We’ve done stories from this book at the book club. I’ve shared it at almost every children’s reading forum and with every mum I know. I wonder how I left out talking about it here.
Celebrating Differences - Stories for the Children of India, is a book every child should read, every Indian child, most definitely. That’s because the setting of the stories is Indian the ideas, however, are universal.
Seven authors come together with seven stories about people with disabilities and their interactions with others. It talks about perceptions and prejudices. Sometimes we (specially children) are impatient with or unkind to people because we don’t think about the difficulties they might be dealing with or have pre-conceived notions about how they will behave.
This delightful melange of stories is an attempt to set that right.
All it takes is the story of Ritika a hearing impaired girl who learns to stop feeling sorry for herself.
The Perfumed Prowler is about Amtan a speech impaired boy who earns the respect of an aunt who had always pitied him.
Who is Faster talks about Rudra who learns that a boy in a wheelchair could be just as smart and as much fun as his other friends.
The New Neighbour is about an old school teacher who helps a little boy being bullied by his older brothers.
I Don’t Understand It is perhaps the most touching story of all. It is told from the point of view of a mentally challenged child and his perception of good and bad.
Leaf Feel is another fun story where a visually challenged girl teaches some kids a new fun game.
And finally Wheels from Kerala talks about a young girl Priya and how she learns to empathise and bond with her arthritic grandfather.
Each of these stories embodies a world of wisdom and helps to sensitise children, making them empathetic to people with differences. The print is comfortably large and the stories are suited for kids between 7-8 years of age. Though they can be read out to younger kids.
The book comes with interesting nuggets of information and also some fun colouring pages.
Priced at Rs 125 and Published by Ekansh Trust Pune, this book is absolutely invaluable.
We had some of the most amazing sessions at our book club when we took up a story from this book. The children learnt a little bit of sign language - they learnt to spell their names as also simple phrases like I am sorry, Thank you and of course I Love You, which they continue to use even today. I think this is a good exercise for all children.
Like in the story Leaf’s Feel they tried to recognise trees, leaves and flowers with a blindfold on their eyes simply by feeling them. That was great fun because they got to run around and touch and feel.
And lastly for the story Wheels from Kerala we got them talking to their grandparents and got back with fun tales of their parents’ childhood.
This one is a must read.
Linking up with Pragmaticmom for her wonderful linkup on #DiverseKidLit.