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Fascinating February 2023 Reads for Your Penguinster! ?

Cuddled up with your kid and looking for the perfect bedtime story? Penguin’s got you covered. Here are our February recommendations to make your kids warm up to reading. 

My First Ruskin Bond Collection by Ruskin Bond

My First Ruskin Bond Collection: A Set of 10 Chapter Books
My First Ruskin Bond Collection || Ruskin Bond

A carefully picked collection of ten concise, endearingly illustrated stories from India’s favourite storyteller, each book provides a wonderful introduction to the world of Ruskin Bond through fascinating characters and stories that are delightfully crafted in his particular way. This boxset of heartwarming, humorous, and vibrant books makes the ideal present for independent and beginning readers.

10 Unforgettable Indians and their Remarkable Stories 

Puffin Lives: 10 Unforgettable Indians and their Remarkable Stories (Boxset)
10 Unforgettable Indians and their Remarkable Stories

These biographies, written by authors like Sreelata Menon, Subhadra Sen Gupta, Devika Rangachari, and others, reconstruct the lives and legacies of famous people. This compilation of fascinating stories about trailblazers like Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, Guru Nanak, and Mother Teresa are laced with anecdotes, obscure facts, and trivia. Each book is an engrossing tale of icons whose lives continue to inspire every generation, making this a wonderful gift package for young readers.

My Little Book of Gods and Goddesses Boxset 

My Little Book of Gods and Goddesses Boxset
My Little Book of Gods and Goddesses

This collection of six endearingly designed board books features stories about some of the most well-known and adored Hindu deities, including Krishna, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Shiva, and Durga. These books provide a special and pleasant introduction to classic myths for contemporary kids. They include fascinating facts about each god as well as a seek-and-find exercise.

Hanuman: Anjani’s Mighty Son (Read and Colour) by Devdutt Patnaik

Hanuman: Anjani’s Mighty Son (Read and Colour)
Hanuman: Anjani’s Mighty Son || Devdutt Patnaik

A new generation of readers is introduced to the tale of Hanuman, a beloved Hindu god, by Devdutt Pattanaik. The read-aloud version of Hanuman, Anjani’s Mighty Son is ideal for introducing young readers to the courage, selflessness, loyalty, and humility that Hanuman possessed. Young readers will love this distinctive, interactive style, especially for nighttime reading.

Terminal 3 by Debasmita Dasgupta

Terminal 3: A Graphic Novel set in Kashmir
Terminal 3 || Debasmita Dasgupta

Khwab has persevered through bliss and emptiness, desire and loss, penance and serenity. She has a dream about the day when life will be a paradise. The story of the common people in the Valley attempting to live their dreams is told in Terminal 3’s breathing against the setting of violence.

Taatung Tatung and Other Amazing Stories of India’s Diverse Languages by Vaishali Shroff

Taatung Tatung and Other Amazing Stories of India’s Diverse Languages
Taatung Tatung || Vaishali Shroff

Khwab has persevered through bliss and emptiness, desire and loss, penance and serenity. She has a dream about the day when life will be a paradise. The story of the common people in the Valley attempting to live their dreams is told in Terminal 3’s breathing against the setting of violence.

Dakshin by Nitin Kushalappa MP

Dakshin: South Indian Myths and Fables Retold
Dakshin || Nitin Kushalappa MP

Explore this collection of fifteen colourful myths, fables, and folktales from vivacious southern India. Discover the alluring fairies, elves, gods, and goddesses along the route as you journey from the banks of the Kaveri to the coasts of the Indian Ocean, from the depths of enigmatic jungles to the towering Nilgiris, from the opulent palaces of kings to tranquil villages in Coorg. Chuckle at a miser’s humorous actions. Cry at the foolish misfortunes. Be in awe of the weak’s bravery in the face of the powerful. Come and enjoy these wonderful folktales!

Munni Monster by Madhurima Vidyarthi

Munni Monster
Munni Monster || Madhurima Vidyarthi

When Munni, a relative of her grandmother’s who has cerebral palsy, moves in with them, Mishti’s life is drastically altered. Her only thought is to somehow get her to leave. But as time goes on, Munni develops oddly appealing tendencies, and when things reach a crisis point, Mishti isn’t so sure Munni is the monster she initially believed she was. A humorously moving tale about a young boy, 10, who must deal with unexpected and challenging changes, a disability, and, most importantly, love.

The Complete Vikram–Aditya Stories by Deepak Dalal

The Complete Vikram–Aditya Stories
The Complete Vikram–Aditya Stories || Deepak Dalal

India’s response to the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Famous Five mystery novels is the Complete Vikram-Aditya Stories boxset. This collector’s edition boxset includes all eight volumes for the first time ever. The dynamic duo of Vikram and Aditya, together with their ragtag crew of companions, set off on exciting excursions where they come face to face with frightened wild creatures, secluded indigenous communities, and a number of other frightening situations.


Chitti’s Travelling Book Box by Kavitha Punniyamurthi

Chitti’s Travelling Book Box
Chitti’s Travelling Book Box || Kavitha Punniyamurthi

Chitti enjoys reading. But her town doesn’t have enough books, and some of her friends believe they’re boring! Can Chitti convince them to reconsider?

Celebrate the month of love with books

Everything seems rosy for the little and young ones, for they experience happiness and love in infinite ways. So why limit their imagination and definition of love?

Let them celebrate this month of love with their pets, friends, parents, grandparents, objects, plants, books, or even their toys. While they do so, introduce them to our personally-curated list of fascinating titles that tell some amazing and fun stories. Exploring different forms of love—our stories will bring your kids, little cousins, nieces and nephews happiness and knowledge.

So, choose some of their next-favourites from this list!

Ritu Weds Chandni

Ritu Weds Chandni
Ritu Weds Chandni || Ameya Narvankar

Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can barely wait to dance at the baraat! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend, Chandni.

Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?

Centering Ayesha’s love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other, this warm-hearted story celebrates the power of young voices to stand up against prejudice and bigotry.


Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa

Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa
Sometimes Mama, Sometimes Papa || Nandini Nayar

For children and changing families who have two unique homes. Peek into the simplest solutions for understanding one of life’s most difficult moments–separation.

When Keya’s parents stopped living together, unusual things happened.
Keya became the only girl in her class with two homes.
‘Where will you live?’
‘Who will you live with?’
‘Sometimes Mama,’ Keya said, ‘sometimes Papa!’

This heart-warming story with comforting pictures reassures young readers that parents, whether alone or together, are always there for them.

Mama and Papa are always wonderful together.
Perhaps, they will be wonderful separately too?


Maithili and the Minotaur

Maithili and the Minotaur
Maithili and the Minotaur || C.G. Salamander

What if our world was a lot more? Filled with unknown creatures-some friendly, some scary.

An outcast to the world of humans, Maithili lives in the outskirts of a magical wilderness. But as she makes new friends in the realm of monsters, she must learn to be careful. Because some monsters are just like humans: mean, nasty and out for blood.

Perfect for fans of Hilda and Arthur and the Golden Rope, join Maithili and the Minotaur on their very first adventure in an outlandish world where nothing is as it seems.


Kitten Trouble

Kitten Trouble
Kitten Trouble || Bijal Vachharajani

Sani is terrified of animals-dogs, cats, cows. But her mother has just brought home an orange-white furball.

What is Sani to do?

Kitten Trouble is a part of the Hook Books series. These books are for very young readers, aged five and above. The books work well for reading out loud to kids or for young readers just starting to read by themselves. Written by some of the best-known writers for children, and illustrated in exuberant colour by some of India’s most-loved illustrators, these stories are set largely in non-urban settings. Hawaldar Hook is the endearing mascot of the Hook Books. Each book includes short and fun language exercises at the end.


My Grandmother’s Masterpiece

My Grandmother’s Masterpiece
My Grandmother’s Masterpiece || Madhurima Vidyarthi

This is the story of how my grandmother became a famous artist. It happened somewhere between my seventh and eighth birthdays, so she was really old and also a grandmother, and I didn’t know she was an artist. And, of course, she was not famous. And then she was both, all at once.’
For Nini, Minima is just her normal everyday grandmother. So when Minima suddenly shows an interest in doing something new, Nini is not sure that she likes it. After all, a grandmother’s first job is being a grandmother, isn’t it?

Let the Adventure Begin! October Releases for Children

October is the month of adventure. Introduce your young ones to Rachita and Aarti, who have a nemesis out to get them, and the Naturalist Ruddy Mongoose, who combines natural history with detective fiction. Ruskin Bond’s famous character, Ranji, is back in a heart-warming story and so is Rumi, who encounters a ghost–Rain! Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Sultan of Dihli, is outraged; but why? Maithili and the Minotaur are on their very first adventure in an outlandish world where nothing is as it seems…

We’ve also included something for the youngest readers – those learning to read!


My First Words

My First Words
My First Words

This collection of 15 mini board books is more than just a set of adorable books for a child’s first library–they are also engaging learning tools! The format includes activities like stacking, sorting, counting, matching and identifying colours that encourage interactive learning of basic concepts and facilitate developmental skills in kids.

The box set comprises mini books with sturdy board pages and rounded corners that are perfect for tiny hands. With adorable illustrations and a modern design, this box set includes a variety of relevant topics like first words, animals, numbers, shapes, colours and more.


The Tunnel

The Tunnel
The Tunnel || Ruskin Bond

Fascinated by the midday train, Ranji would find himself waiting near the tunnel to catch a glimpse of the engine come roaring out of it. But the tunnel has more surprises for him. From a jungle full of lush green trees comes a timeless tale of unexpected friendship, curiosity, duty and wildlife.

Peppered with delightful illustrations, Ruskin Bond brings to his readers another heart-warming story packaged as a charming chapter book-a perfect introduction for beginners to the world of India’s favourite writer!


Tughlaq and the Stolen Sweets

Tughlaq and the Stolen Sweets
Tughlaq and the Stolen Sweets || Natasha Sharma

For Ages: 8+ years

Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Sultan of Dihli, is outraged. Someone has stolen his favourite dessert, the sugared melons from Khurasim. What’s worse, people are questioning his plans of torture and punishment. Who can help the Sultan solve this mystery?


The Case of the Nosy

The Case of the Nosy
The Case of the Nosy || Archit Taneja

For Ages: 11+ years

Rachita and Aarti have a nemesis who is out to destroy them …

Garbage vandals are defacing walls of residential societies. Aarti’s birthday presents include miniature coasters. Rachita starts having egg-themed nightmares …

Are these happenings related to the mysterious time-travelling detective gang that is challenging the Superlative Supersleuths? And will they be able to foil their rivals or will they end up getting owned?

Case notes:
1. Why do the eggs have banana heads?
2. The Harappans cared about home furnishings.
3. The Nemesis might be a time traveller!


Rain Must Fall

Rain Must Fall
Rain Must Fall || Nandita Basu

For Ages: 12+ years

Rumi is not too enthusiastic about accompanying Baba to the sleepy village of Shankerpur, where he is planning to convert their ancestral home into a bed and breakfast. But Rumi is happy to be away from school and friends who have problems understanding Rumi’s identity.

In the middle of one night, Rumi encounters a ghost–Rain, who does not remember his own story or why he is compelled to be a ghost. And it is in trying to help Rain find his peace, that sets Rumi on a journey of love, friendship and acceptance.

This is a tale of love and loss, of rejection and affirmation, and above all, the healing and illuminating power of friendship.


Maithili and the Minotaur

Maithili and the Minotaur
Maithili and the Minotaur || C.G. Salamander

For Ages: 10+ years

An outcast to the world of humans, Maithili lives in the outskirts of a magical wilderness. But as she makes new friends in the realm of monsters, she must learn to be careful because some monsters are just like humans: mean, nasty and out for blood.

Perfect for fans of Hilda and Arthur and the Golden Rope, join Maithili and the Minotaur on their very first adventure in an outlandish world where nothing is as it seems.


Naturalist Ruddy

Naturalist Ruddy
Naturalist Ruddy || Rohan Chakravarty

Are you ‘Ruddy’ for adventure?
In the forests of central India, where teak meets sal and plateaus meet hills, natural history meets detective fiction in an inquisitive Ruddy Mongoose’s investigations. Join Naturalist Ruddy as he unearths some of nature’s most fascinating mysteries in this one-of-a-kind comic book set across India’s various natural habitats.

September’s list of books in sight

As the little ones step into the ninth month of the year, we know they need some good company to welcome the no-melting-no-freezing September. So, look nowhere else! We wholeheartedly sign up to accompany them, match their enthusiasm for reading, and give them a chance to taste the different flavors of imagination. Our books promise to stay by their bedside, on their study table, and make just enough space to be warmly packed in their already stuffed vacation bags. The vibrant covers of the books will have the kids googly eyes even before they begin reading the diverse stories.

Here’s our specially curated list of books that will get your children hooked and will transport them to the fantastical realms while they complete the plethora of engaging activities. It’s time to get them ready to cross the whirlpool of mazes and traverse through the wild alleys to meet mermaids and unicorns.


Boy, Bear
Boy, Bear || Adithi Rao

For ages: 5+ years

Boy and Bear have grown up together on the streets of Mumbai. Baba is a madari. But now that Baba is gone, how are Boy and Bear to survive?

The Hook Book series of short simple stories for beginning readers come with fun stories set in different parts of India. The gorgeous illustrations and short exercises are sure to enhance their reading experience.


Shoo, Crow!
Shoo, Crow! || Kavitha Punniyamurthi

For ages: 5+ years

The crows of Rajipuram are eating up all the corn in the fields. Can Velu and Akif find a way to shoo them away?

The Hook Book series of short simple stories for beginning readers come with fun stories set in different parts of India, gorgeous illustrations and short exercises to enhance the reading experience.


The Great Indian Mathematicians
The Great Indian Mathematicians || Gaurav Tekriwal

For ages: 10+ years

India’s mathematicians have made significant contributions over the last 5000 years. From the ever-popular Aryabhata, widely recognized for revolutionizing the number system and Shakuntala Devi, universally admired for her fast mental calculations to pioneers forgotten by time, like Baudhayana, who explained the Pythagoras’ theorem nearly 3000 years ago, the figures included in this book are trailblazers in the world of mathematics.

Fresh, accessible and inspiring, The Great Indian Mathematicians celebrates persistent mathematicians throughout Indian history. This book is an ideal introduction for the next generation of tenacious and curious maths wizards, and features a goldmine of tips and tricks, nuggets of surprise and much more!


Fantastic Creatures in Mythology
Fantastic Creatures in Mythology || Bulbul Sharma

For ages: 8+ years

Did you know that a celestial elephant once hid in the ocean after causing mischief ?
What happened when Rama and Lakshmana encountered a one-eyed headless demon?
Why did Ilvala turn his brother Vatapi into a goat and serve him to passers-by?

Find answers to these and meet many strange and wonderful creatures in this hand-picked collection of legends. Delve into the exploits of gods who took on magical avatars, birds and animals with superpowers, and demons and demonesses who were once good souls.

Bestselling children’s author Bulbul Sharma’s deft prose accompanied by bewitching illustrations will transport you to the fantastical realms inhabited by the Hindu pantheon. This book is sure to leave you spellbound!


Mazes and more: Funny Mazes
Mazes and more: Funny Mazes

For ages: 3+ years

Funny Mazes is a book from the series Mazes and More that features full-colour pages filled with different puzzles and mazes, along with search and find activities to keep little minds engaged. Designed to encourage logical thinking, sharpen hand-eye coordination, these activity-filled pages are sure to keep little puzzlers engaged. Grab your pencils, trace the squiggly path and follow each funny maze to a new discovery! With eye-catching illustrations, the book has puzzles organized by themes such as Circus, Island adventure, Fairyland, Camping among others. All mazes and puzzles come with answers to help kids if they get stuck on a puzzle.


Princesses, Mermaids and Unicorns Activity Book
Princesses, Mermaids and Unicorns Activity Book

For ages: 3+ years

From mermaids and princesses to unicorns and fairies, the fairyland brought alive inside this quirky activity book provides hours of creative fun for kids. Jam-packed with colouring pages and fantastic activities like interactive puzzles, dot-to-dot, spot the difference and playing peek-a-boo with fairies, Princesses, Mermaids and Unicorns Activity Book is the perfect companion to keep young minds engaged.

Children can follow mazes that feature prompts for problem-solving along the way. They can trace the path to the desired end, colour in the pictures, use the colour by number prompt to create a mystery picture, find the differences between two pictures, complete the drawings, connect the dots, learn to draw a simple picture, match the identical objects, find and circle objects, order the events, and much more. This carefully researched book aims to build vocabulary through picture-word association for toddlers and pre-schoolers and is suitable for parent-child association.


People and Places in The Book of Cultures

It’s time to make new friends from different parts of our planet and go on adventures near and far with 30 stories bursting with intrigue, curiosity and wonder! Sift through the beautifully illustrated pages of The Book of Cultures and become a globetrotter as you travel from Japan to Peru and South Africa to Denmark, and learn about diverse cultures, customs, traditions and more.

Here’s an excerpt from this book about the Maldives Island in which Akilah, along with her sea creature friends, try to save the island.


The Book of Cultures || Evi Triantafyllides, Nefeli Malekou

Akilah loved water. So much, that everyone called her a sea creature. She had an entire life under water. She went for long swims with her best friends, Stingray, Parrotfish, Turtle and Barracuda. In the sandcastles she built, she hid treasures she collected on their adventures. Sometimes, she even prayed under the sea.

When she found out that her island was slowly sinking, she wasn’t that worried. “Breaking news: Global warming means that icebergs are melting and sea levels are rising. The Maldives Islands, only a few feet above the sea, are in danger of disappearing under water forever,” the news anchor warned. There’s so much splendor under water, life there would be a delight, Akilah thought. But only she felt this way. “Some islands have already gone under water!” her parents confirmed. Even the neighbor, Ms. Sing Song, whose laughter penetrated through their walls, had become awfully quiet lately.

Akilah came up with a spectacular idea. Stingray, Parrotfish, Turtle and Barracuda joined to help, too. Soon, Akilah and the fish had built a wonderful underwater island. “Everyone can move here. We can call it the Island of Hope,” she said. She even made two houses next to each other, so that they could hear Ms. Sing Song laugh again.

But the more time she spent at the Island of Hope, the more she realized it simply wasn’t home. When she tried to sketch, the paper melted, and her crayons lost their color. And eating was particularly hard—water made the food all soggy. “Yuck!”

“I don’t want to leave my house,” she admitted. “We need a new idea. And this time, we need all the fish force we can get.” Stingray, Parrotfish, Turtle and Barracuda called their friends from across the Indian ocean. Within hours, so many fish squeezed and squished next to each other, you could barely see the ocean’s blue. If only these many people could help, she thought. Wait a minute, I know. “I have a message. It needs to be delivered to all corners of the planet. Please pass it along,” she asked the fish. I really love my home. I don’t want to lose it. But rising seas might make it sink under water. If every single one of you made even the smallest changes, then my house, the Maldives and the environment could be saved! What do you say? Will you help?

That night, the fish swam and swam. They passed on her message to thousands of other fish, who passed it onto millions of other fish, hoping that soon, it would reach buddies all across the world, just like you.


Now here’s a glimpse of Ella’s birthday in Denmark.

Before you go, peep into Suhail’s and Neha’s surroundings in India.


Daydreamer Dev loves volcanoes!

Daydreamer Dev loves volcanoes…and daydreams of course!

Forever daydreaming-that’s Dev. Sitting in class or watching the clouds from the roof of Kwality Carpets, he floats off to places all over the world and has wonderful, bizarre adventures.

Mild-mannered schoolboy Dev is no stranger to survival in extreme environments. Classroom trances and home-made flights of fancy take him all over the place-what other kid could have visited Amazon rainforests, summited Mount Everest and crossed the Sahara? Along with the challenges of all this, he also needs to avoid the wrath of teachers and make Amma and Baba proud . . . Not so easy when your brain lives elsewhere!


Dr Ira wore dark-rimmed glasses and had a soft, round face and a gentle voice. Dev could imagine her speaking calmly as the Titanic went down. She listened carefully to Amma and adjusted her glasses to read the two pages supplied by Dev’s headmaster. Dev imagined himself shrinking very steadily so that by the time she looked up, he would be gone.

‘Dev, what do you think about all this?’ Dev realized that he must still be visible. ‘Ma’am, I think it’s very bad that Mrs Kaur needs to write so many notes,’ Dev said. ‘Amma doesn’t like them, and Baba must spend his time lecturing me about concentration and teaching me the meaning of words like “lamentable” and “deplorable”.’

‘Would you be able to tell me about one of your daydreams, Dev?’

Dev told her about the time he hit a six off the final ball at Wankhede Stadium to win the match against Australia, and about riding on a dolphin.

Front cover of Daydreamer Dev
The Astoundingly True Adventures of Daydreamer Dev || Ken Spillman (Author), Suvidha Mistry (Illustrator)

He was launching into another story when she interrupted.

‘Do you have some good friends, Dev?’

Surprised that she wanted to talk about his friends, he told her about Vihaan, Adil and the best of friends ever, OP—Omprakash, as only Mrs Kaur preferred to call him.

Dr Ira asked more questions and looked over his school reports. Eventually, she sat back and looked as squarely at Amma as a round-faced woman could manage.

‘It would be valuable if I could spend some time with Dev alone on another occasion. Would that be all right, Dev?’ Dr Ira paused and when Dev did not say no, she went on. ‘Let’s be clear—daydreams are normal. But recently, there has been some good research on what is called “maladaptive daydreaming”. This is when fantasy tends to takeover. And when fantasy takes over, it can get in the way of everyday things, such as education, or the jobs people do.’

Amma was like a sculpture. She was sitting bolt upright with her head tilted and her lips squeezed together.

‘Dev seems well adjusted socially,’ Dr Ira said.

‘And he’s managing at school. But Mr Bannerji and the school counsellor believe he is gifted and might do very much better.’

The sculpture beside Dev became Amma again.

She nodded vigorously. Dr Ira leant forward.

‘I’d like to explore this a little. Maladaptive daydreamers tend to imagine worlds and stories as relief in times of stress or boredom. In Dev’s case, I suspect it is boredom. But the ability to daydream so vividly that you experience a sense of presence in an imagined environment can be addictive. I can work with Dev to help him develop some strategies to manage it.’

The word ‘maladaptive’ came as a relief.

Evolution was all about adaptation. Dr Ira probably thought Dev needed to adapt, to evolve.

At least he wasn’t going to have an operation or an electric shock.

‘It will be quite painless, young man,’

Dr Ira assured, as if reading his thoughts. ‘Think about it like this. Active volcanoes don’t erupt every day. In fact, most of them very rarely erupt. Your daydreams can rumble away in the background and that’s healthy. We can try to limit unwanted eruptions that affect your education. Does that make sense?’

Actually, it did. And Dev rather liked volcanoes.


For ages 7+!

Sita in Chitwan National Park!

Sita is in Chitwan National Park in Nepal!

As big as 1,78,000 football fields, Nepal’s first protected national park is home to over 550 species of birds; awe-inspiring animals, such as greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, clouded leopards; and a confident, brave girl called Sita.

Sita dreams of being a nature guide like her baba. With a spring in her step and a group of eager tourists, she unravels the secrets of the forest. But when she wanders astray and comes face to face with a mamma rhino, will this eight-year-old be able to listen to the stillness of the jungle?

Join Sita in Chitwan National Park, a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site!


There were no female nature guides in Nepal until one woman challenged herself to do something that no woman had.

Meet Doma Paudel, the first female nature guide in Chitwan.

Sita: Hi Doma! I am sure everyone is excited to learn that there is a real-life me! Tell me more about yourself, Doma.

Doma: I was twenty-three years old when I became the first female nature guide in Chitwan, Nepal in 2007. In 2012, I founded Nepal Dynamic Eco Tours to promote sustainable ecotourism. I support wildlife victims and conduct awareness programs on forest conservation. There is always something that keeps me busy.

Front cover of Sita's Chitwan
Siuta’s Chitwan || Vaishali Shroff (Author), Kalp Sanghvi (Illustrator)

Sita: Wow! You wear many hats, Doma! My baba inspired me to become a nature guide. Who inspired you?

Doma: My family’s house in Sauraha is along the border of CNP. Elephants destroyed our bamboo and grass house a few times. Rhinos, deer and wild boars ate our crops. Once, a sloth bear attacked my father. Coming from a poor family, it was hard to recover from these losses. In 2004, we lost our beloved mother to an unexpected rhino attack; she had gone to the forest to collect firewood for the house. But I still love animals and forests.

My  mother  treated  me  no different  than  my  brothers.  She always  encouraged  me  to  follow  my  heart  and  step  out  to  do something for society. In school, I was part of the Green Club and participated in plantation and garbage collection events. That’s where my journey to be a nature guide began and I never looked back.

Sita:  Did you have to undergo special training to become a nature guide?

Doma:  I received training from lots of places including the National Trust of Nature Conservation. I learnt the history of Nepal and Chitwan National Park, the protected areas, all about animal behaviour, safety rules, hospitality, culture, responsible tourism and a lot more!

I was the only female among twenty-five male guides. No one wanted to go with me into the forest because they thought I was not  strong  enough  to  protect  tourists  and  other  guides  from wild animals. But I did not give up. On the first three-day walk I was assigned, a rhino charged at us. I used all my knowledge and training to protect my guests from the rhino. Since that day, everyone knows me as ‘the one who is not afraid’!

Sita: That’s incredible! I once saved a tourist from a rhino attack too! What does a day in the life of Doma Paudel look like?

Doma:  A nature guide’s life is full of excitement, adventure, challenges and risks. In peak season, I am at my office by 6 a.m., planning safaris and tours for our tourists over cups of tea. My guides and I show Chitwan’s beauty and wildlife to our tourists and the last safari ends by 5.30 p.m.  At 6 p.m., all of us get together to share our day’s encounters and stories. No two days in the forest are the same and that’s the most exciting part of my job. When  there  are  no  tourists,  I  organize  events  to  raise  awareness  on conservation efforts  and  the  participation  of  women  in  conservation among our communities and schools. We also visit other national parks to constantly update ourselves.

Sita: What do you love about your job?

Doma: I love that I get to be in the midst of nature and wildlife all the time.  I learn something new about the forest every day.  Just like you, I love meeting new people from different parts of the world, Sita. It’s a very special feeling to know that you have taken more and more people closer to nature and made them feel more empathetic towards nature and its biodiversity. I am an ambassador of nature and proud to have inspired many women to become nature guides and make families believe that it’s not just a man’s job. And I don’t miss a chance to meditate in the forest—it’s the best place to do so!

Sita: Thank you, Doma. You inspire me to not give up on my dream!

Ready for June Readathon?

While we are still getting past the uncertain times and the young ones are spending the summer break indoors, we have come to their rescue with our interesting June book collection. With a tinge of laughter, a touch of magic, a series of adventures, and a sea full of learning, our books promise to offer entertainment, comfort, and knowledge.

Here’s a curated list for June readathon!


My First Library of Learning: Box set
My First Library Learning || .
Ages: 0 to 3 years

Foster a habit of reading in your little ones with this box set of 10 gorgeously designed and thoughtfully created board books. These books equip toddlers and preschoolers with essential reading, language, visual, motor and imagination skills. This bright, handy, easy-to-read and fun library contains books on English alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes, things at home, fruits and vegetables, seasons and opposites, transport, animals and insects.


Dealing with Feelings Box Set 2

Sonia Mehta

Dealing with Feelings || Sonia Mehta
Ages: 5+ years

Foggy Forest is inhabited by many fun little animals. These quirky creatures are always there for one another—helping each other overcome jealousy, boredom, sadness and confusion. Together, they deal with all the different feelings one might have every day. This special box set edition brings together six exciting titles to start a conversation with kids about their feelings and emotions.


Big Mistake
Big Mistake
Ages: 16+ years

Insecurities and assurances, conflict and solidarity, fearfulness and courage—the personal histories, stories and #ownvoices in this anthology cover a lot of ground in just a few pages. Let them spark conversations on love, identity, disability, family, body positivity, ambition and other tough stuff. After all, no matter how old we get, growing up can feel like one big mistake.


Nida Finds a Way

Samina Mishra

Nida Finds A Way || Samina Mishra
Ages: 7 to 9 years

Whenever Nida wants to do something new, Abba is scared for her and says NONONO. But Nida needs to learn and do new things—so the only way is for her to persuade Abba. Can Nida find a way?


A Pinch of Magic

Asha Nehemiah

A Pinch of Magic || Asha Nehemiah
Ages: 7 to 9 years

Veena’s aunt Malu is in trouble. Her pinching spoon is broken. She must get a new spoon or close down her herbal medicine business. But the only person who makes pinching spoons has disappeared. Can Veena help her aunt?



Paro Anand

Unmasked || Paro Anand
Ages: 11+ years

The year 2020 will forever be reported as the time when we all fell down. But it was also the year we all got back up and were forced to come together in a way we had never imagined before. In this timely masterpiece, Paro Anand writes of despair, courage and hope. Through eighteen short stories from the pandemic, Anand introduces us to characters who feel familiar and their stories intimate.

From a mother and son looking to make ends meet as the lockdown brutally affects their lives to a housewife who’s a victim of domestic abuse, from young keyboard wizards keen on making a difference to a home delivery executive who becomes an unlikely hero, this book unmasks the layers of the year that changed us all.


My Little Book of Krishna
My Little Book of Krishna || .
Ages: 3+ years

Naughty little Krishna’s search for butter leads to an unexpected adventure. With charming illustrations and simple language, this short tale about Krishna will entertain and delight. It is a perfect way to familiarize the little ones with India’s rich cultural fabric. It’s a must have to introduce a god from popular Hindu mythology and impart valuable life lessons.


My Little Book of Lakshmi
My Little Book of Lakshmi || .
Ages: 3+ years

Lovely Lakshmi comes to Earth once a year. Will she have a good time here?
With the beautifully illustrated pages, this short tale about Lakshmi offers a fun and enjoyable read about timeless myths and festivals for modern kids.


My Little Book of Ganesha
My Little Book of Ganesha || .
Ages: 3+ years

Clever Ganesha’s got something on his mind, but what that is you’ll have to read on to find.
This short tale about Ganesha has fascinating illustrations and lucid language, making it suitable for bedtime reading and parent-child association. It’s dotted with interesting facts as well as an interactive activities.


The queen of Jhansi lashes out at the British

The rani embraced Damodar at the gates of the palace, with the British officers and soldiers looking on.

Then she turned to face Major Ellis. Her expression was grim, almost forbidding.

‘May I know the reason for your visit, Major Ellis?’ Her tone was casual, but her eyes were stormy.

Major Ellis bowed, feeling unusually nervous. ‘I bring a message from Lord Dalhousie, Your Majesty.’

‘Follow me, then.’ The rani strode into the palace and the soldiers hurried to keep pace with her.

In the main audience chamber, she seated herself on the throne and gestured to Major Ellis to speak.

The major cleared his throat several times before he felt able to utter a word. But speak he did because he had to. ‘Your adopted son, Damodar Rao’s right to rule has been rejected. So, by the Doctrine of Lapse, this kingdom now belongs to the British.’

‘Main apni Jhansi nahi doongi!’

The queen’s voice rang out, firm and true. It echoed all around the royal audience chamber and even along the corridors beyond. The Jhansi officers and guards who heard it sprang to attention and stiffened their backs with pride, almost without realizing it.

‘What did she say?’ the British officer behind Major Ellis muttered to his companion.

The other officer, who understood Hindustani well, translated quickly: ‘She said, I will not yield my Jhansi.’

Major Ellis was clearly uncomfortable, more so when Rani Lakshmibai turned her gaze on him. He had never seen the young queen look so angry. Her face was flushed, her eyes glittered with rage and her fists, partly hidden by her pearl bracelets, were clenched so tightly in her lap that her knuckles shone white.

She sat, proud and erect, on her throne, silently demanding a response from him. He turned his eyes away, unable to justify the decision made by the British.

Front cover of Queen of Fire
Queen of Fire || Devika Rangachari


She went on, her fury unabated. ‘Is this how the British repay loyalty? Generations of Jhansi rulers have supported them—have supported every step they have taken in this country, whatever our private feelings on the matter. So tell me, Major Ellis, what have we got for our pains?’

‘Your Majesty,’ he replied, his voice low so that those around had to strain to hear it. ‘I am a friend of Jhansi and a true supporter of your cause. But my hands are tied. I have no other option than to follow the orders of my superiors.’

‘You witnessed the adoption ceremony!’ she lashed out. ‘And you carried the news of it to your superiors. If they now doubt its validity, then it is clear that they don’t trust their own people. Don’t trust you. Yet you bend to their will and follow their unjust orders?’

Her words rankled but he had to answer. ‘I am sorry, Your Majesty,’ he said steadily, ‘but the British will now take over the governance of Jhansi. You will receive a monthly pension and may stay on here at the palace. I need to lock up the treasury and the military stores. Your money and weapons belong to the British from here on. All your soldiers will be dismissed, except a few that may remain for your personal safety.’

All eyes were on the queen; it was as if the very chamber was holding its breath. Sounds drifted in from the soldiers amassed outside the building—the murmur of voices, the clearing of throats, the shifting of feet—harmless in themselves, but indicative of the British military might mere steps away. It gave the rani no option but to obey.

To Major Ellis, the rani’s silence was more ominous than her words.

Her face was white and her hands trembled slightly as she signalled to her elderly prime minister, Dewan Rao Bande, to hand over the keys to Major Ellis.

This was a terrible blow, indeed. The British had been sniffing around various kingdoms, hoping to pounce at the first sign of weakness, which is why it had been so crucial to adopt Damodar and have it ratified. And all had seemed to be well for a while. Now her anger was directed equally at the British and herself. How could she have let her guard down and been so complacent! She should have known that the British would not give up so easily. Yet anger would not get her anywhere, she quickly realized. She would have to think fast and on her feet. She would not give up, she vowed to herself. Somehow, she would get her throne back and ensure Damodar’s succession.

Right now, Jhansi was like an ant before an elephant. But ants could bite and she would make sure this one bit hard . . .


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