Hey everyone, your best friend Sara here!
Exam season is around the corner but close on its toes will be the vacations and a perfect time to relax and read. But which books to choose for the willing and unwilling reader? Not to worry, the wonderful Jyotsna Dilip, founder of Rabbit Hole Children’s Bookstore is here with a ready list and useful suggestions.
Starting off our conversation, with this beautiful message for each Bookosmian, by Jyotsna–
Sara: The content industry has lined up a host of options for parents to choose from in the Covid era: Online workshops, digital books, virtual storytelling. How do parents browse through this sea of options to make the right choice for their kids?
Jyotsna: True. There is a plethora of options to choose from. In the real, physical world parents would choose based on the proximity, not just the child’s interest or price. However, the online world has decimated travel and parents now can choose between workshops across the globe. But this has also put us in a quandary over the quality of content that such workshops offer. Though there are plenty out there, quality or the value these workshops offer is something we need to give a thought about. As a parent, I usually discover these via social media and I choose workshops that my child shows an inclination to or those that may supplement what they are passionate about.
Sara: Reading is a one-way activity. For our young readers, how can it be made as enjoyable and interactive as a screen?
Jyotsna: Well, reading may seem like a one-way activity where the reader only reads. But I’d say books interact with you at a much deeper level. When a child reads a book alone, the book talks to them about the story – the child imagines the story and this kindles readers to reflect. This is an interaction between the reader and his/her inner self.
When parents read out to a child, the parent gets an opportunity to interact and bond.
When children read as a group, like in a book club, books enable children to understand another perspective or opinion. So I would say, books don’t speak, but they say a lot! Young readers find books enjoyable in families where reading is practiced as a pleasurable activity. We should get children to read and think about what they read, this will surely encourage a thinking reader who can interact in a multitude of ways.
Sara: Many people say “writing is a talent.” What do you think about young minds expressing their thoughts on a global writing platform like Bookosmia?
Jyotsna: Writing is a talent? Well, that depends on what you are writing for or about. But any child can write to expresses his/her thoughts. This kind of writing should not be measured by the choice of words, or spellings and grammar used. The writing a child does to express what’s on their mind opens a window into their world of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. And this should be encouraged. This will encourage them to pick writing and they will eventually become “talented” in writing! And while on the topic of writing, I must mention the book reviews by children on your website. Each one was so well articulated. I absolutely loved the way the children had reviewed the books. What more proof do we need to show that writing more makes you talented in writing!
Sara: What is a well balanced mix of books for young readers? Indian Vs Western, Fiction Vs Non- Fiction, Humour Vs Other Genres. Please share your recommendations for under 8, 8-12 and 12-16 age groups
Jyotsna: I feel everyone should read what they “feel” like reading and would definitely encourage children to pick a variety of books. They can start reading a book and drop it mid-way if they don’t like it. But they should give it a try. How else would you know if they like it or not? I have observed that children like to read a certain genre of books at a certain age and there is nothing wrong with that but as a parent, I would definitely pique their interest in other genres by, maybe, reading it out to them or talking about it, without enforcing it, of course!
My recommendations! This part is really difficult since every child imbibes something from every book and it is very tough to narrow it down to a few. Here are a few that are perennial favourites at my home. I have added in series or authors or genres as recommendations too.
|The book with no pictures by B J Novak||Roald Dahl Books||Harry Potter series|
|The game of light by Herve Tullet (We love all Herve Tullet books)||Ruskin Bond Books||A Series of Unfortunate Events
|Amazing Machines series by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker||Classics & Fractured fairy tales||Chronicles of Narnia
|KNOCK! KNOCK! By Kaori Takahashi||Graphic Novels – The Arrival
by Shaun Tan
|Inside Out & Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
|NatGeo – KIDS books||The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series
|Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
|Eye to eye – How animals see the world by Steve Jenkins (another author whose books are all lovely)||Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
|A Wrinkle in Time series
by Madeleine L’Engle
|Ranganna by Arti Anand||Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Patterson
|Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
|Snoring Shanmugham by Radhika Chada (We love all the books in this Baby Bahadur series)||Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume
|The Gita for children by Roopa Pai|
|Annual Haircut Day by Rohini Nilakeni||The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
|‘The History of India for Children’ by Archana Garodia Gupta & Shruti Garodia
|Dinosaur-Long-As-127-Kids by author Geeta Dharmarajan
|The Land of Stories
by Chris Colfer
|Ramayana and Mahabharata by Arshia Sattar|
|Mo Willems books||I Will Save My Land by author Rinchin
|Peter H Reynolds books||The Mystery of the Secret Hair Oil Formula by author Asha Nehemiah
|Aaron Becker books||Aru Shah and the End of Time by author Roshani Chokshi
|Tiger Boy by author Mitali Perkins|
Amar Chitra Katha
Don’t miss sending me your thoughts on rural India at Sara@bookosmia.com. And now
Know Jyotsna Dilip better: Jyotsna is a passionate woman entrepreneur and founder of a travelling bookstore for children called, ‘The Rabbit Hole’.
Jyotsna has been in many roles before starting her own bookstore. An MBA with a career starting in IT industry spanning over 10 years of experience, before she decided to become a full time mom for her two kids. She is certified in facilitation and child development and freelances in writing educational content for children. Jyotsna also runs a reading program for children called, Seed a Read.