Aleph test waters with children's books - promises more
by Maria Thomas | Updated Mar 19, 2022
"We have long wanted to add childrens books to our publishing mix - Stephen Alter's "Great Indian Children's Stories", Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan's "It's Time To Rhyme" and Ruskin Bond's "Miracle At Happy Bazar" - were the perfect books with which to launch the list. To start with, we are planning to put out no more than 3-4 books a year for older children. Depending on how these books fare we will gradually expand our children's publishing," Aleph Managing Director and Publisher David Davidar told IANS.
Great Indian Children's Stories:
Edited by award-winning writer Stephen Alter, this is a collection of nine delightful short stories for older children by some of India's foremost writers. The handpicked stories include classics such as Rabindranath Tagore's "The Kabuliwallah", revolving around an unlikely friendship between a little Bengali girl and an Afghan man; Munshi Premchand's "Idgah", the heart-warming story of the gift a young boy gives to his grandmother on Eid; Mahasweta Devi's "The Why-Why Girl", the true story of a young girl from the Shabar community with an indomitable spirit; Ruskin Bond's "The Blue Umbrella", a tale of jealousy and understanding set in the pristine Garhwal hills; Khushwant Singh's "Portrait of a Lady", a poignant story about a young boy and his beloved grandmother; and Shashi Tharoor's "The Boutique", a sensitive account of an adolescent boy's rite of passage to adulthood.
Stephen Alter is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including "The Secret Sanctuary" and "The Cloudfarers". "Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth", his most recent work of nonfiction, received the 2020 Banff Mountain Book Award in the Mountain Environment and Natural History category.
Alter has taught at the American University in Cairo, where he was director of the writing programme for seven years. Following this, he was writer-in-residence at MIT for ten years. Among the honours he has received are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the East West Centre in Hawaii, and the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture. He is also the founding director of the Mussoorie Mountain Festival.
It's Time to Rhyme:
With offerings from sonnets in iambic pentameter, to limericks, acrostics, and villanelles, It's Time to Rhyme is the perfect introduction to the joys of poetry for readers of all ages. Using ingenious examples, Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan explains the fun world of verse while inviting children to use their creativity and write their own poems.
Whether you're a young reader interested in knowing how poetry works, a parent looking for an entertaining way to explore the form with your children, or a teacher looking for a unique text to introduce students to the basics of verse, "It's Time to Rhyme" is the essential book for young rhymesters and wordsmiths to learn about the enthralling universe of poetry.
Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan is a children's author, poet, editor, and voice-over talent. She is also a former non-profit development professional who spent two decades as an advocate and fundraiser for persons with disabilities.
Srinivasan has recorded voice work for documentaries, educational programmes, journalistic initiatives, and audio books. She has published and translated children's books in India and the United States, including "A Pie Surprise and Other Stories", the award-winning "Indi-Alphabet", and "How Many Lines in a Limerick?" Her most recent book, "Prince With a Paintbrush: The Story of Raja Ravi Varma", was a 2021 BTB Wordsmiths of the Year Best Book. Srinivasan loves words because they make her heart and voice sing. You can learn more at www.shobhatharoorsrinivasan.com
Miracle at Happy Bazaar:
Personally selected by Ruskin Bond, these 50 stories are the finest of the several hundred tales spun by India's favourite children's author in a career spanning several decades. They include gems that have never been published before like "Miracle at Happy Bazaar", "Chocolates at Midnight", "Life is Sweet, Brother", and "The Old Suitcase" as well as classics that have delighted generations such as "The Blue Umbrella", "Angry River", "Panther's Moon", "The Room of Many Colours", and "The Cherry Tree".
The stories in this book show us why he is cherished by all those who love great storytelling. Many of these tales are filled with the author's special brand of gentle humour. Others are rip-roaring adventure yarns. There are accounts of ghosts to give you a fright and mysteries and thrillers to keep you awake at night. Animals are a favourite theme and this collection is full of tigers, panthers, crocodiles, pythons, monkeys, bears, elephants, ostriches, and even a cassowary. There are tales of mischief, and others of magic, those with romance in them, many that speak of the joy and innocence of childhood, several that evoke the calm and peace of the hills, and much, much more.
Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli (now in Himachal Pradesh) in 1934 and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, New Delhi and Simla (now Shimla). "The Room on the Roof", written when he was 17, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas (including "Vagrants in the Valley" and "A Flight of Pigeons") and more than 40 books for children. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999, and the Delhi government's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.
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