Aleph tests the waters with children’s books – promises more

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS): Responding to a long-awaited desire, the Aleph Book Company is spreading its wings with an initial offer of three children’s books that could gradually expand.

“We had long wanted to add children’s books to our editorial 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 to kick off the list with. To begin with, we plan to publish no more than 3-4 books per year for older children. Depending on how these books evolve, we will gradually expand the children’s edition,” said David Davidar, managing director and publisher of Aleph, told IANS.

Great Indian Stories for Children:

Edited by award-winning writer Stephen Alter, this is a collection of nine delightful short stories for older children by some of India’s greatest writers. Hand-picked stories include classics such as Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘The Kabuliwallah’, revolving around an unlikely friendship between a little Bengali girl and an Afghan man; “Idgah” by Munshi Premchand, the touching story of a young boy’s gift to his grandmother on Eid; “The Why-Why Girl” by Mahasweta Devi, 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 hills of Garhwal; “Portrait of a Lady” by Khushwant Singh, a poignant story about a young boy and his beloved grandmother; and Shashi Tharoor’s “The Boutique,” a sensitive tale of a teenager’s rite of passage into adulthood.

Stephen Alter is the author of over twenty fiction and non-fiction books, including “The Secret Sanctuary” and “The Cloudfarers”. “Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth”, his most recent non-fiction work, received the 2020 Banff Mountain Book Award in the Mountain Environment and Natural History category.

Alter taught at the American University in Cairo, where he was director of the writing program for seven years. He was then writer-in-residence at MIT for ten years. Among the honors he has received are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the East West Center in Hawaii, and the Banff Center for Mountain Culture. He is also the founding director of the Mussoorie Mountain Festival.

It’s time to rhyme:

With offerings ranging 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 learning how poetry works, a parent looking for a fun way to explore form with your children, or a teacher looking for a unique text to introduce students to the basics of poetry, “Il est temps de Rhyme” is the essential book for young rhymers and wordsmiths to discover the exciting world of poetry.

Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan is a children’s author, poet, editor and voiceover. She is also a former nonprofit development professional who spent two decades advocating and fundraising for people with disabilities.

Srinivasan has recorded vocals for documentaries, educational programs, journalistic initiatives and audiobooks. 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?” His most recent book, “Prince With a Paintbrush: The Story of Raja Ravi Varma”, was a BTB Wordsmiths of the Year 2021 Best Book. Srinivasan loves words because they make his heart and voice sing. You can find out more at www.shobhataroorsrinivasan.com

Miracle at Happy Bazaar:

Personally selected by Ruskin Bond, these 50 stories are the finest of hundreds of tales told by India’s favorite children’s author over a decades-long career. There are never-before-seen nuggets like “Miracle at Happy Bazaar”, “Chocolates at Midnight”, “Life is Sweet, Brother” and “The Old Suitcase” as well as classics that have delighted generations like “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 it is cherished by all who love great stories. Many of these tales are filled with the author’s particular brand of gentle humor. Others are harrowing adventure threads. There are ghost tales to scare you and mysteries and thrillers to keep you awake at night. Animals are a favorite theme and this collection is full of tigers, panthers, crocodiles, pythons, monkeys, bears, elephants, ostriches and even a cassowary. There are stories of mischief, and others of magic, those that contain romance, many that speak of the joy and innocence of childhood, many that evoke the calm and peace of the hills, and even more.

Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli (now 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, was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novels (including ‘Vagrants in the Valley’ and “A Flight of Pigeons”) and more than 40 children’s books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English Writing in India in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Delhi Government Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.

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