What Books for my Kid ?

July 31, 2007 at 8:38 am | Posted in Parenting, Society | 8 Comments

Kiran’s post inspired me for this one.Why are our kids not reading Amar Chitra Kathas? Or for that matter any Indian literature.I remember reading Amar Chitr kathas and Stories from Ramayana and Mahabharatha apart from Champak , Nandan , Chandamamma and some russian story books.I noticed with friends and relatives that kids today are not given any indian books to read and I truly don’t understand the reason.I have no inhibitions against other books , and they can be reading them all.But don’t you think our books brings them closer to our history , our mythology and our culture. Okay, I agree we have some fairy tales in our mythology and there can be a debate about all that being true/false , but anyways they are reading Harry Potter , so whats wrong with Hanuman ? Indian books brings them closer to our values and morals in simple Indian setup which they can relate to and visualize. With due respect to other literature , I think we have a great literature for our kids and we can be proud of that.But on the contrary , some of my counter parts , don’t think its worth.Or shall I say , its something to do with our ego and status.We feel proud if our kid can talk about all the famous international characters and toons on TV and its kind of down market to talk about ACK ? Will my kid be out of place , if he reads more/equal number of Indian books vs others ?

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  1. I had gotten the Hanuman DVD for Anirudh. And you know what he said when Hanuman ate the sun? “Yeh naughty boy hai!” Plus there was lot of throwing and bashing in the DVD which he picked up way too soon so I stopped showing him that DVD.

    For other characters, I frankly never tried. I do read him stories from panchtantra but somehow mould them differently. For e.g there is a story in which there is a monster who lives in a lake and when some monkeys come to drink water from it, he goes “I will eat you up if you drink water from the lake.” I didn’t think I would have wanted to narrate the story as it is to betu. So I changed it. I changed it to say that monster said, “Its my water and I will not share. And then I added that grandpa monkey told the monster, that you should share with all and that way you will have loads of friends.”

    And he learned the concept of sharing from this story. So I do change the stories to hide the negative parts.

    P.S. Sorry for making the comment a post in itself

  2. Do we think alike or what:)) It irritates me when parents around me think that speaking our mother tongue with kids or even reading Indian books to them is not worth…..
    I agree that we should not just limit them to read Indian books…but as parents I feel that we should expose them to all kinds of books. Aren’t we in a way demeaning our own culture by not letting them read Indian books and thinking that its not a status symbol to read Indian books?

  3. My opinion is that children should get in touch with all type of literature irrespective of the country or era. They should grow up reading Amar Chitra Kadha, Harry Potter and religious books too. Status should not be attached to reading habit.

  4. nm : But he does watch spiderman , batman and superman and how are they different ? They have violence , fight against evil, flying and magic tricks.Then why are others prefered over one.
    And how does it harm if he calls little Hanuman a naughty boy ?

    NanhiPari , Asha : I agree with each word you said.

  5. Swati: No he doesn’t watch any of these character cartoons. 🙂 He watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Bob the builder, Panshel, Shin chan, Mr bean (eyuck..I hate it but he loves it). I also restrict his watching Tom and Jerry as I find that a bit too violent for his age although its quite funny.

    And it was not the point of calling Hanuman Naughty boy. I found it cute. What made me stop was that he started to bash things around the same way as Baby Anuman was doing in the movie 🙂

  6. Am all for making our kids enjoy Indian literature too. But somehow, while I do tell Sonny boy a lot of stories on Panchatantra and mythology, I find that books as such are more attractively caricatured and readable, when they are not Indian.
    Even cds- I loved Karadi Tales, with their cute illustrations/cartoons and impeccable diction, but while I have bought some Panchatantra and Tenali Raman cd’s they are awful!

    Think its high time, we had some good publishers take up the cause of Indian folktales, mythology and others which are so rich and varied…

  7. I loved your post, and I know have come across many parents who are even ashamed if their child speaks Hindi better than English, this is a reverse colonialisation happening today….as for me, I’m making brat watch Hanuman and Krishna and My friend Ganesha…he’s too little to read yet, but he needs to know his own cultural mythology before he gets inevitably hooked onto western myths and cartoon characters…

  8. Adding to my earlier comment…today while I was dropping off Sunu in her daycare, the center director came out and wanted to talk to me. She was like…last week I heard your daughter singing a rhyme in your language and I loved that. Could you compile a CD of rhymes in your language and give it to me. I will ask the teachers to play it in the classrooms so that the kids get exposed to different music and cultural background:) I was so proud of it and happily said yes with a big smile. I am now even thinking of giving her some Karadi tales CD and some Indian books:))
    And I am happy that I was able to enroll Sunu in a school which is so open for different cultural backgrounds:)


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