Who is it for?
Bookistaan recommends this devilishly delightful collection for Middle readers, ages 10 and above.

The Shy Supergirl

Cape. Check. Courage. Check. Superpower. Check.

What makes a superhero? Add a teaspoon of strength to a bowl of compassion, a tablespoon of courage and a pinch of uniqueness and voila… ! But those are traits that we all possess (the quantities may vary), so what makes them so different? I’d say the one thing that makes them different and the one superpower that every superhero in the world has in common is the power to feel for all of humanity, the ability to put everyone else’s life above your own, the inability to turn your back on someone who needs you but isn’t your own. They aren’t just bones and brains, it’s the heart that makes them special, that makes them different. It’s the heart that makes them super.

How things unfold?

Shabnam Minwalla’s The Shy Supergirl is about one such heart. If you’re expecting a tall, strong girl, flying from one building to another fighting crime and restoring peace then prepare to be surprised. Nine year old Nina is a shy, mostly quiet, weighing twenty one kgs, ordinary seeming girl with a secret superpower and this is the story of how she uses her power to expose the greedy and yes, of course unravel a crime.

Why read it?

A story of friendship

It is a simple, innocent story of friendship and crime solving that shows that size is an insignificant disadvantage when you have the advantage of an impeccable intuition and the nerve to trust it and yourself.

The extra in ordinary

Nina is the perfect example of being extraordinary and yet normal (aren’t we all a bit of both?), and her superpower is enviable.

For the fun adventure that is playing detective

Join Nina on a super sleuthing adventure and find out what her super power is.

To experience life as a supergirl

It’s not always nice to have a superpower sometimes it can get you into serious trouble, you know?

The book with a Hole!

This book is part of Duckbill’s Hole series (The books actually have a hole on the top. No kidding! You can even hang them!), which are short length, illustrated storybooks for younger readers.

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends the book for younger readers, age 7 and above. Put on your thinking hats and get ready for some crime busting!

Queen of Ice – YA review

When we think of Princesses, we think of intricate dresses, crowns, a life of luxury, and lots of pink. What a life!

Thankfully though, Devika Rangachari’s novel Queen of Ice challenges this illusion. She brings alive one of the few Queens of Indian History, Queen Didda – ruler of Kashmir from 958 AD to 1003 AD – beautiful, discerning and lame.

Here are 5 reasons to read Didda’s story:

Change your definition of princesses

Queen Didda is different not just because of her deformity but for her ambition, for her refusal to be undermined and for her belief that she’s made for greater things. It is this ambition that makes her defy conventions, that makes her a leader instead of a supporter.

An inspiring character

The story of her pursuit of power is one of unbound strength and undeterred conviction, it is these qualities that make her a memorable and inspiring character.

Ancient Kashmir

Discover tenth century Kashmir in all its glorious beauty and political upheaval.

 

You are defined by who you choose to be

Didda does not let her deformity become her disadvantage, nor does she let it weaken her. On the contrary she does everything to achieve what she wants proving that true strength lies in your mind.

The shining light of Indian History

The book challenges the way we see women’s contribution to Indian history. Here’s a Queen who ruled for almost 5 decades (first as regent and then as sole sovereign) and her rule is considered the most powerful and prosperous era for Kashmir ( much better time than her husband’s). A character who got lost in the pages of history, that celebrates the power and achievement of men, has finally found a voice.

 

Who is it for?

The book is for the book lover who loves historical fiction. Bookistaan recommends it for ages 13 and above.

 

Meet the Mischievous Marmaladies

Life becomes mechanical without us noticing, we rush from one check point to another in our routine without much sentiment and time plays a key role in this scheme of things. With so much to accomplish in so little time, life can seem like a race in which time is always running out. But can you imagine a life without time? What if time decides to bunk? What would happen to our life? Will we feel relieved or would our life collapse?

How things unfold?

Himanjali Sankar in her book The Stupendous Time-Telling Superdog transports us into such a world. The Orange Marmaladies living in the Black Whole of Time are the Original Timekeepers of the Universe. They have always loved Earth, there was a time when they used to be chums with the Earthlings, in fact the first sundial was their gift to the humans but it was also the agent that made them invisible to human eyes.

Now, almost 5000 years later, they are tired of being ignored and infuriated enough to play a little prank, courtesy to which all time pieces on Earth suddenly stop. Life is in chaos, people are in frenzy and work suffers. Only one family is coping with the disaster unfazed, the Ghoshs’, because they have Rousseau, the time telling but otherwise dense dog. Then over night Rousseau becomes a star, a guiding star, the world looking at him to show them a direction. While the family is excited at first, soon all the attention becomes exasperating, especially for Rousseau who becomes nervous around too many people.

Will time return to Earth and free Rousseau from the responsibility of guiding the world? Will the Orange Marmaladies find visibility?

Why read it?

A Doggy tale that is lovable as can be

A dog story never gets old, add to it tiny, orange creatures on a protest to get back their identity, pride and win reserved, front row seats to the Miss Universe show, and you have a funny tale that tickles you to the bone.

Add to it a subtle message

Himanjali Sankar does a successful job of showing us just how caught up we are in routines to notice the small, wonderful things that life offers.

An eye-opener that is fun and funny

Her writing is captivating and eye-opening without being preachy. It is a simple tale with a lot more to it than meets the eye.

With great power comes great popularity

Rousseau deals with the popularity that comes upon him, thanks to his superpowers, one tantrum at a time. Fame is not his game.

To find out?

  • If Rousseau (yes, named after Jean Jacques Rousseau) is able to save the day
  • If the Orange Marmaladies are able to come to a settlement with the oblivious Earthlings.

 

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this one for ages 8 and above, come join the Orange Marmaladies Anti-clock movement.

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