News & Review

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Vikram & Betaal: The Storyteller Series

Sutradhar: Nidhi Kundra
Publisher: Edu Hub Publishing, New Delhi
(ISBN: 978-93-859-9405-0)

Indian mythology boasts of a number of evergreen stories, which have been told and retold many times and will continue to be a favourite for centuries. Vikram & Betaal is based on Betaal Pacchisi, written nearly 2,500 years ago by Mahakavi Somdev Bhatt.

These are spellbinding stories told to the wise King Vikramaditya by the wily ghost Betaal. King Vikramaditya has been given the task to catch Betaal, who with his wit, always succeeds in setting himself free. He tells a story to the king on the way and warns him not to utter a single word, else he will fly away. After every story, Betaal asks him a puzzling question, which Vikramaditya cannot resist to answer, as he is a wise man.

In this new series, these old stories have been given a fresh look and appeal to attract kids. Beautifully illustrated and simple text, the book will appeal to one and all.

–Varsha Verma

Simply Nanju

Author: Zainab Sulaiman
Publisher: Duckbill Books, New Delhi
(Pp 128 Pages, ISBN 978-93-83331-70-3, Price Rs. 199)

A sinple and warm story about a boy Nanju, who is a carefree lad, who does not cares that he walks funny or that he’s known as the class copy cat or that the cleverest (and prettiest) girl in class barely knows he’s alive. Nanju studies in a school for children who are differently-abled.

But, he is really smart and he, along with his beloved friend- Mahesh, manages to solve the mystery of books disappearing from the classroom as everyone suspects Nanju. Moreover, his father has warned him that he will send him to Unni Mama’s all-boys Hostel from Hell, if he is the culprit. Nanju is determined to find the real thief and continue to live the life in the way he loves.

Fast-paced and extremely enjoyable, the book will appeal to kids and also help them empathise with those who are differently-abled.

–Varsha Verma

My First Encyclopedia

Publisher: Edu Hub, New Delhi,
(ISBN 9789385994005, Rs 350; $ 10)

My First Encyclopedia (First Edition: 2016) is designed as a ready reference for the upper primary age group. The book is beautifully illustrated with real and lively pictures and gives the reader an insight into the Universe, the world of Science, Human Body, Birds and Animals, Wild Fauna and Wonders of the World. The encyclopedia has been designed in simple language as a supplementary tool not only for school projects but also to satiate the appetite of the eager learners. Amazing Facts have been added in each topic to provide an insight into the mystics of the natural and man made world. First in the series, My First Encyclopedia is sure to serve as a self help tool for its learners.

–Vasu V

Indian author shines at Scholastic Asian Book Award 2016

Aditi KrishnakumarThe grand prize winner of the Scholastic Asian Book Award is Codex: The Lost Treasure of the Indus by Aditi Krishnakumar from India. The book is about deciphering the mysterious script of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which proves to be a puzzle in three languages. It’s a job for Codex, who’s a linguist, mathematician and all-round geek. But Codex soon discovers that this isn’t like anything she’s done before. As the sinister implications of the find become apparent, Codex must work with agent Lila Raman to get to the bottom of a fourthousand- year-old mystery.

The first Runner-up is Chasing Freedom by Tina Cho from South Korea while the second runner-up is Island Girl by Stephanie Ho Lee-Ling from Singapore.

Tina ChoThese awards were recently announced by National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and Scholastic Asia. This year, five finalists were selected from a pool of 54 submissions. Entries came from 11 countries, with Iran and Palestine being represented for the first time.

R Ramachandran, executive director of NBDCS, said, “Since its inception, SABA has been positioned to be an avenue for budding and established writers from around the region to showcase their diverse literary talents. With each edition, we’ve received an increasing number of submissions and better quality ones – this is a clear indication that SABA is wellrecognised by authors as a platform for promoting their works to a larger audience.”

Stephanie Ho Lee-LingOrganised since 2011, SABA promotes Asian experiences and expression in creative and innovative forms, by celebrating writers of Asian origin whose works have the potential to share uniquely Asian experiences with the rest of the world.

Selina Lee, vice president of Scholastic Asia, said, “At Scholastic, we believe that literacy is the cornerstone of all learning, and we aim to help children discover the pleasure and power of reading. SABA is a demonstration of our commitment to producing quality, engaging educational content, and we look forward to once again bringing the experiences of life, spirit, and thinking in different parts of Asia to the world, through this year’s award.”

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