Harry Potter and Hardy Boys seem to be the obvious choice of most 12-year old boys, while Enid Blyton's Malory Towers and Nancy Drew's adventures draw favour with the fairer sex. But, besides these, there is another
treasure trove - of contemporary Indian classics in English - lying
obscure from the limelight.
in pre-teens who have just discovered the joys of reading need to be
gently nudged to develop their tastes. The parents can do this by
suggesting books and making it available to them from libraries. But
for that the parents themselves need to be acquainted with children's literature.
If the original classics are too obtuse for your child's grasp, then
avail of the abridged and adapted versions. Dig out hidden treasures
and open the world of books for them.
Here's some recommended reading of 'Indian' classics for you, to pass on to your children.
Though Rudyard Kipling was a Britisher, his literary works were highly inspired by and woven around India - the India,
as he saw it. He was a prolific writer and has left a legacy of vast
body of writings - novels, stories, poems and ballads. But to most, he
will be associated with the children's classic, "Jungle Book" written in 1894. The present generation may associate the "Jungle Book"
more with Walt Disney than Kipling, but they should read the classic to
experience its magic. If anything, Walt Disney has helped popularize
the jungle adventures of the skinny boy, Mowgli and his animal friends - Bagheera, the panther and Baloo, the bear.
Kipling's Kim, the adventures
of an orphaned son of a sergeant in an Irish regiment, is also a good
read. Several abridged versions of the original are available. Lesser
known, but equally thrilling is the sequel, "Second Jungle Book" and "Puck of the Pooh".
works find place among the best in world literature. He is the creator
of the endearing character, Swami and the fictional small town of
Malgudi through his first book, Swami and his friends. These tales
bring to life the sights and sounds of South India.
For today's city-bred kids, these stories are a brilliant exposure to
the small town ways. They will enjoy reading about the games - climbing
trees and stealing mangoes from farms - of the rustic children.
books talk lovingly about old value systems - about grandmothers being
central to families and banyan trees to a marketplace. In fact, an
omnibus of his short stories and novellas would be a good bedtime
reading. Other titles of interest would be: Malgudi Days, Bachelor of
Arts, Under the Banyan Tree, Lawley Road and The Grandmother's Tales.
Like R.K.Narayan, Ruskin Bond too brings alive a part of India.
Having lived in the mountains of Dehradun and Mussourie, Bond writes
nuggets on hill life with its gentle hill-folks. His style is very
easygoing and imbued with an endearing sense of humour. His books and
stories are full of descriptions of flora and fauna of the hills, the
landscape, seasons and are peopled with interesting characters.
He has written more than 30 books for children.
He wrote his first book, "The Room on the Roof", at the age of 17. The
escapades of a small boy, Rusty in the series, 'Rusty and the leopard'
and 'Rusty runs away' would enthrall children.
Ruskin Bond's writing can easily be a 'recommended text' for children who wish to learn good English.
authors like James Herriot and Gerald Durrell has written about their
experiences with animals, a theme favourite with the children. But in India, it was Jim Corbett who penned his adventures
in the jungle long before the wild shows of Discovery or National
Geographic got there. His jungle escapades of hunting for man-eating
tigers and leopards have captured the imagination of many.
He brings a
keen insight into wildlife, especially the wild cats. After an
adventurous existence, where he shot 10 man-eating tigers, he settled
in Kumaon in 1917 and became a conservationist. He wrote about his
wildlife experience in his works, 'The man-eaters of Kumaon',
'Man-eating leopard of Rudraprayag', 'Temple Tiger'. These are some of
the finest wildlife writings you'll ever come across.
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- The Indiaparenting Team