We all need a little escape during this time and what better way to travel than through books. India changes so much as you travel from North to South, East to West and these children’s books explore India in all its majestic glory. From the simple classic stories of R.K Narayan to an escape to the mountains with Tales From The Himalayas, explore different parts of India and journey through its rich history through the pages of these books. Here are 10 Children’s Books That Allow You To Travel Across India
The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Although only 12 years old, Anand is the breadwinner of his family and he must support his sick sister and his mother with his meagre income. But little does he know his life will completely change when he is given a magical conch shell by a stranger, who he shares his cup of tea with. The mystical powers of the conch must be returned deep in the Himalayas. Travel along with young Anand, the headstrong Nisha and ever-resourceful Abadhyatta as they journey deep into the mountains and fight off evil Surabhanu. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is known for weaving myths into beautiful stories and she does it again, this time for young readers.
Tales From The Himalayas by Priyanka Pradhan
If you loved sitting in your grandmother’s lap, listening to stories, you will love recreating that experience for your child with Tales From The Himalayas. These 17 inspiring short stories have the common theme of courage, kindness and faith in oneself running through them. The author weaves ancient folktales as well as tales of snow leopards, ghouls and monsters. The stories also tackle tough topics like colour prejudice and the death of a loved one. The stories also include real-life heroes like Gauri Devi, the pioneer of the Chipkoo Movement and Nain Sigh Rawat, who was one of the greatest explorers and surveyors in the continent.
The Magic of the Lost Temple by Sudha Murthy
Young Nooni, a city girl is in for a new pace of life as she is staying with her grandparents for six weeks in their village Somanahalli in Karnataka. Always curious and looking for adventure, Nooni quickly makes new friends and spends her time learning to cycle, making papad and organising picnics with her friends. Things take an adventurous turn when Nooni discovers an ancient stepwell in the middle of the forest. She and her friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they unravel the mysteries of the stepwell and the lost temple. Sudha Murthy’s light touch makes this not just an exciting story to explore but also a heart-warming read
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
When Pri, a young Indian American girl finds a mysterious shawl tucked away in a forgotten suitcase, it becomes a portal to her search for answers to her endless stream of questions about India and her father. As she wraps the shawl around her, her world transforms and she embarks on a whole new journey in search of her roots and her quest to belong. Using the money she won in an art competition, she books her ticket to India where she discovers the many family secrets concealed by the shawl and the reason behind why her mother migrated, as well as the history of the shawl. The beautiful illustrations in this graphic novel bring the story alive and transports youngs readers with it.
Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar
Travel back in history to 1942, with ten-year-old Anjali, whose mother has joined India’s freedom struggle. Overnight her world turns upside down and she must make difficult choices when she is called upon to continue her mother’s social reform work. Along the way, Anjali is called to give up several things like her biases against Dalits and her British made clothes in favour of Khadi. Inspired by her great grandmother who worked with Gandhi, Supriya celebrates the unsung heroes of India’s struggle for Independence. Her powerful story gives the message to young readers that they too can be tools of social change.
A Cloud Called Bhura: Climate Champions to the Rescue by Bijal Vachharajani
Imagine you are travelling to the city of dreams, Mumbai, but have hit a spot of bad weather or Bhura Cloudus, as the media calls it. Amni wakes up one morning to find a cloud of noxious gasses hanging over Mumbai and causing scalding rainfall that is destroying all living things. She and her friends Mithil, Tammy and Andrew pull all their resources together to reverse the effects of climate change. They join forces with Mota Bhai, the powerful politician, the scientist twins Vidisha and Bidisha and superstar Pavan Kumar. Will they be able to make the birds return to Mumbai and save their beloved city? Find out in this funny and inspiring read.
A Tigress Called Machhli: and Other True Animal Stories from India by Supriya Sehgal
If you remember reading Panchatantra as a child, get this book for your young one and help them discover the magical forests of India. With a crocodile who loves to eat rice, a photogenic tigress who ruled Ranthambore, five thousand parrots who are always dot on the clock, the pages are filled with loads of animals and friendly humans. The stories are collected from across India’s jungles, cities, rescue missions and are all true stories based on real-life incidents. Over the 30 stories, you can cuddle up with dogs who help nervous travellers or find out about Gowri Shankar who has rescued over 350 cobras.
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins
Explore the unique terrain of the mangrove forests in the Sundarbans of Bengal through the story of the Tiger Boy. Neel lives with his sister Rupa and his parents on an island in the Sundarbans that he loves dearly and never wants to leave. However, his headmaster wants him to win a scholarship to study at a school in Kolkata. When Neel hears that a tiger cub has escaped from the reserve, he decides to rescue it. But he isn’t the only one looking for the cub, Greedy Gupta has put out a reward and plans to sell the cub on the black market for millions. Will Neel be able to find the cub before Gupta and ensure his parents and headmaster don’t find out? Read this colourful book to find out.
The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola
Hidden wonders and art and inspiring stories, this book holds it all. After leaving his home in 1947, Nek Chand Saini carrying stories from his homeland, settled in Chandigarh. Finding it hard to adjust to his stark new surroundings, he started to collect rocks, broken pots, glass anything he could find that was strewn away and began to build his own treasure land in a piece of the cleared forest. Creating a mosaic of patterns, labyrinths and winding paths he created his very own Rock Garden which he managed to keep a secret for 15 years until it was discovered by a government official. Explore the wonder of the true story of Nek Chand Saini through the stunning illustrations of Claire A. Nivola.
Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan
Escape to the bygone days with R.K. Narayan’s charming stories set in his fictional town of Malgudi. Narayan weaves in the social issues prevalent in India in the ’80s. These classic tales that have stood the test of time, capture a portrait of rural India and the spirit of the ordinary man. The stories are full of colour and the characters and the author crafts magical portraits of all kinds of people. This classic is a must-read for young readers to expose them to early Indian literature in English and also for the simplistic beauty of the short stories.