“Imagine what could be accomplished if we as a nation… Sold ideas, words and books with the same creativity we use to sell designer jeans and shampoo?” I didn’t say that, Jim Trelease did in his The Read Aloud Handbook.
So imagine.We decided to ask some mad-about-reading-friends (all doing well for themselves), what they read as kids, and see if we could spread the good word about reading, and books.
For young adults
Bookstore owner Rajeev Kamineni’s favourite is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. “Though I would not readily classify it as a kid’s book…it started a quest in my mind that could only be completed by visiting Robben Island and the Martin Luther King Jr memorial. I would definitely recommend it to all young adults.” Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan, and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, are his other must-reads.
He says, “We should prohibit any kid from growing up without reading The Jungle Book.” Or, any other book.
Thank God for Swami and Friends, Ruskin Bond and of course, the Amar Chitra Katha which is sadly all one can remember off hand when thinking of Indian writing for kids. One does read the review of an odd book here or there, but nothing that lingers.
A fundamental right
Still, there is a lot of children’s literature out there. And, Latha speaks for every responsible grown-up when she says: “Along with food and shelter, I would wish every Indian child access to that kind of literature.”
(Apologies to all those wonderful writers who do not find a mention here)