There’s a lot of wonderful writing available in Indian literature for children (preteens and teens), including the evergreen Ruskin Bond, the delightful Anushka Ravishankar, Roopa Pai who informs as she entertains, and several others. Here’s a reading list that your child—and you—can try out, ranging from science fiction to folk tales and crazy adventures. And remember, there’s lots more where this came from!
‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ by C Rajagopalachari
C Rajagopalchari, India’s last Governor-General was not just a great politician but also an eminent historian. His versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata that he published separately, deal with the two mythologies uniquely. He eulogizes the heroic men and women of the two mythologies and celebrates their values and characters, inspiring readers to imbibe these traits that would certainly benefit them.
Amar Chitra Katha
They are a storehouse of information about Indian history, culture, mythology, and religion in the shape of beautiful stories that children love to read. With more than 100 million copies sold so far in 20 languages, Amar Chitra Khatha has innumerable titles in the shape of interestingly narrated mythologies, epics, literary classics, fables, folklore, and biographies of famous Indian personalities. These books would open a floodgate of interesting information for your kids.
‘Malgudi Days’ by R. K. Narayan
‘Malgudi Days’ is R. K. Narayan’s short story collection that has been appreciated all over the world. First published in 1943, it consists of 32 short stories that perfectly capture rural life in that era. The stories mostly take place in a fictional village called Malgudi and some characters are recurring across the stories. One of them, Swami is an endearing little boy who studies in class 2 and the book revolves around his friends, his home, and his school life.
‘Panchtantra’ by Vishnu Sharma
Panchtantra means 5 books and is a collection of several moral stories involving animals who possess human intelligence and personalities. All the stories and lessons are loosely interwoven and the plots are not as simple and dull as most moral stories can be.
‘Rusty’ series by Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond has been a writer for a long while and his books are often compilations of his short stories. The Rusty series wonderfully weaves many of the short stories that have entertained countless children into a beautiful and sequential story. The series has five books that will keep your child entertained for a long time while giving them insight into how life in India was around Independence.
‘Wise and Otherwise: A salute to Life’ by Sudha Murty
Most of the short story anthologies have stories written in and around the independence era but this book contains stories about now. Written by the well-known children’s author, Sudha Murty, this book contains 51 inspirational short stories. Like all her stories, these stories are angled to teach children important values of life.