Publisher: Karadi Tales (Imprint – Minmini Reads)
Book Series: PARI Series
Author(s): Priti David, Nivedha Ganesh, Subuhi Jiwani, Aparna Karthikeyan, Vishaka George
Cover Design: Tanvi Parulkar
For Ages: 10-15
Type: Chapter Book
Price: ₹200 each
Many stories are told of adventures and magic, history, and mythology. Of people and animals, and of life in the mountains and jungles, cities and villages. Some of these stories are made-up while others are based on real-life situations. While all these stories help the reader take a peek into the lives of the characters and understand the diversity all around them, real-life stories also shape how children choose to act in the world and have a strong influence on children’s understanding of cultural and gender roles. Such real-life stories do not just develop children’s literacy; they convey values, beliefs, attitudes, and social norms which, in turn, shape children’s perceptions of reality.
The city-bred children of today are not very conversant with the rural life that is just a few kilometres away from them. In fact, most of urban India only sat up and took notice when images of thousands of famished and exhausted migrant laborers walking back home were broadcast into their living rooms during the early days of the pandemic. When children read stories about people from around them, they learn new perspectives that both extend beyond and also connect with their local contexts. We need stories that bridge the urban-rural divide, now more than ever. And this is exactly what the Minmini Reads series of books offer.
The PARI series books are published under the Karadi Tales chapter book imprint, Minmini Reads, has been done in collaboration with People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) and has 5 books that draw inspiration from real-life news reports across rural India filed by journalists for their journal.
Real Indian stories for Urban Indian Children: A gentle intro to complex issues
The powerful and moving stories in these books reflect the lives of people that are starkly different from those in the city and can help children see perspectives about their views on people around them, especially about rural life which they do not experience first-hand. These are stories about real people and real lives and give a glimpse into the larger reality of India. They tell tales of the trials, tribulations, and triumph of ordinary lives in rural India and shows the diversity of rural India.
The five books in this series are:
No Nonsense Nandini by Aparna Karthikeyan
No Nonsense Nandini is a story of an extraordinary single mother woman who goes against patriarchal opinions and dares to grow sampangi (champak) flowers instead of paddy on her land in Sivagangai (Tamil Nadu).
No Ticket Will Travel by Subuhi Jiwani
No Ticket Will Travel has stories of six labourers travelling from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala to find a livelihood. It is a peek into the hearts and minds of migrants, wondering what their future holds.
Coming Home by Priti David
Coming Home is the story of the hardships faced by Adivasi children in Sittilingi Valley and how they attempt to build their own school to bring back their young people from the cities.
The Big Splash by Nivedha Ganesh
The Big Splash tells the story of ace swimmers Ambikapathi and Dhivya and how they succeeded despite disabilities and personal hardships.
House of Uncommons by Vishaka George
House of Uncommons is the story of 13-year-old Krishnan who has lost his mother to HIV and carries the virus himself and how he battles homesickness, frustration and finally finds acceptance.
These books are written in simple English and are hard to put down. The narrative includes a generous sprinkling of terms from the regional language the story is based in. This strikes a note with the readers and takes them closer to the characters in the book. The book has a glossary at the end that explains these terms to readers who may not be familiar with the language. The stories in this book offer a new experience to its readers and provides plenty of opportunities for conversation and discussions. They help children get out of their bubble, expand their social world, and learn to identify with a broader range of other people. This series is aimed at middle-schoolers between the ages of 10 and 15 and is very apt for today’s times.
The hand-sculpted clay-like illustrations on the covers done by Tanvi Parulkar are beautiful and add more depth to the real stories. The text on the books are comfortable and easy to read and the pages are of good quality.
This first-of-its-kind book series for urban kids about rural India is a must-read to engage children with more relevant issues in the immediate community.
After reading these books
Though we believe that the aim of reading a book should be for pleasure and not be to “learn”, it is inevitable that children learn even without any push. Here are some activities that you can do that will complement this book to make the reading even more fun! These activities are for varied age groups, so we suggest you read and use them appropriately.
- Narrate these stories to your friends and introduce them to the diversity of India. Share these books with them!
- It is said that India is the most diverse country in the world. Make a poster or a booklet with information about its diversity with respect to its people.
- Do you know how many regional languages are spoken in India? How many can you speak or understand other than your own? Try to learn one or more regional languages.
- Become a member of organizations that help the rural people and offer to help them in ways that you can.