Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Congratulations to Divya - Our favourite Children's Book!

          Hello all. First of all, Season's Greetings to all of you and wish you a very Happy New Year!

          It's a great privilege for me to write a guest post for Divya whose blog I used to follow religiously when I was new to parenting and children's literature or whether I used her blog as a reference point for setting up my children's book library! Heartiest Congratulations for completing four years of this blog and looking forward to something more from you - maybe transitioning to chapter book reviews perhaps! Who knows? And lastly, a big thank you for inviting me and giving me a chance to write on your blog!

          Well, my daughter is just 3 years old. But, I have read extensively to her and I literally thank my stars for making her love books like me! All our bonding moments revolve around books! It's a herculean task to pick our favourite book but as promised to Divya, I have chosen one.

          So our most favourite book is No, David by David Shannon. An almost wordless picture book, it tells the story of a young boy called David doing all sorts of things which infuriates his mother. Often, her mother prohibits him doing all wrong things or admonishes and advises him to behave properly (and almost always shouts No, David). But, kids being kids, they really test our patience and the boundaries we set for them. But, they also know that at the end of the day, everything will be ok and their mom loves them! So, yes, David is also caressed and loved by his mom despite acting so naughtily.

          I had read many books to Swara but this will always be special because it struck a chord between us and that was the first time we laughed hysterically! When I was reading to her, we were just two balls of giggles and chuckles. She immediately took to this book as a fish to water. For many days to come, whenever she behaved like David, I made it a point to yell "No, Swara" at the top of my voice. And then, we both used to laugh like insane girls. Until now, no book made us bond so well and gave an opportunity for hysterical laughter!

           This book was conceived by the author when his mom presented him a set of pictures which he drew when he was a kid. And, thus the book No, David was born which went on to become a Caldecott Honor Book. David Shannon has done all the illustrations beautifully in such a way that one reading of the book is enough for the kids to understand what is 'naughty behaviour'. It's a must-read if you are feeling blue or want to bond with your children! And I'm sure even after repeated readings of the book, you will not be able to say 'Noooo, not again!'  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Elephant in the Tree - A Guest post by Shalini

Heartfelt congratulations to you Divya for completing four years of  this amazing blog of one story a day! Though I confess I have not read every post on this, I have read quite a few of them and each one has been a complete reading delight for me and my daughter Ananya. In fact she has a section in her book shelf which she calls Divya aunty's books. You have used your strength of language and passion for books to perfection in this blog. I am sure many parents have used this blog to introduce their kids to the beautiful world of stories and inculcate the joy of reading in them. 
Using this opportunity I wish this blog takes the next step and gets compiled into a book very soon. 

For this occasion I have chosen a book which is as much my favourite as Ananya's called " The Elephant in the Tree" by Mallika Nagarajan. This is the story of a little girl called Mahi. One day while enjoying her favourite fruit, a Mango a question pops into her innocent mind as to what would happen if there were no mangoes to eat? What would she do? 

That night when she retires to bed she see a strange little elephant with seven trunks on tree outside her window. The elephant called Airavat has come to seek Mahi's help. Airavat pleads to Mahi that there is no water in his world and the Tree of Life which sustains all forms of life is sick and he needs her help. Airavat then gently sucks up Mahi and takes her to his world where everything like the Tree of Life is brown, dry and sad. Airavat and Mahi both get down to work immediately and start planting trees to make rain. They plant innumerable trees and water them. Airavat sucks up the water and blows them into big swollen clouds. soon it starts raining with large shimmering drops of water. The Rain works its magic and slowly the Tree of Life comes alive and soon a new beautiful world starts forming in front of Mahi. Even Airavat turns pale green covered with green leaves and flowers. Both Airavat and Mahi flop to the ground tired but happy and satisfied with the world they helped spring back to life.

Airavat and Mahi decide to create this magic in Mahi's world too, so they go around planting trees night after night and show people how to use the tree magic to bring in rain. Mahi plants the seed of every mango she eats and her friends and family join in too.

Airavat in this story is borrowed from mythology where Indra the rain God rides on Airavat and brings rain on earth by sucking up water in its trunk and spraying it into clouds.

This amazing story book is also a visual delight with its colourful illustrations and is a must read. A very simple story to teach kids about conservation and saving trees so that the "Tree of Life" can work its magic and life on this planet can go on and every kid like Mahi can delightfully enjoy the mango fruit in abundance.

Thank you Divya for inviting me to write this guest post. I enjoyed it thoroughly and looking forward to read more of your posts.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

'Tis the season!

First appeared on  Parent Edge blog
I cannot believe that we are already onto the end of December this year! In a way, December is special for various reasons – December signals the onset of winter which ranges from mild to severe depending on which part of the country one resides in and thus is touted as one of the best times for travel around tropical destinations. December is a month to reflect on the turn of events in the year that has gone by and may be plan for what’s to be in store in the year ahead! Well, December also is a time to get into the spirit of Christmas and lose oneself in its trappings. Whether one celebrates Christmas or not at home, you cannot miss the season’s specialties – the carol singing at a near-by church or at a neighbour’s house, star mounted houses, malls and restaurants with Christmas decorations, sinful Christmas treats galore at bakeries or Santa sightings that excite not just the little ones  - the fa-la-la fun is everywhere!!!:-) 

So how about a few Christmas reads to get warmed up for the Christmas season ? Besides the regular Christmas reads such as “The Sweet Smell of Christmas” by Patricia Scarry  or “The Night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore  or “The Polar Express”  Chris Van Allsburg or any of the Christmas specials on popular children’s books’ characters, I came across the vintage Little Golden book series on Christmas stories brought out by Random house publications. As many as six titles centered around Christmas, this series is ideal for younger kids to get acquainted with the story of how Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem in “The Christmas Story” by Jane Werner and Eloise Wilken, or the story of the darkhorse reindeer named Rudolph who became Santa’s guiding light in “Rudolph, the red nosed Reindeer  by Rick Bunsen and Arkadia or  story with a Disney twist in “Disney’s Mickey Mouse flies the Christmas  Mail” by Annie North Bedford and the story of how animals welcomed baby Jesus in “Animals’ Christmas eve” by Gale Wiersum and Alexandra Steel Morgan. This classic series throws light on the spirit and meaning of Christmas with the aid of poetic texts and simple yet charming illustrations that are sure to engage your little one!     

If you are looking for a Christmas read for older kids who read by themselves, then “Cool Christmas stories  compiled by Elizabeth Holland is a worth a look. This book includes Christmas stories by Sam Hay, Dyan Sheldon and Martin Waddell. While some of the stories seem to thrive on traditional seasonal trappings like Santa sliding down the chimney to fill up the stockings with gifts, or the concept of Man on the moon, something I feel the young readers may have outgrown, the stories however do make an interesting read. The book can also double up as a read-aloud, if you have an emergent reader not yet comfortable with devouring a chapter book on his own. Though minimal, the illustrations are whacky enough to make our ever jaded/skeptical  younger generation take notice!:-) Stories such as the hilarious  fantasy-within-a-fantasy adventure of Santa facing trouble during the delivery of gifts in “Troublesome year for Father Christmas” by Sally Grindley  or the relatable story of a young girl who’s persistence gets her parents to give in and almost celebrate Christmas in “Not quite Christmas” by Dyan Sheldon  and the daring story of a girl spreading the warmth and cheer of Christmas that wins over a  fire-spitting dragon in “Imelda and the Dragon” by Martin Waddell  or the realistic take on the reason behind Stagger, one of Santa’s reindeers, being Santa’s weakest link in “The Clumsy Reindeer” by Elizabeth Holland - are all sure to make it a cool  Christmas vacation for young readers this year! So here’s wishing everyone a merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A long awaited visit to the Bookstore and more.....

Bookstores are one of our favourite hang-outs, where we love to spend hours and hours just browsing through the bookshelves and wishing we could own the entire collection….. whether we later find time read or not! More so, when it’s a children’s bookstore……..it’s not just me but my little one can be seen yanking out every book of his favourite author …whether he’s already read them or not! It was Geronimo Stilton series a while ago and his combing operation is now targeted at the Roald Dahl collection!:-)

For quite some time now, I have been wanting to go to the “Lightroom Bookstore” located in the Cooke Town area of Bangalore, but simply couldn’t as I reside in practically the other end of Bangalore. A couple of weeks ago, we managed to drive down and finally look up the quaint little children’s bookstore that is as true to its name - enlightening and enchanting! The bookstore has a wide selection of books children of all age groups and what’s more – they are beautifully arranged in a way that is not only striking to the eye but also easy to locate. Added to it, its friendly staff and its owner, Aasthi, a children’s book enthusiast herself, guide the parents into choosing the right book for the right age. I found many of the mainstream bookstores lacking or rather restricted when it comes to good children’s literature, and our only retreat being independent bookstores. Lightroom bookstore not only has a good stock of Indian mainstream and independent publications but a sizeable collection of foreign publications. So if you are children’s book enthusiast, you know here your next stop is!!!

What are the odds that we visit a children’s bookstore and there’s a book related event scheduled and what’s more, we seem to be right on time for it!!!
We happen to stumble upon the book launch of “Whackylicious!”, a compilation of stories by fifteen children between the age of five and twelve brought out by Timbuktoo Young Authors Publishing, as a part of the Timbuktoo creative writing workshops conducted by its creative director Aparna Raman and her team. Each of the works reflect the wild imagination of its young authors who seem to “have embraced the nonsensical, the bizarre and illogical with open arms” (sic)! Aptly titled, and complemented by vibrant and creative illustrations,  the poems and stories revolve around a world as our little ones would imagine it to be or would love to imagine in a “what if” situation or their understanding or whacky explanations of how the world came to be!  For instance, It’s a delight to read about the apple eating ghost in the  Ghost who to eat apples” or Harry Potter inspired (probably)“Sorcerer in the family” or  about a hilarious  incident of what happens when “One day I peeled a banana and inside there was a fish” or an out-of-the-box attempt to explain “Why Parrots can only repeat” or Abhay’s favourite “Ninja Ninja” a poem calling on the ubiquitous Japanese warrior to do “Dhishoom Dhishoom” and many such works that are not only well written but also something young readers would be able to relate to ……and not to forget also relatable to the child in you! :-)


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

We turn four!!!!!

It’s been four years since Onestoryaday has come into our lives….and yet (at the risk of sounding repetitive!) it feels like Onestoryaday has been around for much longer!!! Frankly, when I started blogging in  December 2010, I had no clue that Onestoryaday would celebrate its fourth year …in whatever form – be it one story every other day or one story a week or one story a month!:-) What started out as sharing my reading adventures with my then four year old grew into a sounding board for my reflections on my parenting journey! Of course, as seen from the decreasing number of posts every year, it is also true that I haven’t been as regular as I used to be when I first started out. However, it is also true that my life hasn’t been the same since December 2010 and has undergone a sea change (even literally!) over the last four years! After all, even Onestoryaday too cannot escape from the law of diminishing returns! J
Off late, I have discovered that Abhay has progressed to reading on his own and even during bedtime, he prefers picking out his own chapter book instead of  being read aloud to! While I am thrilled that he has discovered the joy of reading by himself and not wanting to turn to any other book until he’s finished his current read, I find it hard to let go!:-) So these days, I know for sure my young reader is  not going to put down Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”  for a picture book that mommy wants to read to him! L In fact, this is why I began writing about our joint reading experiences as you never know when they want to go solo!:-)

At the same time, I have found it hard to find books to read-aloud with slightly complex themes meant more for older kids who are able to understand layered narratives and quasi-adult themes. So is it a time to move on ….. or may be find a another audience…..???:-)
Well, as if to take a cue from this, I have joined the team of bloggers at Parent Edge blog from this month doing the same thing that I love, reviewing and recommending children’s books for parents to read to their kids.
As has been the tradition (which is only four years old!) at Onestoryaday to invite readers and parents to share their favourite stories, books they read as a child and still loved by the child in them and so also the current favourites of their little ones. So here’s inviting all my readers to be a part of Onestoryaday all of this month ……!!!!