Celebrating Differences – A Book Review

We’ve done stories from this book at the book club. I’ve shared it at almost every children’s reading forum and with every mum I know. I wonder how I left out talking about it here.
Celebrating Differences – Stories for the Children of India, is a book every child should read, every Indian child, most definitely. That’s because the setting of the stories is Indian the ideas, however, are universal.
Seven authors come together with seven stories about people with disabilities and their interactions with others. It talks about perceptions and prejudices. Sometimes we (specially children) are impatient with or unkind to people because we don’t think about the difficulties they might be dealing with or have pre-conceived notions about how they will behave.
This delightful melange of stories is an attempt to set that right.
All it takes is the story of Ritika a hearing impaired girl who learns to stop feeling sorry for herself.
The Perfumed Prowler is about Amtan a speech impaired boy who earns the respect of an aunt who had always pitied him.
Who is Faster talks about Rudra who learns that a boy in a wheelchair could be just as smart and as much fun as his other friends.
The New Neighbour is about an old school teacher who helps a little boy being bullied by his older brothers.
I Don’t Understand It is perhaps the most touching story of all. It is told from the point of view of a mentally challenged child and his perception of good and bad.
Leaf Feel is another fun story where a visually challenged girl teaches some kids a new fun game.
And finally Wheels from Kerala talks about a young girl Priya and how she learns to empathise and bond with her arthritic grandfather.
Each of these stories embodies a world of wisdom and helps to sensitise children, making them empathetic to people with differences. The print is comfortably large and the stories are suited for kids between 7-8 years of age. Though they can be read out to younger kids.
The book comes with interesting nuggets of information and also some fun colouring pages.
Priced at Rs 125 and Published by Ekansh Trust Pune, this book is absolutely invaluable.
Here are the details in case you want to get a copy: email info@ekansh.org
Phone: +919503715015
We had some of the most amazing sessions at our book club when we took up a story from this book. The children learnt a little bit of sign language – they learnt to spell their names as also simple phrases like I am sorry, Thank you and of course I Love You, which they continue to use even today. This is such a good exercise for all children.
Like in the story Leaf’s Feel they tried to recognise trees, leaves and flowers with a blindfold on their eyes simply by feeling them. That was great fun because they got to run around and touch and feel.
And lastly for the story Wheels from Kerala we got them talking to their grandparents and got back with fun tales of their parents’ childhood.

26 Replies to “Celebrating Differences – A Book Review”

  1. Wow, Just found this. I am Anita Narayan and this book is a gift from my ngo ekansh.org. Thank you so much for liking the book!! Just googled ‘story book ekansh’ and found this. Pleasant surprise indeed!

  2. The concept of the book seems nice. And I love the work you are dong at your book club. Fun it must be reading to the kids.

  3. What amazing things you are doing at the book club, Tulika! Making the kids learn more about sign language, leaves and talking about grand parents, apart from reading the stories is sooo wonderful! You are awe-inspiring! ♥

  4. Thanks for the review, Tulika. I will have to keep visiting both your blogs for book recommendations for myself and also for M as she grows up 🙂

  5. I would love to get a copy, will email the publisher. Thanks for sharing such an amazing book review of an equally amazing book. I think even the grown ups need to read books on these topics. It was nice to read about kids learning sign language, touching the leaves and trees to identify them also must have been fun for them 🙂

  6. Love the concept of the book, Tulika! Thanks for sharing it. Children MUST read. I am very glad our house is full of bookworms! Let me go look at Mia's post. 🙂

  7. Wow! That seems like a wonderful book! Even as an adult I admit that sometimes I don't really know how exactly to interact with someone who is challenged. Whether I am being sensitive enough or am I insulting them by being overly sensitive. I love the part about the kids learning sign language. When I do get time, I add CC to YouTube videos. Some the auto generated ones are riddled with mistakes. I am not sure how much of an impact it makes, but it sure does make me feel good(as the wise Joey once said..there is no true altruistic deed :)). Besides you can get some laughs out of it too as some of the captions are way off and super hilarious.

    1. It is easier for the kids Anitha because they don't overthink their reactions. They can learn to accept 'different' people naturally.

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