Free Press Journal

Timeless Tales From Bengal to A Bagful of History: Books to help your little ones grow


Title: Timeless Tales From Bengal

Authors:  Dipankar Roy and Saurav Dasthakur

Publisher: Niyogi Books

Price: Rs 795

Buddhadeva Bose, the noted Bengali littérateur, once observed that the greatest treasure of Bangla literature is its children’s and young adults’ literature. The achievements of stalwarts as various as Rabindranath Thakur, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Sukumar Ray, Manik Bandyopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, Narayan Gangopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Satyajit Ray and many others in this realm enable it to match similar traditions existing anywhere in the world. Their best works also remind us that a good piece for children is also a charming one for the adult. Their efforts have made Bangla children’s literature a treasure trove that can enamour any child—or anybody—who loves to read. This unique anthology of thirty-four translated stories invites the reader to a feast that offers on the platter most of the sub-genres in the realm: from fantasy, folk tales and animal stories through comic tales, detective fiction and adventure and suspense stories to ghost stories, historical narratives, sports narratives and tales of social consciousness. Enriched with beautiful illustrations, bio-notes of the authors, a glossary and an informed Introduction, the book would also be eminently useful to enthusiastic researchers. Between its covers, the volume presents an enjoyable and fairly comprehensive picture of Bangla children’s and young-adults’ short fiction to the non-Bengali readership for the first time in publishing history.

Title: The Bilingual Fairy Tales

Publisher: HarperCollins

Price: Rs 125 each

The Bilingual Fairy Tale series helps young readers improve their skills in both English and Hindi. Popular fairy tales that children are already familiar with will be easy to explore in another language and lively, colourful illustrations make the books engaging. The books help young readers achieve proficiency in both Hindi and English. These illustrated retellings of popular fairy tales engage children, while building their skills and vocabulary in two languages through the 2-in-1 format. Old favorites enriched with a bilingual flavor make for an immersive reading experience.

The magical story of Cinderella, whose unhappy life is transformed when she meets her fairy godmother. The magical story of Little Red Riding Hood, who meets a wicked wolf in the woods, but escapes alive with the help of a kind huntsman. The magical story of Hansel and Gretel, the brother and sister who have an enchanting adventure in the forest, which turns their bad luck around.

Title: Gita: The Battle of the Worlds

Authors: Sonal Sachdev Patel and Jemme Wayne-Katten

Publisher: HarperCollins

Price: Rs 250

When 11-year-old Dev’s father dies, he can’t stop lashing out at those he loves. Until he meets Sanjay – a sprite-like being who claims there is a battle raging inside Dev’s own body. Sanjay embarks on a perilous journey beginning in the darkest realm at the bottom of Dev’s spine. As he searches for the noble warrior Prince Arjun—the only hope to defeat wicked Prince Ego—Sanjay encounters starving mobs, thieving gangs, water worlds and lands of fire, until at last he finds Arjun on the battlefield, ready to fight for Dev. This book attempts to take the messages of the Gita and make them more accessible to children and to also present the Gita as a universal message applicable and relevant to all. And it is the first time that the concept has been transported into a truly modern and engaging story.

Title: A Bagful of History

Author: Subhadra Sen Gupta

Publisher: Puffin

Price: Rs 250

This book will let you take a walk through history and as you travel back in time Subhadra Sen Gupta will make you dine with Mughal princess Jahanara Begum, have a jugalbandi with Miyan Tansen and even compete with the nawabs of Chandni Chowk in a kite-flying duel. Peppered with stunning illustrations and unusual trivia, this is a fascinating read about the unforgettable events and people from Indian history. You can be a part of Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s fight for the education of the girl child or even revolt with Indian sepoys in the Mutiny of 1857.