5 Indian children’s writers your little one should read

I belong to a generation that grew up on those beautifully illustrated Russian storybooks that were available for really cheap rates back then. In those days, there weren’t many Indian picture books or read-alouds that would interest a four-year-old. But the scene has changed considerably now and there are tonnes of Indian writers who bring out wonderful books for children. When we speak of children’s books, it’s unfair to club them all together since a book written for a toddler would have to be markedly different from a book written for a teenager. The following recommendations are of Indian children’s writers who write for children below the age of six.Deepa Balsavar: Deepa is a writer and illustrator who has created many amazing picture books for little ones. She has dealt with diverse themes from adoption to money management in her work. In a picture book, the visuals are just as important as the text in telling the story and since Deepa is an illustrator too, there is never a word more than necessary in her books. Minimal text, fantastic illustrations, interesting themes. Just perfect for your little one.Madhuri Purandare: Madhuri writes mostly in Marathi but the English translations of her book are available too. Like Deepa, Madhuri is also an illustrator-writer. Mark Twain once said that the grief when a child’s loses her doll and a king loses his crown are the same. Madhuri’s writing is full of empathy with the emotions that a child undergoes in her world. I like her work because children emerge as real characters in them – they aren’t cutesy or entirely innocent but have unique personalities of their own.Anushka Ravishankar: Anushka’s books make for great read-alouds. Her verse, especially, is fun and engaging and your little one will soon start spouting the lines as you read the books day after day. She writes across genres – from reinvented folktales to nonsense verse to contemporary stories set in urban and rural surroundings. Anushka also writes for older children.Ashok Rajagopalan: Yet another writer-illustrator, Ashok Rajagopalan is the creator of the adorable elephant, Gajapati Kulapati, and his adventures. Ashok’s books are charming and quirky and you will find yourself laughing along with your child as you flip the pages. The pages are peppered with little details that are a delight to discover every time you open the books. You just instinctively like his work – without breaking your head and wondering if there’s some deep, profound message anywhere in the text. His message is simply: kindly smile.Nina Sabnani: Nina’s books are so breath-taking that you may not want to share them with your little one at first. But you should. Her books deal with complex themes and address difficult subjects that we’re often hesitant to broach with our children. I ended up discussing the partition of India with my four-year-old after we read her much acclaimed book Mukand and Riaz! These books can be read by everyone in the family and each of you will get something out of the experience.So yes, do read The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the millionth time but also look up these writers and buy their work? They deserve to be read!