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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1, 2, 3 I Love Chennai

1, 2, 3 is a first of its kind counting book based on Chennai conceptualised by Rupa Jacob. 

What does the word Chennai conjure? 

The very long Marina beach?

Beautiful and complex architecture of South Indian Temples?

Dancing...Bharatnatyam to be precise!

Aromatic Degree Coffee served in its unique container!

Beatifully and intricately woven, brightly coloured Kanjeevaram Silk Sarees!

And all this and more will be found in this unique, one of a kind book by Rupa Jacob. 

Each number is associated with one concept and has a colourful original photograph by Shaun d'Sa and therefore makes the number association for young children very strong, as we know that kids learn using photographic memory.

This counting picture book also teaches about the history of Chennai to curious kids. 

There is a lovely 2 pager on the history of various Chennai monuments and specialities as depicted in the book. 

And towards the end there is an activity that children would enjoy. A sticker fun activity that matches the picture to the number. 

All in all it is a complete book that can be read aloud to children in a story session too especially because each page has a large scope of activity and story or word building session that can be done around it.

I can envision children talking about a day on the beach or the various ways one can enjoy a dosa or dancing a few simple Bharatnatyam steps thereby making it a complete all round activity session.

A note of interest on the author- Rupa Jacob is the co founder of The Science Factory, a science enrichment program for primary children, in Chennai.

Title- 1, 2, 3 I Love Chennai
Author- Rupa Jacob
Price- Rs 499
Publisher- Rupa Jacob
Photography- Shaun D'Sa
Buy it at or at Pappadams  
Age Group- 1-3 Years

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our Bodies - Taking Care of the Private Parts

It should be the easiest thing in the world to talk to our children. About various things under the sun. Perhaps as parents, we are able to satisfactorily answer most of the questions that he children throw our way. But the most crucial and the most important aspect that a parent must cover for the children are the basics of our bodies. And parents postpone is as much as possible. 

I have seen a lot of books on children's safety and how to behave in dangerous situations but I was yet to see a compete, well illustrated book on good touch and bad touch, explaining how the bodies of girls and boys are different.

It is important to introduce children slowly and surely to the concept of safety and the basic differences between boys and girls.  And it is important for parents to be matter of fact and direct about the entire process and perhaps that requires a good deal of preparation on the part of the parent to be ready to impart sex education without feeling shifty or embarrassed about it.

Also it is important to not make a big deal about it and make it a topic which can be spoken in as generic manner as perhaps asking the children about how was their day.

Has anyone touched your bum or tried to kiss you on the lips?

What shuld you do if you do not like someone touching you? 

Whom should you tell? 

Simple and straightforward.

Shruti Singhal's book Our Bodies is a well illustrated book about teaching children about their private parts and the fundamental difference between a girl's body and a boy's. It goes on to talk about good touches and bad touches and how they make the children feel. Whether it makes them feel uncomfortable, dirty or happy and loved. 

It talks of saying Stop, No, I will tell the moment one feels uncomfortable. 

The narrative leads the readers to understand that while some aspects of the bodies are same, their are some parts are different and it is important to know why and what purpose they serve. 

I took the children through the book and I agree that some of the illustrations made me a shade bit uncomfortable and perhaps it could have been done in a better way.  It was perhaps a new thing for the children too and perhaps we did a little growing up together while going through he book because with the second and third reading, after the initial discomfort was taken care of, it became easier. For it was the first time I was using a book to take them through this. 

Title- Our Bodies Taking Care of The Private Parts
Author and Illustrator- Shruti Singhal
Age Group- 5 upwards
Publisher- XYZ Publications

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ranganna The Elephant Who Loved Colours

Ranganna is a cute blue coloured baby elephant who lives on the dhobi ghat.

He loves colours in all forms, colours of the rainbow, the colourful clothes laid out to dry on the dhobi ghat and the colorful flowers around him.

Two little girls often come to play with him and he is fascinated by their colourful clothes and also their pretty painted nails.

On a whim, he decided that he wished to apply nailpolish too and this seemed too strange for the little girls, however not impossible.

Did Ranganna get to apply nailpolish on his nails?
What colour did he choose among the array of pretty colours?

The book, true to its subject is a riot of colours. A small town diaspora complete with dhobi ghat, temple and the populace is recreated in the illustrations and the story.

Arthi in her unique style churns out this delightful and simple tale of colours and their vibrancy through the loving elephant Ranganna. The language is simple and lucid.

Kavita Singh Kale's illustrations are magical and well defined as usual.

The expressions are well captured from ecstasy of Ranganna upon seeing the delightful colours and shy yet covet looks when he spoke his heart's desire to get his toes painted.

I happened to read both the English and Hindi versions and found that the translation did not affect the flow of the story at all.

Title- Ranganna
Author- Arthi Anand Navaneeth
Illustrator- Kavita Singh Kale
Translated in Hindi by- Sushma Ahuja
Price- Rs 135
Publisher- Tulika

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nuga Gama Back to Our roots

Nuga Gama or the big Banyan tree is symbolic of ancient knowledge and revelation and is like the hot seat of all activities in a village.
In the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, they have re created the traditional Sri Lankan village with all detailing of a village reproduced in the most authentic fashion. This includes a pond and a vegetable patch complete with a scarecrow, the traveler's resting place, the village dwelling with traditional implements and tools and thatched roof and a two century old enormous banyan tree under which there was a tender coconut stall.

As soon as you enter the village, there is a wicker gate and a narrow pathway lit up with fire torches and a traditional bullock cart on one side. The village also has a mock village shop with a banana bunch, jars of sweets, cup cakes on open trays, artifacts, brooms etc set up to create the authentic feel of a shop. There are pouches of detergents and shampoos hanging from the roof and one gets a feel of being part of a proper village.

The menu is  traditional Sri Lankan fare and the same is served in clay utensils. The main course is accompanied by a range of sambals and chutneys and a traditional sri lankan village woman makes coconut rotis and string hoppers on the side. The desserts are authentic Sinhala and the servers dress up in traditional village style.

In the end, they served us yummy ginger tea with palm jaggery.

There was a music troupe that was performing enchanting music and included even popular Hindi numbers.

I asked for a leaflet on the village and was rewarded with a comprehensive one with the traditional names of all structures and the history about them.

The photographs, unfortunately were taken on my mobile camera and are not much to speak of.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A pretty kolam

Made with rice grains and bird seed
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Health In Your Hands - Sponsored Video

The first step to health and wellness is keeping your hands clean squeaky clean and more importantly germ free. There are products that clean and there are products that kill germs. But one product that does both is Lifebuoy hand wash. The one stop solution to germ free hands that is also quick acting.

Worldwide, a child dies every second due to diarrhoea or pneumonia, diseases that are totally preventable by performing the most basic hygiene function like hand washing.

The hand washing initiative from Lifebuoy intends tic hange the hand washing habits of children and parents across the country. It aims to prevent the deaths of children under 5 years that happen every year in India due to preventable diseases. 

It is only ideal that India's largest selling health brand takes this essential step and trains young parents and children the importance of hand washing for hygiene.
The campaign has adopted Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh with one of the highest rates of diarrhoea to inculcate handwashing habits.
Lifebuoy hand wash is available in Freshness inducing and health cueing fragrances and in red and blue colours. They also have a unique colour changing variant in green that changes colour once the germs get killed. The visible and interactive product makes hand washing a fun thing to do. The product is available in economical refill packs and also convenient dispenser bottles.
Lifebuoy also has their famous soaps in multiple colours that could serve the dual purpose of hand washing and bathing for a complete, healthy and refreshing bath experience. There is a Lifebuoy for every occasion and every person in your home.
Go on, buy a hand wash and help teach your child the importance of hand washing.
You can help Unilever contribute in more ways towards the hand washing campaign.
To help more children reach the age of 5, Kajol is urging people to donate to handwashing programmes. The donations can be made online and the proceeds from the donations will go to Population Services International (PSI), a leading health organization for implementing handwashing programmes.
For every donation made Lifebuoy will match the donation amount for its handwashing programmes. Lifebuoy will also donate 1 rupee to handwashing programmes every time the 'Help a Child Reach 5' video is shared online. 

Watch the video to know more on the campaign.

This post has been sponsored by Lifebuoy.

Check out Lifebuoy's website

For more information, visit 
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