I recently bought ‘Why is my hair curly’ written by Lakshmi Iyer. It is by Red Panda, an imprint of Westland.
A slim volume of 138 pages, the book is ideal for children of ages 8-12.
Avantika and Avnish are adopted kids. Their parents have been upfront with them right in the beginning about this. They know they are loved deeply. But Avantika keeps wondering why her hair is curly when everyone else in the family has silky straight her. She often wonders if her birth mother had curly hair. Sometimes, when other children tease her, she feels bad and wishes she had straight hair just like her amma. There are plenty of questions swimming in Avantika’s head like why her amma works so much, what happens inside a bank etc. She writes about the things that bother her in a diary. The book also touches upon ‘stranger danger’ and ‘good touch bad touch’. There is also a mysterious paati who makes an appearance. Children can learn from this book that it is okay to be different.
When I was a child, we didn’t have many children’s books by Indian authors. Like most kids of my generation, I grew up on Bobbsey Twins, Enid Blytons, Trixie Beldens, Nancy Drews, etc. I had to be content with reading about treacle pudding and scones. Today’s kids can read about poori aloo in Chennai and also grasp “grown-up” topics like adoption through cheerful tales, such as this one.
The illustrations by Niloufer Wadia add to the liveliness of the book.
I have been reading so much about the book but haven’t got a chance to pick it up yet. You are absolutely right, kids these days have books and characters they can identify with.