CHILDREN’S RAMAYAN and NAUGHTY KRISHNA. www.anarbooks.com.
For parents looking to introduce their young child to the Hindu epics and my-thology, Anar Books has two titles available from its newly developing Heritage Series—Children’s Ramayana: Story of Ram and Naughty Krishna. The first is a simply written, nicely illustrated introduction to the Ramayana. Beginning with King Dashrath and his queens in Ayodhya, the seven-page book outlines the entire story of the Ramayana in an uncomplicated manner. Brightly colored illustrations do a good job of explaining some of the important scenes. However, very young children may have trouble grasping why the monkey-god Hanuman set Lanka on fire with his tail, or why Dashrath asked Ram to go into exile.
The second book, Naughty Krishna, is a sweet story of the young and mischievous Lord Krishna. Accompanied by endearing illustrations of the young Krishna, this could be the story of any naughty young boy, as he plays with his friends, steals treats from his mother’s kitchen, and gets into trouble in the process. Once past the initial couple of pages that set the scene for Krishna’s birth and transfer to Gokul (and can prove confusing for a small child), the book makes a pleasant read.
The target age group for this series of books is 2-6 years; by avoiding too many complicated details the Story of Ram and Naughty Krishna allow parents to simply read out the stories as they are, or add in more details based on the child’s interest or age.
Forthcoming titles in the Heritage series include the Mahabharat and Story of Prahlad, as well as Panchtantra Series featuring popular stories like the Monkey and Crocodile, thus bringing to our children stories that we once enjoyed as kids.
AWAY: THE INDIAN WRITER AS AN EXPATRIATE edited by Amitava Kumar. Routledge, New York. Paperback, 399 pages. $19.95.
Migration is the theme of this anthology that includes eminent writers like Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry, Bharati Mukherjee, V.S. Naipaul, and travelers of an earlier generation, Rabindranath Tagore and M.K. Gandhi. “Distance produces a shift in perspective,” writes editor Amitava Kumar in his introduction, “and the immigrant writers find that they are discovering not only the new country, but also the place they have left behind.” An extract from Amitav Ghosh’s novel The Shadow Lines, letters written from London by Sarojini Naidu, Agha Shahid Ali’s poetry, and an essay by Pankaj Mishra, all offer different perspectives and the changing circumstances of the Indian abroad.