My children and I have learned a lot about Japan and other cultures, but we don’t (yet) know a lot about India. Several of Phil’s colleagues went over to India on business last year, and a friend of mine has recently returned from a birdwatching trip. With these events still in our minds, it was a good time to read Indian Children’s Favorite Stories and make an Indian craft as well.
Tuttle Publishing sent us a copy of Indian Children’s Favorite Stories, retold by Rosemarie Somaiah and illustrated by Ranjan Somaiah so that we could learn in style with their quality books.
There are 8 stories in this volume:
- Munna and the Grain of Rice
- The Birth of Krishna
- No Ordinary Lad
- The Story of Rama
- Sukhu and Dukhu
- Tenali Raman
- Journey to Heaven
- The Foolish Man
The stories are interesting and it took us a little over a week to read this book together as a family, one story at a time (sometimes 2 when the kids insisted and there was still some time before bed). For a Westerner, some of the names are a little tricky to pronounce; some of the names were very new to us, but others we’re familiar with (Kali, of course- who knew she was a goddess?!).
They are interesting stories about the history of life in India. They take us on a jouney so that each story almost flows onto the next like a chapter book, but each story can also be read in any order. Some stories help explain the Indian culture, and other stories have a moral to learn.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book as bedtime reading as parts of it could be quite frightening to a young or sensitive child. I was a little taken aback a time or two – but then when I think about what most children are exposed to on TV and in movies without the back history and context, I was okay with my children reading this book. Every culture has scary scenes (think how the wolf ends up in The Three Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood).
Overall, we all enjoyed this book and we’ll come back to some of the stories later when we learn more about India during a unit study.
The timing with this book was perfect as soon after reading it, Tristan and Kallista made a dhol drum from Daria Music. It’s easy to make, and uses things from around the house (we love to upcycle!). They had a great time making the drums, and they want to take them them with us on our camping trip. As much as I love when the kids immerse themselves in culture, I don’t think we’ll take them with us and disturb other campers. However, we can take their newest Indian stories book with us.
If you’re interested in purchasing this book or other Indian books by Tuttle Publishing, you can use their website, or these convenient Amazon links (affiliate):