We’re so lucky! This time we met in the bright and cheerful bookstore itself. We sat in a circle surrounded by exciting books in many languages and for sure it was inspiring. Apart from sharing a few excerpts from the well-loved and must-read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, we also discovered that some people have learned to ‘talk’ to bees. You and I can’t do it and it’s best we leave bees well alone, but people like Mr Ramaiah in The Bee Master by Lata Mani (illustrated by Priyankar Gupta) are experts in handling bees. They are the ones to call when you discover a bee hive in your home.
The best part of the interaction, though, was the discussion around Can’t Stop Cody. We had a good laugh about the dramatic ending of the book where Cody shows how smart he is by helping to catch some thieves and doing something else quite clever as well, but we’re not spilling beans here, read the book yourself! Advait’s allergic to dogs but thanks to Cody he’s got permission to have a pet: a fish! Yay! Advait also said he only likes books with pictures – now that’s a discussion for another day.
‘Can I also say what I didn’t like about the book?’ Tulika asked. It’s a free country, right, and we can say what we like provided we are able to substantiate what we say. That is, we are able to communicate clearly and convincingly why we say what we say. So, after sharing all the fun things Tulika said she was upset by the fact that the story was set in San Francisco.
‘Why should things in books always happen somewhere else?’ she asked. ‘That’s because the author lives there,’ pointed out Hajara and showed the evidence on the back of the book. ‘So what if the story is set in San Francisco?’ said Aleena. ‘Besides, the climate probably suits Cody, the Pointer,’ pointed out some others. ‘There’s too much traffic here, and no parks…’ Remember, Cody loves to go wild in the park with the other dogs!
Tulika said that they all had to write stories in their class once, and everybody set their stories in places abroad. No story was set in an Indian city or town, although they were all Indian kids sitting in classroom in a school in Chennai, doing a story-writing project. ‘Frankly, I don’t like that,’ she said.
We talked about this a bit and decided to write to the authors of Can’t Stop Cody, Abhay Prasad and Nanditta Chibber, to ask them why, and what they thought about this question. Of course, our Talk Abouters will first get permission from their parents to write the letter, and then we’ll see. What do YOU think about this question that was raised at our book club?
On another note, Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, I know you’re worried about your child’s school work and exams. But reading will help your child do better, apart from providing loads of fun. And it can be fun for you too.
How about you and your child read a few pages of a book together every day? Choose a time that works for you. You could take turns reading aloud. Bedtime is a good time, that’s when you’re relaxed because you’re winding down. What better way to go to sleep than on the wings of imagination?