This year, Indian children’s book publisher Katha broke new ground by publishing three fabulous feminist picture books that told great stories. My daughter and I sat and read these and one thing struck us. These books are great for both boys and girls! They give beautiful messages about diverse life and career choices, not to mention different kinds of families and people. Don’t miss these three amazing feminist picture books from Katha!

Abba’s Day

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Ever since my daughter was born, I really wanted to read to her an Indian picture book about a stay-at-home dad. Well, here it is! What I love about Abba’s Day is that it ‘shows’ and doesn’t ‘tell.’ The book begins with Aaisha. Her father wakes her up on Sunday morning, which is her favorite day. He asks her what they will do that day. They wake up and make tea for Aaisha’s mother, a working mom. “It’s Ammi’s holiday too!” says Aaisha, excitedly. The entire book is a simple, fun and endearing narrative about a lazy Sunday. What strikes you though is the natural gender reversal. Aaisha’s dad does the grocery, makes the food and pretty much takes charge of the house. Another thing that both my daughter and I loved about this book was the little clues to the family that the illustrations have. Sunaina Ali is such a masterful writer that with simple words, she naturalizes this gender reversal.

Buy Now:  Amazon India

Choo…mantar!

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In the village of Bhopali, there lives a young girl named Jivuba who loves to sing. She wants to make it her profession but knows that her parents have only one plan for her — to get her married. She goes to Dammu, the wise Aspara of the forest, and asks for help. Dammu then casts a spell that makes all the parents in the village forget about the word ‘marriage!’ Then a miraculous thing happens — parents all over Bhopali encourage their daughters to be doctors, singers, and even carpenters. All the girls study and do remarkably well. Then one day, a visitor comes to the village, says the word ‘marriage’ and breaks the spell. But something amazing happens to the town of Bhopali.

Intrigued? You must read this book to find out. A picture book that brings in cooperative societies, farming and irrigation into its pages, my daughter and I loved every minute of Choo…mantar!  The questions at the end? It will ignite your child’s thought process. Feminist picture books should be this awesome!

Buy Now:  Amazon India

One’s Own, Yet Different

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This story is about Aatibai and her granddaughter, Banu. Banu loves listening to Aatibai’s stories about her childhood.

“When I was just about your age, I couldn’t pronounce the word ‘desk’ properly. I would say ‘deks’ instead.”
“Deks!” Banu repeats and bursts into peals of laughter.”

One’s Own Yet Different explores the loving relationship between a grandma and her granddaughter. Through Banu’s antics and constant questions, Aatibai remembers her own daughter (and Banu’s mother) Sunanda, who also asks questions. Aatibai, though, never remembers asking questions when she was married away as a little girl. Then one day, Aatibai tells Banu that since her mother Sunanda is married to another, she is an outsider. Banu is gutted and asks Aatibai a question that stuns her. The best part about this book? The powerful little scenes between the grandma and granddaughter! This is such a vital family connection, isn’t it?

Buy Now:  Amazon India

Katha’s books tell lovely stories. They are filled with the sights, sounds and smells of life in India and Indian families. Above all, they make children think beyond their gender.

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