Happy Diwali 2018: It’s that time of the year again and an opportunity to tell your children some enchanting stories from the epic Ramayana, which is made up of interesting characters. Here are some book recommendations.
Since Valmiki’s version of Ramayana needs maturity to be understood, Rama and the Demon King by Jessica Souhami is a lighter version of the same. It focusses on moral values, which are easy to grasp. Also, the book comprises of some captivating illustrations, inspired by shadow puppetry, to get children hooked to the story.
Our children must be acquainted with customs and culture of India. Amma Tell Me about Diwali explains the festival through a beautifully illustrated book. It’s part of a series of 10 books, which comprises stories of the Ramayana, Holi, Diwali, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman, etc.
Junior Kumbhakarna is seen through the eyes of a young boy Kukku, who wants to hear the story of Kumbhakarna again and again, from his father. The child falls asleep listening to the story of the giant, who is demon king Ravana’s brother and believes in eat, sleep and repeat. The book has remarkable illustrations to highlight the fun storyline, where an entire kingdom tries their best to wake up the sleeping giant.
Shadow puppetry is among the oldest art forms. Through this book, Lights for the Blue Prince, who is Lord Rama, prince of Ayodhya, Soumya S Iyer throws the light on the entire epic Ramayana, in an easy manner. Trust us, this is one of the most interesting ways for kids to know the epic story.
Devdutt Pattanaik is well-known for his books which excite children and adults alike. The story highlights the fact that every epic has many storytellers and each has their own perspective. When Valmiki completes his epic masterpiece Ramayana, he is devastated to discover that Hanuman has his own version of Ramayana, which is better. So, he sets out on a journey to find Hanuman and listen to his version. The illustrations, in the Mithila folk tradition, are magical.
A fascinating tale, Rama Fights Tataka retold by Aparna Nambiar, takes us through the childhood days of Lord Rama and his brothers. It is a compilation of short stories that familiarises children with the Ramayana. The power and bond of brothers are highlighted well in the book, which focuses on how a young Rama fights demon Tataka, who is a menace for sage Vishwamitra.
We all focus on reading Valmiki’s version of Ramayana. However, we must realise that Ramayana has a lot of narratives and tales which merit our attention equally. The Girl Who Chose focusses on Sita’s version of viewing the world and making choices. Devdutt Pattanaik makes Sita, the queen who was abducted by demon king Ravava, the protagonist, to tell her side of the story.
Narrated by Sita, it shows us a woman’s perspective in a story where the protagonists are men, who decide the fate of kingdoms. Sita is not a mere observer or victim, but decides to challenges her destiny. The illustrations have been doen by Patua scroll artist Moyna Chitrakar.
Jatinder Verma narrates the epic in his own style. Prince of Fire: The Story of Diwali is yet another version of Ramayana, where the all-powerful Ravana finally gets defeated by Lord Rama and his monkey army. It glorifies the grandeur of Lord Rama, who sets out to save the honour of Sita, who has been kidnapped by Ravana. It ends with their return to Ayodhya, marking the celebration of Diwali.
Those who are well-versed with Ramayana must remember the brave role of Jatayu, while Ravana abducts Sita. A devotee of Lord Rama, the old vulture fights courageously but fails. Even after getting wounded, he helps Lord Rama by guiding him in the direction of Ravana.