Telling, and Retelling

Scholastic India has some interesting titles out for young readers which they popularize through very innovative strategies such as having book clubs, book fairs, special readings, and so on...

One author of theirs who has a special touch when it comes to interacting with children is Devika Rangachari, who runs the Habitat Children's Book Club (in New Delhi). Each month she guides an enthusiastic group of (mainly) pre-teens through one or the other of the several contemporary children's books that are available, and from personal experience, I can certify that this greatly enhances the reading experience (and eventually, the writing experience) of children. She has won 19 national awards in competitions for writer’s of children’s books and stories. Her book Growing up was nominated to the honour list of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in 2002 as the most outstanding Indian entry.

Scholastic's Book of this month is her telling of the Harsha Vardhana story, a historical fiction for the young adult. "History remembers Harsha as the powerful king who ruled almost the whole of north India for over forty years. The younger son of the king of Thanesar, Harsha was the ruler of both Thanesar and Kanauj, by the age of sixteen. But at what price did he ascend the throne?" The book allows the reader to explore the various shades of Harsha Vardhana’s character in this vividly imagined novel.

In paperback, 104 pages, Rs 100. ISBN: 9788184772579

Soma Guha (1962-2006) was a journalist of wide experience who worked for The Telegraph and The Pioneer. Passionate about writing, and especially for children, she had completed a retelling of the Mahabharata in two volumes, and was working on a historical novel on Dara Shukhoh when she passed away. The latter effort has not seen the light of day yet, but the two volumes of the Mahabharata are available as The Game and The War.

“The contemporary, lucid writing truly brings the epic alive…"

In paperback. The Game, 262 pages, Rs 250, ISBN: 9788176558167, The War, 334 pages, Rs 250, ISBN: 9788176558280