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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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Younger Readers

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.

 

 

Introduce your young ones to these books this Independence Day

We celebrate 70 years of freedom today! Needless to say we’ve come a long way and while it’s important to celebrate the joy of independence it is as important to remember the struggle, to look back at the road we’ve traveled and reminisce the changes that have happened along the way. It is also important to pass on everything that we as a nation stand for to our young ones, to introduce them to the past so they can appreciate and understand the present. What better place to start than books! Which is why we have some recommendations for you all today, books to introduce to your young ones this Independence Day:

My Gandhi Story
Author: Nina Sabnani, Ankit Chadha
Illustrator: Rajesh Chaitya Vangad

This book takes the readers through the life of Mahatma Gandhi, how he grew up from the boy who did not much like school to the man who believed in a cause so much that he lead an entire nation to work with him, a man with undettered determination, a man who taught us to fight but humbly and with the utmost respect for ourself and our opponent. The story is painted through Warli art and highlights all his ideals and ideas as well as some major events in the Nationalist movement. The text is simple for children and the illustrations both amusing and elaborate.

Age group: 5 years and above

Bhimrao Ambedkar The Boy Who Asked Why
Author: Sowmya Rajendran
Illustrator: Satwik Gade

This is the story of the first Law Minister of our country and how his ‘whys’ brought the first wave of consciousness about equality to our country. The book very innocently explains and questions untouchability and discrimination. It’s a great way to sensitize your child to such a complex topic and make them empathetic enough to ask their own whys.

Age group: 6 years and above

Mukund and Riaz

Author and Illustrator: Nina Sabnani

Mukund and Riaz is a simple story of two friends who are forced to part when a nation is spilt into two. The book very subtly introduces children to partition and how it uprooted citizens and relations, it hints of a dark time, a time of bloodshed and heartbreak but most of all it talks about friendship that transcends religion, borders, distance, friendship that survives with people even if they never see each other again.

Age group: 4 years and above

We The Children of India
The Preamble to our Constitution

Author: Leila Seth
Illustrator: Bindia Thapar

Written by the first woman Chief Justice of India, this is a detailed and simplified explanation of our constitution. It introduces children to concepts of a Nation, of Democracy, freedom of speech etc while also taking them through the history of our country and how the constitution came to be. Most importantly it explains what this nation stand for and what it expects from us as citizens.

Age group: 7 years and above

When in Delhi

Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Jayanto

This picturesque book takes you around the capital, giving the readers a little history and lost of trivia. The travel  guides takes you through all major attractions in the city like Jama Masjid, Chandni Chawk, India Gate, Parathe Wali Gali etc.  providing little snippets as to what awaits you, what to do, what to eat and lots more. The pictures are the most curious part of this book, they are photographs adorned with quirky caricature drawings. For those who have been to Delhi this’ll be a trip down memory lane and those who haven’t can enjoy it as there guide into the wondrous city.

Age group: 5 years and above

Ramayana in Rhyme

The myth that is part of every growing up in India, the myth associated with our most major festival, The Ramayana probably has more than 300 known versions, with more coming up every year. What makes each version so special and varied is the voice; like any written text each version adopts the voice and personality of its storyteller and the essence of its time of birth.

Today, we have a very lyrical, very contemporary version of this age old epic – Ramayana in Rhyme by Kairavi Bharat Ram and Ananya Mittal and here’s why you should give it a try:

Ramayana Dr Seuss style
Mythology has been an unapproachable read for children, it’s something that they grow up listening to but dread reading. But here’s a versions that is not only in tune with the current time and it is also fun. You can sing it, rap or just recite, It narrative is si breezy that it’ll have you hooked right from the start.

20 minutes of mythology
And the best part, it will take you some 20 minutes or so to read. 20 minutes is all you need to brush up your child’s mythology in q quirky but fun way. Plus it has additional stuff to offer i the end, like relationship web and map.

Colorful, distinctive illustrations
Vandana Bist and Suvidha Mistry’s colorful and detailed illustrations successfully make the narrative even more magical and mysterious.

Who is it for?
Bookistaan recommends this charming version for all ages, starting younger readers. A perfect way to introduce your child to mythology!

Koobandhee: the Adventures of Bala and the Book-Barfing Monster

Six months after Bala used the super power of his imagination to vanquish Bookasura, the Book eating monster of Melagam, Bala is back all set to ride into another adventure.

How things unfold?

Arundhati Venkatesh’s sequel Koobandhee: the Adventures of Bala and the Book-Barfing Monster, follows Bala after his victory over the book eating master, as he tries to deal with his book-chewing, toe-biting, ‘nasty gnat’ of a little sister, Meera. He couldn’t be happier when his mother tells him he’s off to Melagam, finally some peace for him and his books! Plus he’s get to see a fellow book buff in the face of Bookasura!

But that bubble bursts pretty soon when he finds out his sister is accompanying him to Melagam and then his one one ray of hope disappears when he realizes Bookasura’s home is now inhabited by a headless, book-barfing she-monster who blames him for her horrible digestive system and wants to swallow him whole. However will he survive this one?

Why read it?

Monsters and mythology
Arundhati Venkatesh yet again successfully brings alive another monster of our mythology, giving her personality a funny and farting twist.

Imagination wins yet again
And like last time, imagination and the power of reading win the day for Bala once again.

Sibling revelry
But Bala has another accomplice this time around, of a shiny-headed, gurgling variety.

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this one for the younger reader, ages 7 and above, yearning for an adventure with a perfect ending.
But be sure to try Book 1 as well (here’s the bookistaan review-https://onlinebookistaan.com/2016/05/23/bookasura/)!

The Boy Who Swallowed a Nail and Other Short Stories

The best kind of reads are those that have the ability to transport the reader to a magical world of mystical beings or down memory lane, through alleys of emotions to that corner of the heart that has been locked for a long time.

That is exactly where Lalita Iyer’s collection of childhood anecdotes promises to take a reader. Her book The Boy Who Swallowed a Nail and Other Short Stories  is a portrait of her childhood and her weird, quirky, full of surprises and yet absolutely normal family.

Why read it?

A world sans technology

Iyer spins a world elegantly simply, poignantly realistic, a world free from the technology that has become our life line. A world where a new day is an opportunity for a new adventure.

Classic childhood

There are some stories that are part of every childhood, like getting lost or the fear of, like Grandma’s tales of many flavours, like swallowing something out of curiosity and Lalita Iyer’s narration makes these quintessential childhood tales so delicious that you’d want to taste them again and again.

Storytelling at its best

Iyer’s stories are full of innocence and honesty and each one of them will bring a smile to your face. The narration is almost like someone telling you a story before bed, this is storytelling at its best.

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this one for the innocent younger reader, age 7 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!

Bookasura

Imagination is a free bird when we are young, a bird that we consciously or unconsciously learn to tame or even cage as we grow up. But leave it unfettered and it will soar high, it will take you to uncharted places and guide you through them. It is the key to grasping the limitless, seemingly impossible, possibilities of the mind and making them reality. It is the belief that you can if you want to and dare to, faith in yourself and the impossible.

How things unfold?

Arundhati Venkatesh in her book Bookasura: The Adventures of Bala and the Book-eating Monster sketches a different definition of imagination for us. Bala is a young boy who breathes stories and devours books (not literally). When he is sent to his Grandparents’ for the vacation he is content for there at least he can read in peace. However, while wandering in the garden one late evening he encounters an enormous, ravenous, multi-headed monster named Bookasura who finds books pleasantly appetizing. To save himself from being eaten Bala comes to an agreement with the monster; that he will bring the monster 3 books every day in exchange for his life. But what will Bala do when he runs out of books? Especially since no one believes that the monster is real.

Why read it?

Of courage and book loving

Bala’s is a delightful tale of courage and book loving, he shows how stories have the ability to stay with you forever and come back to you just when you need them.

Let your imagination run wild

In this winner of Comic Con Best Children Book 2015, Arundhati Venkatesh shows that imagination is the only superpower one needs to destroy the monster that is fear.

and then feed it and make it stronger

The book establishes (or re-establishes) your faith in the power of imagination and wonder and shows how books feed this power.

A perfectly satisfying end

Her writing is entertaining but the best part is the ending which is like a stunning display of fireworks, it is just flawless and completely satisfying.

And again to celebrate the magic of books

Meet a fellow book-lover, get a glimpse into his life and his fears and see how books become his saviour.

 

Who is it for?

Bookistaan recommends this one for younger readers, age 6 and above, a fun story to feed your imagination.

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.

Master Mythologist

Mythology is a very important part of growing up. We’ve all grown up with stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, stories of Yudhishthira’s wisdom, Hanuman’s devotion and Krishna’s mischiefs. These stories, more than teaching us ideal behavior, introduced us to the supernatural, to Gods coming to earth to save humanity, to flying horses and shape- shifting men. These stories have not only been used by generations to pass on a sense of right and wrong but also are the basis for passing on imagination.

Author, illustrator, speaker, mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik does just that. He has written more than thirty books, both for children and adults, many of them bestsellers. He retells mythology for the current generation, spreading culture and passing on wonder.

Here are five reasons everyone, kids and adults, should read mythology Devdutt Pattanaik style.

Easy breezy style

His writing is meant for the current generation and so he keeps the language simple and to the point, which succeeds in dazzling the reader.  The best part about his narration is that he gives information in small doses, so that it does not overwhelm the reader and at the same time manages to keep their interest (an important feat when writing for children).

Free from teachings

Mythology on a lot of levels aims to teach and preach a certain way of living, thinking. Thankfully Devdutt Pattanaik does not take that route. His renditions are free of bias or opinions which makes them all the more charming as this gives the reader a chance to make their own interpretation of the characters and draw their own conclusions.

Pashu: Animal tales from Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik

Pashu: Animal tales from Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik

Making age-old stories more accessible for the younger generation

Imagine Krishna at an Airport or Shiva playing charades with kids! The Gods in the 21st Century! What an incredulous sight that would be and Devdutt Pattanaik brings it to life in Fun in Devlok Omnibus. He makes Gods relatable, lovable and accessible. He makes it easier and fun to understand the Divine.

Endearing illustrations

Illustrations are a very friendly medium to ease into complex themes and make them all the more engaging and Devdutt Pattanaik’s illustrations are both engaging and fun.

Modern mythology

Devdutt Pattanaik challenges another convention by narrating the women’s side of the story, the many versions of it. He takes a very fresh route of retelling the Ramayana from Sita’s point of view and the Mahabharata from Jaya’s point of view, which makes his versions more appealing to the current generation.

Jaya: an Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik

Jaya: an Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik

Bookistaan Recommends

For Younger readers (Age 7 onwards)

  • Fun in Devlok Omnibus
  • Pashu Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology

For Middle Readers (Age 11 onwards)

  • Sita (Illustrated Retelling of Ramayana)
  • Jaya (Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata)
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