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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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Books about disability

For the past few years Literature is all about diversity, giving voice to every people, regardless of race or ability or lack thereof. These diverse books advocate the need for minority representation, representation of disabled or ill characters, as protagonists and not as sidekicks. And mind you, the idea of this books is not to invoke pity. No, the idea is about equal representation, a disabled character need be just as special as any normal character, with everyday struggles, the angst of growing up and hopes for the future like any other character. The idea is to find a place in this world for these stories as well because there may be readers out there who’ll feel less lonely, feel like less of an outcast when they read a story like their own. And for the reader who can’t relate to these books, my advice is give them a try, you’ll find a lot of heart and inspiration in there, even a love for life and people, every people.

So here are some diverse books that we think are a good place to start if you’re game for exploring the genre:

MIDDLE GRADE

 

Image result for wonder bookWonder

August Pullman is a 10 year old who was normal parents, a normal sister, normal life but an unusual facial appearance. He has a deformed face, the kind that scares other children, and he’s never been to a school before. But then his parents start discussing how it’s time and the next thing he knows he’s taking on the challenge, albeit fearfully. He wants to be treated like everyone else, he wants to be the normal kid with friends, but is he?

Wonder is a paragon of middle grade diverse books. A poignant story about friendship, about learning to love yourself, about acceptance and growing up.

(Need more reasons to read the book? click here)

 

Image result for simply nanjuSimply Nanju

Simply Nanju is about a boy who’s simply normal. Nanjegowda is a boy of 10, studying in Standard 5 at the United Integrated School, born-with-a-spinal-defect-which-means-he-walks-funny-and-needs-to-wear-a diaper-24/7 normal. But Nanju has bigger problems on his hands like a mystery to solve, his name to clear concerning said mystery, prevent his father from shipping him off to a hostel for orphans, among other things. Good thing nothing worries him! Much!

(find our full review here)

 

Image result for el deafoEl Deafo

In this autobiographical graphic novel, the author Cece Bell chronicles her own loss of hearing at a young age and her experience with a hearing aid and how it made her her a misfit in school. Gradually it is this very hearing aid that help her become ‘El deaf, Listener for All’. Will she find her place in the world? Will she finally get people to accept her?

 

Image result for charlie and frog bookCharlie and Frog

Charlie’s parents are off to another adventure, this time dumping him with his TV addicted grandparents. He’s out exploring the place when a strange woman leaves him with a desperate message. In sign Language. Before disappearing suddenly.  Now Charlie has a mystery on his hands but no idea where to start. Good thing he finds help in Frog aka Francine, a deaf, wannabe detective who is all too excited to practice her sleuthing skills. Will a lot of ASL (American sign Language), intrigue, humor and a heartwarming friendship, this book is a satisfying, smart middle grade read.

 

 

 

YA

 

Image result for curious incident of the dog in the nighttimeThe Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime

Christopher is a 15 year old boy, living with his father. He loves prime numbers, hates yellow and is autistic. One day his neighbor’s dog is found forked to death and he embarks to uncover the murderer, Sherlock Holmes style. Even though I did not fall in love with the plot of the book, I did completely love Christopher, his musings on life and the world around him are so eye opening, no mind opening that I recommend this book for that reason alone.

 

 

Image result for unbroken duckbillUnbroken

Akriti is the girl with a disability. She’s in a wheelchair but she wasn’t always like this. She was a normal girl once but now that girl is lost. The thing that throws you of guard about this book is that the 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. This is a book that explores anger, he frustration when your life changes for the worst and stops making any sense and all you can think about is, ‘why me?’.

Full review here

 

Image result for a quiet kind of thunderA Quiet Kind of Thunder

Steffi is selective mute. She’s been silent for so long that no one remembers her talking in school. She’s pretty much invisible until a new boy comes and notices her. Rhys is deaf and Steffi’s knowledge of ASL means she’s assigned to help him settle. A beautiful story about young love, taking a chance and new beginnings.

 

Bookistaan’s favorite Fantasy worlds: fantasy series

Reading means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it’s an adventure, for others it’s an escape and for yet another category it’s a chance to face the mirror.

If there’s one genre that does is all, it’s fantasy. The experience of losing yourself in another world, bumping into all sorts of characters, dragons included, is nothing short of surreal. A world unlike another and yet it has the power to make you see your own reality in better light.

So today we share with our favorite ever fantasy world. Please remember the list is mostly revealed of middle grade readers and young adults. Also the series does not contain any dystopian novels because that’s a genre in itself, lately. So, here goes:

Image result for harry potterHarry Potter

If you read only one fantasy series, read Harry Potter, the book that brought children’s writing to the forefront. Harry is 11 when he receives acceptance into The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his life changes forever. He’s faced with his past, new challenges, new friend, a world full of magic and even an enemy. Rowling’s magical world is so imaginative, symbolic and immersive that it will have you addicted until you reach the entire series and you’ll still not be satisfied. I still at least one book in the series every year!

 

 

 

Image result for the chronicles of narnia bookThe Chronicles of Narnia

C. S. Lewis’ first in this series of seven was published in 1950. The first book The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe  stars 4 brother and sisters who whilst hiding in a cupboard stumble upon the magical land of Narnia. The main characters change in the subsequent books but the world remains the same and the books span the entire history of the realm. Full of magic, conflict and acts of bravery, the series is hard to put down and harder to forget.

 

 

Image result for percy jacksonPercy Jackson and the Olympians

This magical world takes inspiration from Greek mythology, which in itself was a winner for me. It’s a world of Gods and demigods where one misfit is trying to find his place. But Percy Jackson is more than meet the eye and it looks like fate has great adventures in store for him. Percy faces one nail-biting task after another to prove his worth in this series of Five books. The books are set in a school for demigods and Greek Gods make special guest appearances throughout the plot!

 

 

Image result for artemis fowlArtemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl is a hero unlike any other. He is a criminal mastermind. Yep, you read that right! The series starts with Fowl kidnapping a fairy for ransom, so that he can extort gold from the fairy people and restore his family’s wealth. Our little villain grows into many shades in this series with eight books and has won the hearts of readers worldwide with his evil plots.

 

 

Image result for fairyland seriesFairyland

Finally a series with a heroine! In the first book of five, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, we meet eleven year old September who is spirited away from her ordinary, uneventful life to Fairyland. Here is meets witches and gnomes and all sorts of odd characters and is trusted with a very important task. It’s a delicious story about growing up and finding courage and compassion.

 

 

 

 

 

Fablehaven.jpgFablehaven

This fantasy series of five books by Brandon Mull follow a brother and sister duo who are visiting their grandparents while their parent are on a holiday. To their surprise they come to find that their grandparents are guardians of Fablehaven, a sanctuary for ALL sorts of magical creatures. Think fairies, centaurs, ogres, goblins, trolls, dragons etc, all in one place. Is that a geeks dream come true or what!

 

 

 

Cover ravenboys 300.pngThe Raven Cycle

The Series follows Blue, who’s lived her life among her clairvoyant family. Her entire life she’s been told that when she kisses her true love, he’s going to die. The prophecy has never been a problem for Blue, that is until she meet the Raven Boys, a group of four boys from a local private school, and finds herself on a quest with them.

Counting Picture books

Picture books are a great way to make learning fun! They are a great way to engage your child into learning anything.

So today I have a list of counting picture books, stories that make math fun. All you have to do is make it a into a reading game:

 

Related imageLet’s Go by Anther Mohan

This is such a popular book with toddlers. A fun counting book that’ll take you on a tour through the colorful, eventful streets of India. Every page is an engaging counting game.The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and capture the diversity of our country quite precisely. It’s the kind of book that you just have to read more than once (even though that can be said about most picture books).

 

 

 

 

One Dark Cloud by Sobha Viswanath

This beauty of a counting book is for the rainy days. Sobha Viswanath brings alive monsoon in this brilliant picture book. The paper college illustrations are simply enthralling and feel like home. This book is major nostalgia if you read it any other time of the year, other than monsoons, so I suggest you read if with your child anytime just to create that anticipation for the heavenly showers.

 

 

 

Image result for one two tree anushka ravishankarOne, Two, Tree by Anushka Ravishankar

Come along and count the improbable number of animals of this ever-expanding tree. With Anushka Ravishankar’s signature rhymes, this book is delightfully celebrates trees and living together. The illustrations are done in Gond tribal tradition known for its deep affection of trees and create an earthy, soothing atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

Image result for the very hungry caterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This classic is a part of a lot lists, let me warn you. The hungry caterpillar eats everyday until its big enough to metamorph. The book take the readers through the days of the week and numbers till five.

 

 

 

 

Image result for ten apples up on top10 Apples up on Top by Dr Seuss

You can’t go wrong with Dr Seuss. Different characters in this book compete to balance 10 apples on their head. The rhymes and repetition make the storytelling that much more engaging and each page is a counting prompt for your child. It’s a great book for beginner readers as well or even beginner listeners.

Books for your child’s first year

I know what you are thinking, your baby hardly stays awake and hasn’t even developed complete vision and here I am telling you to read books to him/her. And there’s the whole argument that they have to spend the next twenty or so years studying, so what does the first two years matter?

Well, they do. The first two years are the most crucial years in a child’s cognitive development, their brain is new and growing and needs as much nourishment as the rest of their body. And it’s a great time to develop habits. As I always say reading is a habit that needs to be nourished, it’s not something your child will just wake up with one day. Also reading is NOT studying. I know a lot of people consider it a chore and that’s exactly why you need to introduce your child to books early, so they don’t see it as work but a fun part of the day.

As for the first school of thought, I get it. You may feel like an idiot reading to a baby who is hardly conscious of his/her surrounding but just do it because any form or communication is great for your child. Yes they can’t process it yet but the more you talk, the more they’d want to respond. So make it a part of their bed time routine right from the start and it will stay with them through life. 

 

 

Image result for hello animalsHello Animals by Smriti Prasadam Halla

A high contrast, black-and-white book is an essential new born read since new borns don’t see colors for the first few months. The black and white contrasts help them focus and is great for brain development.

 

 

Image result for dear zoo pop upDear Zoo By Rod Campbell

This Pop-up Classic is a delightful way to introduce your child to animals and their sounds. There’s a lot of scope for enactment and children just love it when the animals pop out, never ceases to surprise them.

 

Image result for where's my belly buttonWhere is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz

This is lovely lift-the-flap, pee-a-boo book. Honestly I love all of Karen Katz’s books, they are funny, engaging and simple but beautiful but I’m choosing this one because it has fewer words and it plays out wonderfully like a game.

 

 

Image result for ladybird touch and feelLadybird Touch and Feel books

Once your baby starts sitting they want to explore their surroundings. Also there are developing their senses or rather learning how to use their senses. Touch and Feel books are great stimulators, encouraging babies to feel different textures with their hand.

There are a lot of options in this series to choose from.

 

Image result for pajama timePajama Time by Sandra Boynton

A bedtime story is a great way to wrap up the day and unwind with your child and that’s exactly what the book does. The book has a musical quality to it so you can make a song of it and sing and dance for your child.

 

 

Image result for akkad bakkad tulikaAkkad Bakkad, illustrated by Shreya Sen

Tulsa launched these baby board books last year I believe and I just had to include them on the list because I haven’t seen any Indian houses doing board books. This is a counting book based on the all time favorite Indian rhyme. I really liked it because, again, you can sing it out and count along and put on a show for your child.

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