By Neha Kirpal
The summer vacations are here and the kids are off from school! What better way for them to spend the holidays than with a stash of some amazing new books? We’ve got you covered with this all-new 2023 summer reading list, comprising books for a range of age groups and covering various themes and subjects, such as the environment, mythology, history, yoga, pets, famous lives, adventure and the future. Happy reading!
The Miracle on Kachhua BeachBy Nandita da Cunha; illustrations by Priya Kuriyan (6-10 years)
‘Oddball Ori’ asks too many questions, and is crazy about collecting all kinds of stuff. One day, a crow leads him to a garbage dump that borders the sea down the road where he lives. Ori reaches Kachhua Beach, filled with mountains of trash, rags, plastic bags, bottles and wrappers. With some help, he decides to clean up the beach. As students, teachers, parents, neighbours, office goers and beach walkers join the movement, it soon becomes a mission to bring back the beach. The book is inspired by a real-life incident that happened at Mumbai’s Versova Beach in 2015.
Colours with Radha Krishna – Rang Radha Krsna ke SangBy Anjali Jaipuria; illustrations by Sudeepti Tucker (4-7 years)
This bilingual picture book is a visual journey with Radha and Krishna as they celebrate a world of 10 beautiful colours through little poems in English and Hindi – blue like the sky, the river and Krishna’s skin; yellow like the buzzing bees and the flowers in Radha’s hair; red like Radha’s bindi and Krishna’s aalta; green like rustling leaves and the peacock feather in Krishna’s hair; and so on. The book is a poetic exploration of the story of Radha and Krishna. Besides introducing young ones to colours, it is also a visual introduction to India’s mythology and religious tradition.
More Than I AmBy Varuna Shunglu and Ken Spillman (12+ years)
With down-to-earth advice, stunning photos and beautiful illustrations, this book distils the essence of ancient yoga wisdom and shows its clear application to the stressful lives of 21st-century teens. It highlights, among other things, the importance of yoga in our lives, the concept of time management, the seven primary chakras along the spine, how to manage stress, how to deal with anxiety and body image issues, daily activities to boost energy, concentration, memory, meditation and overall balance. An essential resource for all teens, the book ends with a comprehensive 21-day pledge, outlining activities, abhyasa and meals.
H for Heritage MumbaiBy Fiona Fernandez; illustrations by Sumedha Sah (9+ years)
First in the H for Heritage series, this book is a part guide and part trivia trove. An alphabetical exploration of Mumbai and its suburbs, it reveals the multi-layered history of the city through unique stories and anecdotes, quirky episodes and forgotten footnotes. Some of the interesting landmarks included Asiatic Society, Afghan Church, Bombay Samachar, Esplanade Mansion, Flora Fountain, Hornbill House, Irani cafes, Lady Jamsetjee Road, Metro Cinema, Naval Dockyard and Oval Maidan.
The Gopi Diaries: Growing UpBy Sudha Murty; illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat (6+ years)
Gopi is the author’s own four-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever, who lives with her and their family in Bengaluru. In the third book of this heart-warming Gopi Diaries series, Gopi has new adventures and interests, such as learning to swim, getting his first haircut, going for a vacation and catching a thief. In the book, an older and wiser Gopi finds a new love in his life, the charming Nova! The delightful stories are simply told from a dog’s perspective, and show us why pets are so precious.
The Truth Detective: How to Make Sense of a World that Doesn’t Add UpBy Tim Harford; illustrations by Ollie Mann (9-12 years)
Did you know that a toy spaceship can teach you about inflation? Or that a pooping cow can show you how to invest your pocket money? And that even the greatest detectives have been fooled by fake news and dancing fairies? The world is often full of confusing headlines and numbers that don’t add up. Read this book to become a ‘Truth Detective’ who uses statistics, graphs, pie charts, tricks, tactics and tools to decipher clues from one’s everyday lives. The book explains that data is the most important thing for being a detective. The author talks among other things about making the right comparisons and Sherlock Holmes’ method of “observation and deduction”. A must-read for all curious kids!
Nikhil Out LoudBy Maulik Pancholy (9+ years)
Thirteen-year-old Nikhil Shah is the beloved voice actor for Raj Reddy on a hit animated series. But when his mom temporarily moves them to a small town in Ohio, Nikhil feels out of character. Though his fame lands him the lead in the school musical, he is scared that everyone will find out about his stage fright. On top of that, a group of conservative parents start to protest having an openly gay actor in a starring role. Nikhil will have to muster the courage to speak out. The author himself is an award-winning actor whose career has spanned various hit television shows, animated favourites, the Broadway stage and films. He is also the cofounder of the anti-bullying campaign Act to Change.
Taj Mahal: The Story of a Wonder of the WorldBy Tilottama Shome; illustrations by Kavita Singh Kale (10+ years)
First in the series that will introduce India’s rich art and architectural heritage, this is the incredible story of one of the world’s seven wonders. Tilottama Shome, an architect herself by training, lucidly narrates the story of the Mughal dynasty and how the Taj Mahal came to be built. Accompanied by detailed plans, maps, illustrations and photographs, the book explains how the Taj was designed, the deep symbols that lie hidden everywhere in its plan and the stories of the people who built it – from a mighty emperor to renowned architects to the humble stoneworkers and masons who worked on it for years.
Old Trees Have SecretsBy Ruskin Bond; illustrations by David Yambem (6+ years)
A big, ancient tree has seen so much – children playing, friends sleeping, birds singing, armies marching, storms breaking, shepherds searching for their sheep, large predators hiding among its branches. Over the years, it has grown wise seeing bright, happy days as well as sad, dark days. “But the old tree still stands, its trunk thick and strong, as it patiently waits for summer’s sweet song.” This gorgeously illustrated poem by one of India’s most beloved writers will show young readers the many moods and colours of life.
Humour with Mario MirandaBy Pervin Saket; illustrations by Devika Oza (4-7 years)
Written by award-winning poet Pervin Saket, these real-life accounts comprise simple verses about the life of Mario Miranda, one of India’s funniest cartoonists, who began making little doddles on walls as a child. He went on to study architecture, which he gave up midway. He continued with his scribblings of everyday life – men, women, children, animals, beaches, neighbours and weddings. Soon, he became famous, and his works have been displayed in more than 22 countries.
Gobi Goes ViralBy Vibha Batra; illustrations by Shamika Chaves (8-12 years)
Gopi loves studying at Primrose Academy. Alas, it looks like his days there are numbered. Luckily, his new friend, the cool, clever Pari, comes up with an exciting plan. Now all Gopi needs to do is unleash his talent and rap at the Talent Show. There’s just one little problem. He speaks English with an accent and his classmates make fun of him. Will he muster the courage to go on stage and do what he really loves? Or will it be bye-bye Primrose Academy?
Tenacity with Dadasaheb PhalkeBy Pervin Saket; illustrations by Neeti Banerji (4-7 years)
Discover the meaning of tenacity through the life of Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema. Phalke studied architecture, printmaking and art. He even tried his hand at photography, theatre and stage-curtain painting. Passion turned to movies when a French film came his way. He decided to make Indian films with stories from our scriptures, myths and history. Soon, he entered the world of studios, scripts and investors. In times when actors were all men, he brought in women too. Packed with striking illustrations, the book can be read aloud to toddlers and preschoolers or read independently by emerging readers.
Strange Stories from HistoryEdited by Mini Menon; illustrations by Tanvi Bhat (9+ years)
Did you know that millions of years ago, the Kashmir Valley was a giant lake? Did you know that the first rocket to be launched from India blasted off from inside a village church? Why did a king dedicate his recipe book to the king of cockroaches? In 1946, a bunch of kids found a spectacular hoard of gold coins while playing in a field in Bayana, a village in Rajasthan. The Quirky History series is back with another collection of bizarre believe-it-or-not tales. A tantric temple on a frog, a lady turning into a sweet, Hitler’s gift to the Maharaja of Patiala, and a plan to sell the Taj Mahal. See history come alive with these and more unusual stories.
The Kailash Temple at Ellora: Magnificent Monuments of IndiaBy Tilottama Shome; illustrations by Kavita Singh Kale (10+ years)
Another in a series that will introduce India’s rich art and architectural heritage to children, this book is filled with photographs and illustrations about one of the world’s most magnificent cave temples. Tilottama Shome lucidly explains concepts of Hindu temple architecture, narrates tales from history, folklore and mythology, and brings to life this magnificent example of art and architecture for young readers.
Five SurviveBy Holly Jackson (13+ years)
“You can’t see me but I can see you. If you try to run, I will shoot.” Red Kenny is on a road trip with five friends when their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. This is no accident. Someone is out there – and someone wants one of them dead. With eight hours until dawn, the six friends must escape or figure out which of them is the target. Buried secrets will come to light, and not everyone will survive the night. A heart pounding, addictive young-adult thriller from the multimillion bestselling author of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
The Monkey Who Fell from the FutureBy Ross Welford (9+ years)
A hilarious, moving and adventure-packed new novel from bestselling author Ross Welford, the story starts around four hundred years from now in the year 2425. Centuries after a catastrophic meteor collision, nature has retaken the earth. The planet’s population numbers in mere millions. Ocean Mooney is an 11-year-old who lives with her grandmother. Along with the monkey-owning Duke Smiff, she digs up a 400-year-old tablet computer. In the present day, Thomas and Kylie create a Time Tablet, which they hope will allow them to communicate with the future. When it malfunctions live on television, they are sucked into 2425 with only 24 hours to return home and save the future of humanity.
These Infinite ThreadsBy Tahereh Mafi (13+ years)
Full of magic, romance and betrayal, this is the breath-taking sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller This Woven Kingdom. With the heat of a kiss, the walls between the mysterious servant girl, Alizeh, and the crown prince of the Ardunian empire, Kamran, have crumbled. The king of Ardunia is now dead, and Alizeh has been stolen by the ruler of Tulan. Kamran is left to pick up the pieces of his broken kingdom, avenge his grandfather and find Alizeh. With the tantalising promise of fulfilling her destiny as the heir to the ancient Jinn kingdom, Alizeh wonders she can finally become the queen her people need.
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