Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Discussing Disability

Reading Catch That Cat with children with special needs

Archana Joshi, the co-founder of Ekadaksha Center, on seeing a write up about Catch That Cat in The Hindu (dated Jan 2014) asked me if I’d be willing to do a story telling session at her school. Ekadahsha, in Mandeveli, is a four year venture aimed at educating children with autism and learning disabilities. Having worked with differently-abled children before, I looked forward to a session with these students. I must admit here, that a part of me was interested in knowing what they made of a book about a girl who faces challenges on a day to day basis, and how she makes use of her “disability” to help a friend.  

Aware that meeting someone for the first time might prove to be a challenge for some of the kids, I offered to visit the school a day before the scheduled book reading. I also figured that having an idea of my audience was a really good idea. I admit I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I reached Ekadaksha.
Of the fifteen students there, only one or two of them were verbal. Some of the boys in the senior struggled to communicate what they had done over the weekend, even as one cried piteously because he missed his grandmother. Story telling was going to be way more difficult than I had imagined! I was also a bit taken aback when one of the teachers – in an attempt to be helpful, I’m sure – told me not to worry if her students didn’t follow the story. “Usually we do one story over a week,” she added. All the activities I had planned instantly vanished from my mind. I was struck by the irony of it all – telling a story about being differently-abled to a class who struggled to communicate their own differences and difficulties.

Regardless, I was determined to give the kids at Ekadaksha a story telling session that they would enjoy. But I was at a loss as to how to do so. That evening, I spoke to V. Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha. I explained to him that I have never handled such highly autistic kids before. How was I to tell them a story if I was unable to communicate with them? Bala, having worked with children with special needs before, suggested incorporate sounds and music into my story. Indeed, studies have shown that children with autism respond better to play or therapy sessions with music than to sessions without music. Since music is not my forte, I focussed on sounds and worked on retelling Catch That Cat with as many new sounds and actions as possible.

When the day of the story telling session dawned, I was much less nervous that I ought to have been. Seated in a circle, we talked about dogs and cats, and the different sounds the animals make. Then, I went on to tell them – with sounds and actions and pictures – the story of Kaapi the cat, and how he got rescued by Dip Dip.

The response was overwhelming. Not only did the boys in the circle really enjoy the story, but they also repeated the sounds and did the actions with me. One of the boys got carried away and even told the story with me! I realised something that day and I was rather surprised that it hadn’t struck me before: disability is in the eyes of the viewer. Everyone is capable of understanding and following even the most complex streams of thought. We just need to find a medium that is best suited to our needs.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Big Tulika Summer Haul

Cash on Delivery is back in Bengaluru!  

So hook some books this summer and stock up because we've got books for EVERYBODY!
  • for libraries to stock for next academic session
  • for resource centres and libraries for summer holidays
  • for families in gated communities and apartment complexes for sharing with neighbours
  • for summer camp activity ideas
Take a quick peek into the packages we're offering:

Package 1- Baby Bahadur series 

Package 2 - Nandini Nayar Special: Guddu's Photo, What shall I make?, Pranav's Picture, Where is Amma?, My Grandfather's Stick)

Package 3 - Water related picture books: The Red Umbrella, Satya's boat, Let's catch the rain, Raindrops, Boondi's Story: Water

Package 4 - Paperback titles: Water Stories from Around the World Little Indians, Read Aloud Stories

Package 5 - Picture books: Junior Kumbhakarna, Rooster Raga, Tsomo and the Momo, Little Laali, Catch that cat!

Package 6  - Counting and alphabets - Hey! That's an A!, Let's go!

Package 7 - Gandhi package - My Gandhi Scrapbook, Picture Gandhi, My Gandhi Story

Package 8 - Looking at art series

Package 9 - First Look Science Series and Jagadish and the talking plant

Package 10 - Picture puzzle books: I am different, World Tour Mystery and We are different

We offer FREE delivery for orders above Rs 500/-.

Write to with your order details. Happy reading!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Leading Reading Schools of India Award winners

Young India Books organised a nationwide competition called the Leading Reading Schools of India. The schools were given a list of recommended books from which children were invited to write a review, illustrate a scene, design a book cover or create a game or puzzle based on a book.

We were very impressed with the entries for Tulika books! Here they are at a glance:

GAMES - Senior category

 2nd Prize: Awarded to Karina Samani, a student of Aga Khan School, Chitravad, for Advaita

ILLUSTRATIONS - Junior Category

1st Prize awarded to Ayana Shah, a student of Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai, for The Why-Why Girl

2nd Prize awarded to Vedant Doshi, a student of Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai, for Advaita

3rd Prize awarded to Taarini Gurjar, a student of Bombay International School, Mumbai, for The Sweetest Mango and jointly with, Simran Khatri, a student of Arya Vidya Mandir, Bandra West, Mumbai, for Mukand and Riaz

2nd prize
awarded to Mamata Jalgaonkar, from Muktangan, Mumbai, for Putul and the Dolphins

3rd prize awarded to Shreya Punjabi, a student of Arya Vidya Mandir, Juhu; Mumbai, for Mayil Will Not Be Quiet!

“Appa gave me this notebook saying I should write every single day. He said that I could talk non- stop in it and give everyone's ears a rest! In this book I'm going to write about everything I think of and nobody's going to ask me to keep quiet.”

Ever asked your teacher why King Dasharatha didn't want a daughter? Ever punched a boy in the face? Ever had an annoying little brother steal your doll? Well, Mayil has!

Take a peek into Mayil Ganeshan's ordinary but not- so- ordinary life. She paints a vivid and delightful painting of her family, and transports us into the world of a young pre- teen girl with all the complexes and problems that we have while growing up. The way she describes her grandfather's love for her grandmother, is truly touching. Her relationship with her brother perfectly sums up sibling rivalry, with a touch of love. Her mother's character is a very understanding one, perfected with wonderful parenting skills- the way she understands just what Mayil is feeling, and gives her her own space just when she needs it.

Crushes, disappointments and friendship problems- this book is an all in one. Everything from Mayil's random thoughts about the boy she likes to the incidents that disturb or upset her are in here. Family issues, such as her father losing his job, and friendship issues, such as breaking friendship with her best friend, are all a part of Mayil's life. She describes her complexes about not looking pretty enough and not having nice hair. She does things like sneaking for a movie without telling her parents, trying on some Fair and Lovely cream, taking french lessons and making her very own game. This book is a perfect bundle of emotions that a pre-teen/ teenager might experience.

More than anything, this diary is a step towards her becoming 'Mayilwriter' and completing all the stories she never never managed to finish. She jots down some of her stories in her diary, and her imagination is wonderful. It makes you want to fly away with her into a land where the first people on earth were called 'Maaa' and 'Baaa', and God is a giant chicken who lays eggs everywhere!

Mayil's entries are truly hilarious and the drawing that top them them off just make me want to laugh more! The way she titles her entries! From 'Ma Rocks my Socks' to 'Marshmallows and MSG', they were all great. Plus, the double and single underlining to emphasize on the words, and the mention of 'Bama Vijayam' and 'Nilambhari' make it so authentic that you can perfectly imagine being Mayil. Hilarious sentences and amazing illustrations, make it a great read. So, open the book and listen to Mayil, for now she will not keep quiet!

1st Prize awarded to Krusha, a student of Abacus, Chennai, for Gulla and the Hangul
“ I liked the starting of the story and the drawings. And I liked the houses but I felt bad when the earthquake came and destroyed the village. And when Gulla went to the forest to save a deer from the wild dogs. And in the morning the deer turned into a sheen (the Spirit of the Eternal Snow) and the deer was near the sheen and the sheen asked to the boy to ask a wish and the boy asked that there should be no more earthquake in the village, And that’s what made me happy. “

3rd Prize awarded to Isha Karwa, a student of Bombay International School, Mumbai, for Putul And The Dolphins


“This story is about a girl named Putul. She lived next to the Ganga. One day she was waiting for her father to come back from town, suddenly she heard a squeak and so she looked and saw there was a flood of dolphins that entered their hut. She told her mother. Her mom was happy and said: Soon we’ll get to eat the dolphins for breakfast. On the other hand Putul liked the dolphins and she tried to shoo them away saying: Baba will kill you. Go now. They were about to leave when guess what happened? Putul’s mother scolded her and put rice in the water. The dolphins started eating. So Putul made squeaking noises and went out in the current, she was followed by the dolphins. But she was about to drown. Her head was half way in the water. That must have been scary don’t you think? But Putul was rescued by the dolphins and was brought to land safely from that day on the people never killed dolphins. And I hope people never kill living creatures again.”

This last review was by
Simran Khatri who won 3rd prize for her cover design of Mukand and Riaz

"I liked the book because it spoke about true friendship.They author of the book showed that true friends never forget each other though they are apart. The author (Nina Sabnani) has written this emotional an interesting book about true friendship. I didn't like the part where Mukand got a fracture because it reminded me of my accident, but otherwise it was a great book."