I recently wrote about two English-language children’s books released by Hachette India. Here’s an excerpt:
Kids, magic, and environmental activism—these are the three unlikely ingredients in two titles recently released by Hachette India: The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street (2012) by Shabnam Minwalla and The Water Catchers (2013) by Bhairavi Parekh.
In Dorabji Street, a group of children conspire to outsmart their nasty neighbors, two elderly women intending to chop down the kids’ beloved bimbli trees out of pure spite. Meanwhile, The Water Catchers approaches the fraught issue of water conservation—a particularly relevant topic in India—through the story of Chintu, an eleven-year-old boy whose grandfather’s village has faced devastating droughts in recent years. Both books feature a relatively new thematic approach within the genre of English-language children’s literature in India, one that scholar Michelle Superle examines in Contemporary English-Language Indian Children’s Literature: Representations of Nation, Culture, and the New Indian Girl (2011):
Over the past twenty years an aspirational view of childhood has developed… a view that positions children as powerful participants in the project of enabling positive social transformation.
Although Superle’s research focused on Indian children’s books published between 1988 and 2008, the trend still applies to Dorabji Street and The Water Catchers. In both examples, child protagonists tackle complex problems that face their nation, largely without the help of adults, whose self-serving egos and general oblivion exclude them from participation…
To read more of what I had to say, click here.