We spoke to parents, scoured the Internet and browsed through bookshops for hours on end. The result is this book list that's as eclectic as your children's tastes might be. And yes, all of them are easily available in Indian bookstores (& Flipkart, of course)!
An enduring message of love, kindness and friendship, peppered with unforgettable characters and adventure. Let your kids know a simpler world, if only in books.
Hansel and Gretel
Can't get the young ones to eat their veggies? Who better to threaten them with than the witch who will cook them in a pot of oil and gobble 'em up? Here's a readymade one for you!
That a spider (Charlotte) rescues a pig (Wilbur) from the slaughterhouse is a reasonably atrocious story for a children's classic. Perfect to let the imaginative devil hidden inside your child. There's a reason Charlotte's Web has spent over 50 years on children's bookshelves. Its down-to-earth writing and rhythmic poetry make it a must-have.
Followed by a film
Engaging with a story through different media is one of the many of delights of being a 21st century kid. Give them a copy of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and follow them up with the spectacular animated films as an added treat.
Imagination running wild
At 8, I had decided I was going to become a detective and solve crimes all over the world? All thanks to the Nancy Drews that were stacked by the dozens in my school's library. I also think that my 'if a boy can do it, so can I' belief stems from my childhood icon's heroics. A must-read for overactive imaginations.
Warning: be prepared for conspiracy theories for every missing spoon and fork, though!
Rudyard Kipling, need we say more?
We almost forgot about them until we spotted a copy of the Jatake Tales on a shelf hidden away at the back of a bookstore! We can't think of a better way to combine history, culture and moral values. Panchatantra, some historians say, dates back to 13th century India. These stories travelled to the West and around the world, with local versions in Persian and Arabic. They spread as Jataka Tales in South-East Asia and have influenced dozens of stories in the very famous Aesop's Fables from Greece.
It broke my heart the day I realised that buttered scones and ginger beer were never going to be my staple evening snack. It was hard to look at samosas as a treat after the lavish tea parties that Enid Blyton's characters were hosting. But there's more to the world than the US and UK. Let's show our kids that!
For You are a Kenyan Child
An award-winning, fabulously-told and superbly illustrated story book about a Kenyan boy and his adventures in his village. It is one of the best descriptions of the wonder and joy with which children approach new experiences. There's a lesson to be learnt for us adults too, from the book.
Yasmin's home in the village is ravaged by floods and she moves to the city to look for work. This one's a gritty tale based on real-life stories of two kids in Dhaka. Take the opportunity to show your kids Yasmin's home, Bangladesh, on the Atlas, and the other countries that live next door.
We hope you're out shopping for these books right now. Have fun at the bookstore! Saw something you like? Share it with other parents on yowoto. And tell us your kid's favourites, we'd like to file that information away for future reference!