I never read a lot of Indian literature growing up- that is, books by Indian authors. There was a huge lack of diversity when it came to my reading list, which didn’t seem to be a problem for me back then. In retrospect, reading a wider variety of authors would have been very beneficial- especially Indian writers, given the fact that our diversity is one of our strongest assets, and what better to represent it, than through words?
I’ve given below a list of ten Indian books that are a must-read for Indian kids of all ages: from the adventures of Anusha Ravi Shankar's Moin and his monster, to humorous tales of Arundhati Venkatesh, to the ageless Ruskin Bond: there’s a book in here for everyone!
1. Bookasura by Arundhati Venkatesh
What would you do if a strange, eight-headed creature appeared at your grandparent's house one day, and demanded three books a day- to eat?
Little Bala loves reading, and is forced to feed this peculiar monster with an even stranger appetite- or else…. What will Bala do? Will Bookasura win, or will Bala save himself?
Lighthearted, funny, with lessons on bravery- Bookasura has it all.
2. Spinning Yarns
Spinning yarns is a collection of stories from beloved authors all around India. From nonsensical rhymes to thrilling adventures, to ghost stories- spinning yarns celebrates the work of some of the most talented authors out there, bringing together the words of writers such as Rabindranath Tagore, and modern geniuses like Sudha Murty and R.K Narayan.
3. Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
Any book titled ‘by Ruskin bond’ is bound to be good- and the blue umbrella does not disappoint. The story revolves around a young girl called Binya, who belongs to the remote hill village of Garwhal. One day, after encountering a group of picnickers, she exchanges her tiger claw pendant for a blue umbrella. Owning something as exquisite as a blue umbrella makes her a source of envy in the eyes of everyone in the village. Ruskin bond teaches us about the importance of empathy and sharing. There is beauty in simplicity, and ‘Blue Umbrella’ illustrates that concept perfectly with a simple, heartwarming tale about kindness and humanity.
4. Trouble with Magic- Asha Nehemia
Veena's aunt Malu makes herbal potions to help with all kinds of conditions, from that embarrassing wart that appeared on your face before a big event, to nail growing cream. One day, she creates wall paint that’s nothing like anyone’s seen before- it’s almost magical!
Malu's herbal paints are a huge success, and Veena and Malu are enjoying their new life of luxury until unhappy customers begin to demand refunds. What will Veena do now? Trouble with magic is a story about following your dreams and contains the important message of never giving up, no matter what. Veena and Malu's relationship is one we can all relate to, and the immense amount of love they have for one another makes this book even more enjoyable to read.
Taranauts is a sci-fi book series that encapsulates the life of Zvala, Zarpa, and Tufan, who travel around the universe of ‘Mithya’ which contains eight worlds, taking part in dangerous quests and adventures.
With its very own language (Taratounge), the book series has grown over the past 10 years and is beloved to children all across India- and around the world!
6. Like a girl- Aparna Jain
This is a collection of stories about some of the most fearless, talented women all throughout Indian history. Sultan Razia, Saina Nehwal, P.V Sindhu: 56 Iconic women, whose stories will no doubt inspire you. Every word captures the trials, the determination, and eventually, the success these women meet: the art is stunning, and the book is a must-read for people of all ages.
7. The adventures of Tootsie Lama- Stuti Agarwal
Tootsie Lama is an eight-year-old orphan living in the small, hilly town of Darjeeling, and is far more skilled than I’m sure any of us were at her age! Tootsie's adoptive parents are missing, but the spirited young girl does not give up hope. Tootsie's adventures start the day she craves a delicious bowl of thupka- just like her aama used to make! Stuti Agarwal teaches us about simply living and enjoying life on our own terms, through the brave (but troublesome) Tootsie Lama.
8. Machher Jhol by Richa Jha
Macher Jhol is a heartwarming story about a young boy called Gopu, who is visually impaired. After his father falls sick, it is up to him to navigate the bustling streets of Calcutta to reach his grandmother's house, to cook his baba’s favorite dish: Macher Jhol, or fish curry. Richa Jha introduces to us the story of a small boy in a big city, bringing Calcutta to life with colorful illustrations.
9. Moin and the monster by Anushka Ravishankar
I’ve included this book in a reading list before: but I feel the need to do it again. It’s made me laugh countless times, every page bringing to life the unbelievably hilarious characters Anushka Ravishankar has crafted. If I found my copy, I would not hesitate to sit down and read it all over again.
10. The manic panic - Richa Jha
We’ve all been in this situation before. The Wi-Fi stops working: your heart skips a beat, and you realize you might have to (gulp) socialize with the rest of your gadget addicted family. At least, that’s what it’s like for little Shivi, whose job it is to show her parents life beyond gadgets. Richa Jha perfectly illustrates the world of modern technology, and how caught up we can get with the world inside our phones, that we forget about the wonderful one outside of it.
See any favourites? Or did we miss them completely? Share them with us in comments below and let us know your reading experiences.