Like

Reading, learning with Indian Folk Art

A book can be a child’s best friend! Encouraging a child to choose a book over a digital gadget isn’t always easy for some parents and when you are trying and hoping that your child learns to read and write in multiple languages, then you’ve got to have strength, perseverance and luck on your side! Add another dimension – appreciation of art, and you’ve got your task cut out!

I acknowledge the fact that bringing up a multilingual child isn’t always easy! I was under the impression that if you are away from your home country, then ensuring that your child learns about their home country (or rather the child’s parents’ country), the culture and the language would be the hardest! But, I recently discovered, rather surprisingly, that most mothers of toddlers in India, face, pretty much similar hurdles, as the influence of global cultures is enormous and in this mad fast world, simply making sure your child learns the home country’s language, the culture and traditions and stays close to their roots has been made rather difficult.

However, there are a lot of books and learning aids available, as if making up for the earlier joint-family system, where grandparents passed on this knowledge on a daily basis without any additional tools, simply by telling stories of their lives…Anyway, since the joint families have almost ceased to exist, some clever companies have taken on the responsibility of teaching your young child a language of your choice through the medium of books and different learning devices, with lots of stories about your culture, art and craft and tradition thrown in.

When my son was younger, a friend, very kindly gave me some amazing books that had stories in multiple languages,  that he thoroughly enjoyed. Now, my little girl (well, technically my sister’s but hey ho!) is going to benefit from these books too and I am totally geared up to see what else is out there in the market to help the little ones grow up into fine multilingual young readers with an appreciation for art.

A. Ramachandran, a major figure in the contemporary Indian art scene, whose books for children have been published across the globe, stresses on the importance of reading for kids very well. He says in an interview published in ‘The Indian quarterly magazine’ that an ideal book for a child develops with the child and can be referred to even when the child is a grown-up. Its function, is to make that child aware of a world beyond his or her own—a world worth imagining and dreaming of.  Very well said…true, isn’t this?

Remember, your childhood books and stories? I certainly do and so, here I am, telling you what I know about the different companies that are available to help you with your child’s learning, irrespective of where you are in this world! Some books have left me totally mesmerized! Beautifully illustrated books, either hand-printed, or illustrated using Indian folk art like Madhubani, Gond, Bhil paintings with wonderful, simple stories. These make lovely presents, either for your own child or for someone else’s child…Spread the love, spread the knowledge with these books.

waterlife-book

Waterlife by Tara Books, who have been giving voice to marginalized art and literature through collaborations creating remarkable handmade books  via

waterlife-illustrations-madhubani-children-books

Waterlife – the illustrations in Madhubani style of painting via

nightlifeoftrees-tara

Nightlife of trees – another brilliant book by Tara Publishers via

nightlifeoftrees-tara

The Nightlife of trees – beautifully illustrated, handprinted on handmade paper via

do-gita-wolf

Do! by Gita Wolf has intriguingly detailed illustrations in Warli art form by illustrators Ramesh Hengadi and Shantaram Dhadpe via

mithila-style-children-books-tara

Following My Paint Brush – A simple story of Dulari Devi’s momentous journey to become an artist illustrated in Mithila style via

tara-books-kalamkari

Mangoes and Bananas by Tara Books is illustrated in the Kalamkari style building an appreciation of art in children through stories and characters via

tara-books-gond

King’s cross London as visualised and illustrated by Gond Artist Bhajju Shyam via

katha-rumi

Katha, a notforprofit in storytelling and publishing introduces Rumi to your 6 year old!! via

katha-books

Mai and her friends – about friendship through brilliant storytelling and illustrations in Gond folk art via

art-illustrated-books

Drawing in the city by Tejubahan, a self taught artist via

tulika-books

The Red Umbrella from Tulika Books is bilingual and available in Marathi, Kannada, bengali, Tamil and many more languages via

tulika-books

A wonderful collection for early readers at Tulika Books via

dances-of-india-explore

Exploring dances of India throug    h this wonderfully illustrated book via

we-the-children-india

Learning about the Preamble to the Indian constitution in a fun way via

If books aren’t enough, there are other toys and games like wooden blocks in multiple languages to help your child learn or perhaps consider a board game like ‘scrabble’ in Hindi called ‘Aksharit’ to build on language skills!

alphabet-blocks-gnaana

Alphabet blocks by Gnaana aid in learning multiple languages the fun way via

Learn to speak and read in Hindi, the easy way...via

Learn to speak and read in Hindi, the easy way…via

aksharit-madrat

Aksharit, first Hindi board game is also available in Bengali and Telugu by MadRat via

Books are the best gift you can give to any child…It will open a new world to them and ensure they grow up into inquisitive, curious adults.  My grandmother always used to say that there is so much to learn in this world…keep learning new things everyday but never forget the old values and learnings….So, people, keep your traditions and culture alive and continue to spread the love of reading and learning…
Remember, a well read child creates a happier world…
Shilpa xx
 Cover Image: via