By Pika Nani
Travel a few hundred kilometres in India, and the landscape, the language the people speak – all change. ‘Little Indians’ explores the many little Indias within this country, in a way that is sure to appeal to little Indians.
The book takes us on a journey through 15 states/union territories from the snow-covered peaks of Uttarakhand, to the gorges of Madhya Pradesh, the mangroves of the Andamans, the rues of Puducherry, the gullies of Delhi… We learn a little bit about the history of the region, its geography, read a few tidbits, get to know about achievers from the area, and then dive into a story.
Simple stories with an old-world charm, that give the flavor of a place. I found it refreshing to read stories in which the child protagonists are not the urban characters we usually encounter. In each of the stories, a bunch of kids with no resources to speak of bar their wits, solve a problem. The setting comes alive, whether it is Kille Raigad in Maharashtra, or the home of a weaver in a village in Tawang valley, Arunachal Pradesh. I liked how the stories weave in details that reveal a bit about the place and its people; like the one about bakeries and baguettes in Puducherry. It was a lovely trip down memory lane to places I have been to, and a wonderful introduction to places I am yet to visit. I must say I was perplexed by the choice of setting for the story on Andhra Pradesh, which has so much more to offer than its film industry.
Like Puffin’s fun India A to Z, this is a wonderful resource for kids, one that I hope will be used in schools. What more can one ask for? A part-2 with the other states we haven’t zoomed to in the first installment!
[Image source www.tulikabooks.com]