8 desi books to read to your children

Here are some desi or desi influenced books you can read to your children so they stay connected.

Raising children in a culture away from the one you grew up in can be hard. It’s hard to connect with kids when they are first generation and you yourself are an immigrant trying to figure out how to keep your kids culturally connected which allowing them to experience a new culture.

Here are some desi or desi influenced books you can read to your children so they stay connected.

Bharat Babies

Bharat Babies is a collection of books written for a Southeast Asian audience with books like ‘Amal’s Ramadan’, ‘Ganesh and the Little Mouse’, and ‘Hanuman Moves a Mountain’. The books aim to help children understand their culture as well as mythological stories that are accompanied with pictures to illustrate the different concepts. If you’ve got children infants through elementary school, these are the books for you.

The Mahabharata – A child’s view

Regardless of your culture, the Mahabharata is an epic tale filled with war, revenge, love, honor, and many adventures. This book was written by Samhita Arni and is told through the perspective of an eleven year-old, so it is accessible to children of various ages. If you really want to continue your Mahabharata adventures, there are several other television programs that air on your local Indian television station.

Am I Small?

This Nepalese novel is written in both English and Nepali and follows Tamia, a small child who meets magical creatures in her quest to discover if she’s small. The novel thrills with magical creatures and while it doesn’t explore a history it is bilingual which can encourage your children to learn both languages side by side. It’s available on Amazon with other books that are similar.

Mukand and Riaz

This story is set during the partition between India and Pakistan in 1947. The book features best friends Mukand and Riaz who play games together and visit their local bakery. This picture book depicts loss, friendship, and the effects of the partition.

We, the Children of India

This book teaches the preamble of the Indian Constitution to children and was written by the former Chief Justice Leila Seth. It caters to children 10-13 which encompasses elementary and middle school. If you’re feeling patriotic, this is the book for you.

Barefoot Husain

This book features Husain who has lost his shoes. He meet Jai who offers to help him find his shoes. The two end up on a crazy journey who end up traveling through milestones of Husain’s life. It’s an easy magical read that’s perfect for children 9 years-old and up.

Sita’s Ramayana

‘Sita’s Ramayana’ is Ramayana told through Sita’s perspective, a unique lens on a famous story that is perpetually told through a male perspective. Ramayana is another epic that can be told to anyone from any culture and features great adventures, love, war, loss, and triumph. This book tells that story from the viewpoint of someone who was abducted and eventually rescued.

King for a Day

King for a Day is set during Basant- a spring festival that features the battle of the kites. This book introduces young readers to a festival that has existed for centuries and tell the tale through children who compete for the win. It’s perfect for teaching children about a culture and the history regardless of your own culture if you’re not South Asian.

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