The famous Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori once said, “Play is the work of the child”.
For young children, play is natural. Therefore, play-based learning feels natural to them too. Thus, play-rich environments become the single most important learning environment in early childhood education. For more about play-based learning and its benefits, read our article on How Children Learn Through Play.
Today’s article shows how everyday items can be turned into playtime resources for foundational skill development.
*These games can be played in home or school environments.
Name: Seven Stones (Lagori) Nature: Outdoor game; needs more than two players History of the game: Lagori is an ancient Indian game—at least 5000 years old—that is now played in many countries around the globe. Skills developed: Counting, fine and gross motor skills, strategy, teamwork
Name: Four Stones (Nalugu Rallu Aata) Nature: Outdoor game; needs five players History of the game: Another ancient Indian game, Four Stones was played in many rural districts of Andhra Pradesh until the 1960s and 1980s. Unfortunately, the popularity of this game has waned over the years. The origins of this game are also a mystery. Skills developed: Communication (verbal and non-verbal), strategy, team spirit, social behaviour, reflexes, gross motor skills
Name: Chain (Sakli) Nature: Outdoor game; needs more than two players History of the game: The rules of this game probably evolved from the Western game ‘Tag’. Labelled ‘Chain Tag’ in English, Sakli is listed as a ‘traditional outdoor game on the verge of extinction’ by multiple sources. Skills developed: Alertness, patience, caring, social emotional development, gross motor skills
Name: Hopping (Langdi Taang or Langdi) Nature: Outdoor or indoor game; can be played individually (by asking children to ‘catch’ a hidden toy or object) History of the game: Langdi originated during the Pandya Dynasty—also called the Pandyas of Madurai—from 6th to 14th Century C.E. Back then, this sport was called ‘Nondiyaattam’. Sports players consider Langdi to be the foundation of all sports, and the official field sport version is very useful when training for sports like kho kho, volleyball, and gymnastics. Skills developed: Gross motor skills, balance, strengthen legs, small and large muscle development
Name: Five Stones Nature: Indoor game; can be played individually History of the game: This game appears in multiple civilizations since ancient times. Played by children globally, this game has many names — ashyk, jjagebatgi, anju kal, five stones, jackstones, etc. The Indian version of the game usually uses stones, although any similar sized object will suffice. After all, the Ancient Greek version of the game was played using the ankle bones of the sheep (these were called ‘knuckle bones’). *Recommended for older children aged 5-10. Skills developed: Dexterity, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, helps in focusing
Name: Tossing A Paper Ball Nature: Indoor game; needs more than two players History of the game: We do not know when paper began being used as replacements for balls, but the game of tossing a paper ball has proven effects in the classroom, with multiple modifications as per the age of the students’. Online Modification: Children can create paper balls, and toss them at the screen, in the direction of their classmates, while naming any one. That child then repeats this motion, and the game moves on until each child has a chance to call out a classmate’s name. Skills developed: Fine motor skills, memory retention, gross motor skills
Multiple research studies over the years have proven the efficacy of play in enhancing social and emotional development—apart from other foundational skills—in early childhood. Hear Square Panda Thursdays host and early years’ stalwart, Ms. Sonia Relia, speak about how play enhances these skills. As Ms. Relia says, “The day you cannot play with your students is the day you stop working in early years.”
Watch this space for more ECCE-related resources, activities, and educational content. Learn more about Square Panda’s experiential play-based foundational program, at https://ecce.squarepanda.in/program.
Well before infants can understand any words, for example, they find speech interesting to listen to, and prefer it to other kinds of sounds (Shultz & Vouloumanos, 2010).
Phonics, at its very core, is the method applied to teach people how to read and write an alphabetic language using sounds.
Phonics has been around for a long time, and is one of the most recommended methods of teaching in schools, especially in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). In fact, American President Benjamin Franklin even attempted to create his own alphabet to replace the existing one.
This article answers the most common questions about phonics and related terms, its use in Indian schools, and how it can be used in the classroom.
What does the term ‘phonics’ actually mean?
Phonics helps teachers and educators develop reading skills in children by linking sounds in a language to the letters and words that represent them. Phonics instruction has a profound impact on young learners’ brains and studies have even shown its effectiveness over other teaching methods.
What are some common terms related to phonics?
Phonological Awareness: This is the awareness of the sound structure of any language. Children can recognise and work with any sound of the spoken language once they develop phonological awareness. For e.g., they can pick out words that rhyme, break up a sentence into words, and more.
Phonemic Awareness: This is the ability to notice and work with individual sounds (or phonemes) in spoken language. For e.g., blending sounds to make words, breaking up words into individual sounds, and more.
Why is phonics so important in early childhood?
Sounding out words becomes easier: Phonics breaks down words into components, helping children ‘read’. Over time, they can even recognise patterns in words and automatically learn to read them correctly.
Links sounds and letters: As the phonics method uses sounds to link to respective letters or letter groups, children know exactly which sound should be produced for each letter or letter group, making the reading process simpler.
Long words become easier to read: Unlike when children learn a language via complete words, phonics breaks down longer words into individual sounds. Young children eventually learn to break down (and read) any long word into sounds even if they do not understand its meaning.
Children gain secondary skills: While phonics primarily aims to develop the reading skill, children also simultaneously learn to think logically (as they read words they don’t understand), and pick up writing skills (during spelling-related phonics exercises).
Why must we ‘teach’ sounds?
Even as children automatically pick up sounds since birth, they are not completely equipped to process the information on their own. For example, children would not automatically know that ‘MAT’ and ‘MAP’ begin with the same sound, or that ‘PAN’ and ‘DAD’ have the same sound of ‘a’. This suggests that children need to know how sounds map to a written system, and for this, they need explicit phonics instruction.
Why not simply teach children to read? Won’t that help them map sounds to written words?
Being read to is another crucial aspect of foundational learning, but it cannot replace phonics instruction. A study by Evans & Saint-Aubin in 2005 showed that as children were being read to from a storybook, they spent much longer looking at pictures than reading the words or text. It is not realistic to expect young children to learn much about mapping sounds and written words simply from being read to.
How does phonics work in Indian languages?
Most Indian languages are ‘pure phonic languages’, i.e., the word sounds exactly like it is written. Plus, every sound has a specific written representation which does not change. For example, Hindi and Marathi use a Devanagari script, and the sound of each alphabet in this language is distinctly different. अ remains the same pronunciation, whether the word is अनार or अक्षर.
While only a small percentage of Indian schools focus on phonics and related activities at present, this method of instruction has been highly recommended for ECCE in the recently released NIPUN document and the National Education Policy (or NEP 2020), for all languages.
Can phonics be included as a small part of each lesson?
Sounds are already a part of every lesson, and there are quick tricks educators and teachers can use to leverage this for a revision lesson. For example, after a story session, children can count the syllables in each word, they can rhyme with numbers (one-sun), and even simply sound out letters they have learnt previously.
Can parents also help with phonics instruction?
The home environment is crucial to develop holistic foundational skills, say experts. The role of parents in fostering their children’s development is twofold: they introduce children to sound, and play a crucial part in reinforcing teachers’ instructions. Parents can be given a list of words and stories introduced in school, which they can repeat with the children during daily chores and activities. Parents can also ask questions about further letter sound knowledge, like ‘What is the beginning sound of this word?’ or ‘What is the last letter in this word, and what sound does it make?’ Parents unfamiliar with the language can listen to songs and rhymes in the language of instruction with their children, and encourage their little ones to sing along.
What sort of activities can help children develop phonemic awareness?
Simple letter identification activities can be turned into phonic games, by asking children to also sound out the letter. In the same way, sorting activities can be grouped as per rhymes, syllables, beginning sounds, and more. You can even group children in pairs for a ‘partner reading’ exercise, where one child reads a small text and the other closely copies the first. They can then switch roles, helping each other when they stumble.
Learn how to turn even the simplest of items into a learning resource for phonics and language development in next week’s Square Panda Thursday’s webinar. Join the live session on July 29, at 5 pm: https://squarepanda.app.link/e/2907b
Phonics teaches children to be fluent in a language while reading. To be more efficient, this instruction needs to work hand-in-hand with vocabulary instruction and other types of learning for a well-rounded development. From an educational perspective, being able to predict the pronunciation of words using letter-sound knowledge is better than rote learning the pronunciation of all words.
A year ago, the pandemic drove education online, with educational institutions embracing online classes and digital learning in all its forms to deliver learning to their students. Schools and states adopted different means of reaching out to students; some sent home learning materials, others delivered learning via common messaging apps.
Education moved online, but children across various levels and ages in India continue to experience learning loss, particularly in early childhood education. A survey showed most parents are very worried about their young children losing out on essential development in these early years, and thus they are in favour of online schooling. 80% of parents surveyed said online preschooling delivered clear learning outcomes, and 75% of these parents would recommend online learning to their friends and families.
However, remote learning poses challenges even in suitable settings. Add to that a class full of fidgety young learners – those who choose to come at all – and this type of learning becomes harder to sustain.
To be successful, remote teaching and instruction needs to follow similar ideas as regular instruction: clarity, review, and checking for comprehension. At present, the guidelines to conduct online learning are as yet a work in progress. Even so, based on their experience this past year, multiple early education experts and educators have offered pointers on ways to help remote education be as effective as possible.
1) Changing The Mindset (of teachers, children, AND parents)
The very first challenge to online learning is getting children to show up for classes. With several preschools closing permanently, those still active report almost an 80% reduction in enrollment for the school year 2020-21. Parents who were once convinced about the importance of early learning might give preschool a miss now.
What is needed is a strong reminder about the priority of early education, especially for parents. Plus, to effectively guide this conversation, teachers and caregivers must first understand the nature and science of early learning and how it impacts a child’s future.
Once in the online classroom, teachers need to consider the socio-cultural circumstances of each student as they deliver instructions; they need to develop a structure, objectives, and teaching plans as per this. Establishing a routine and schedule can do wonders for children’s engagement. They learn to expect certain activities and games at certain times, and they feel confident because they know exactly what comes next.
Initiatives across Maharashtra, Odisha, and Chattisgarh have shown that dedicated efforts by governments, schools, educators, and Anganwadi workers can stave off some ill-effects of learning loss in early childhood. We can take inspiration from these efforts and replicate the same in our classrooms.
2) Remote Relationship-Building
Relationships are the bedrock of society, and, in early childhood education, are the basis upon which socio-emotional behaviour develops. Although physical bonding is ill-advised at the moment, educators can devise strategies that enhance bonding in online classes.
For a social connect, teachers can structure lesson plans that involve the formation of groups, as much as the curriculum allows. Children can be paired up for games and activities, or even simply to lend a helping hand to one another.
To further enhance this social emotional development, it is recommended to connect with the families too, and share a child’s achievements via weekly messages or a phone call. Rotate this responsibility among teachers so one person is not bearing all the burden.
3) Let Simplicity Guide Your Lesson Structure
Online learning offers reduced opportunities to gauge how instructions have been received by students. This makes simple instructions even more crucial to the classroom. Keep the language direct, the instructions uncomplicated, the explanations brief, and the expectations clear.
For reduced hassle, stick to simplicity in all decisions, whether they are logistical (which edtech app is the best to use) or substantive (is the new learning material clear enough).
4) Make Learning Interactive And Engaging
Student engagement is a common requirement in any early learning curriculum, but planning for such engagement is less so.
Just as in a physical classroom, young children need opportunities to develop all the foundational skills — motor skills, cognitive skills, reasoning, socio-emotional skills, foundational literacy and numeracy — in online classrooms too. Avoid conducting simpler reading and listening exercises; actively pepper your learning modules with quizzes, puzzles, and interactive question-and-answer sessions. These sessions act as review lessons, helping children retain their learning. Some teachers across India have taken the initiative and started recording small lessons before class. They then pause these at key moments to incorporate mini-games and play-based activities for higher engagement.
5) Humanise The Digital Space
Child-friendly spaces always have a colourful and fun theme, so why should an online classroom be any different?
If you use an online platform like ZOOM or Skype to teach, you can check if the background is customisable. Or, you can simply add a few little toys, colourful hand paintings, and even letter and number cutouts for a ‘classroom’ feel. This can be customised as per the age of your learners. Invite questions about the children’s background too (in case of live video lessons), and involve parents in creating fun learning spaces for children, so they exhibit more enthusiasm for learning.
Lessons via chat-messaging services can be enlivened by the use of emojis; recorded lessons can have some engaging anecdotes to add humour; physical resources for children can be repurposed (read: painted or reprinted) to add in pops of colour.
While incorporating each idea mentioned here might be challenging, bearing them in mind is prudent. As we learn more about how online learning works, these lessons can help us reach children in every corner of India, creating a truly literate future for our country.
See how Square Panda India can help you build a robust ECCE ecosystem in your state, district, or school: ecce.squarepanda.in
A child’s experience in this world is one of multisensory stimulation. It is likely that evolution itself supports optimal functioning in such an environment. While all children reach their developmental goals at different paces, research suggests multisensory learning is one of the most effective strategies to enhance the learning experience.
*About ‘Multisensory’ And ‘Multisensory Learning’: The term ‘multisensory’ means using more than one sense at a time, while ‘multisensory learning’ incorporates learning techniques that use multiple senses at the same time. For example: Adding audio or visual aids into teaching and assignments. Not every lesson does (or needs to) include each sense, but such an approach does require more than one sense to be stimulated at a time for better learning outcomes.
Multisensory activities are based on the concept of ‘whole brain learning’, which is the belief that the best way to teach concepts is to involve all areas of the brain. In his book, the Theory of Neuronal Group Selection (1987), American biologist Gerald Edelman wrote that more elaborate brain connections are formed with multisensory learning as compared to single sensory learning, greatly enhancing comprehension and retention. To learn more about connections in the brain and how they help with memory retention, consider reading how to help children retain learning.
Multisensory learning also proves effective to different types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, tactile learners, and physical or kinesthetic learners. This ensures multisensory instruction reaches every learner in the classroom.
To help children enhance their multisensory awareness, we curated simple multisensory learning activities that tie into early childhood education and can be easily incorporated into the classroom or home:
Note: Each activity can be used (and tweaked) depending on children’s learning levels and interests.
Activity Name: Handprint Birds
You Will Need:
Coloured pencils and/or crayons
Method: Paint children’s palms with one colour, and their fingers multiple colors like red, yellow, and green. Guide them to place their hands, palms down, on a sheet of white paper to create a handprint. On the thumb area, help them draw a beak using colored pencils or crayons. Draw an eye, a pair of feet, and you have a handprint bird! You can cut this out and make a sign or card, too.
Learning Outcomes: Fine motor skills, colour identification, creative exploration
Activity Name: Colored Corn Art
You Will Need:
1 cup of regular corn kernels
Containers for mixing food coloring (bowls, plastic cups, etc)
A sheet of paper
Method: Fill half the container(s) with water and add an equal amount of vinegar to it. Ask children to choose food coloring(s) of their choice, and mix them into the container(s). Then add in a small amount (about half a cup) of corn kernels and leave them to soak overnight. The next day, ask the children to dry the corn kernels with paper towels. Ask each child to get a glue stick, a sheet of paper, and some of the colored corn. Encourage them to use some creativity to make fun designs with the different colors! (Note: it’s easier to add glue to the sheet and then stick the corn to it.) Learning outcomes: Fine motor skills, socio-emotional development (patience), creativity
*Not recommended for younger children as there is a choking hazard.
Activity Name: Apple Basket Word Sort
You Will Need:
Red or green paper
Colored pencils or markers
Method: On apple-shaped cutouts (created by children from red and/or green paper), write CVC (i.e., consonant-vowel-consonant) words like MAP and HAT. Write as many words as the children can identify at their age. Mix up these ‘paper apples’ and place a basket in front of children. Call out the words at random and ask them to pick the right apple cutout and place it in the basket.
Modification: Repurpose this to enhance foundational numeracy skills; switch out the words for numbers.
Learning Outcomes: Vocabulary, colour identification, sorting, creativity, fine motor skills
*For online classes, you can ask parents to help you.
Activity Name: Popsicle Scarecrow
You Will Need:
Buttons, beads, threads, ribbons (for extra ‘decoration’)
Method: Ask children for help in protecting the garden. They need to make a popsicle person to scare away pests like crows and mynahs. Glue the narrow sides of 4-5 popsicle sticks side-by-side, to make the body. Break one popsicle in half to make the arms, and glue them lengthwise. Use two popsicle sticks as the legs. Draw on some features, and even stick cotton or thread for the hair. Add to the multisensory approach by putting this scarecrow into a real garden, if you can access one. If not, you can even put it into a potted plant. Learning Outcomes: Fine motor skills, creativity, environmental awareness
Activity Name: Road Trip
You Will Need:
Toy vehicle (car, truck, etc) OR you can use any random object as a ‘vehicle’
A plain sheet of paper
Tiny popsicle people
Small cotton balls/balls of paper
Method: Take your little learners on an imaginary road trip. Draw a winding road on the paper. Decorate the sheet with matchboxes (for buildings and houses), add in some cotton/crushed paper as rocks and boulders. Drawn fields that are guarded by scarecrows or farms with scarecrow people in them. Place the vehicle at the start of the road; ask children to move it along the path. As they travel from place to place, ask them to create stories, identify the elements, and gradually make their own little roadmap.
Modification: Improve early literacy skills by writing names on buildings (school, hospital, etc.), and asking children to read, and later spell it themselves.
Learning Outcomes: Imagination, creativity, fine motor skills, storytelling, early literacy skills
Method: Trace out a tree trunk and branches together with children. Give them glue sticks and ask them to glue buttons to the branches to make a colourful button tree.
*You can use cotton balls, rolled up bits of paper, actual dried leaves, or anything else to make this tree.
Modification: In later levels, you can ask children to group particular colours together, add fruits, little hand painted birds, and anything else they can think of.
Learning Outcomes: Fine motor skills, colour identification, sorting and grouping, environmental awareness, creativity, exploration and imagination, observation.
To drive their intrinsic motivation to keep coming back and learning, children need to engage with the learning process. This is where multisensory activities and instructions fit in; they present information through more than one sensory system at a time, encouraging optimal learning.
At Square Panda, we understand the value of multisensory learning. Our programs — for children and for educators — include content that uses all the learning pathways in the brain (auditory/visual, kinesthetic/tactile) to enhance multisensory exploration for robust educational outcomes in early childhood education. Learn more about our holistic NEP 2020-aligned programs: ecce.squarepanda.in
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Over the years, India has seen a wonderful trend emerge.
First, Amazon India’s Reading Trends Report released in 2017 showed book sales picking up across all levels in India – English books in Metro and Tier I cities and translations in rural areas. Later, they also claimed a steady growth of book sales over the past five years, with adult non-fiction growing by 22.8% and young adult (fiction) book sales rising by 21.4%.
Then, in 2020, Nielsen released a report on the Impact of COVID-19 on the India Book Consumer and found that reading time has increased from nine hours a week to 16 hours a week.
This trend is not a surprising one, given that India has been a seat of learning, literature, and knowledge since ancient times. Reading is a prime source of information and knowledge, and these past book sales show us just how much Indians love this activity.
This trend has even touched the lives of children in India, as Scholastic has found. This independent publisher regularly surveys young children aged 6 to 17 across India to provide insight about reading habits among this population. Their latest report – published in 2020 – found that 92% of the surveyed children read books for fun at least one day in the week. Their survey further found that younger children love reading short stories with pictures, and their interests leaned towards comics, fairy tales, books that made them laugh. Slightly older children (aged 9-11 and 12-14) want books that tell the truth about life, and have smart, courageous characters.
The young Indian reader is well on their way to becoming a literate adult who reads for fun. However, much of the data collected so far only reflects certain segments of the population. The popularity of this activity needs to reach even the hinterland before we can say that our children are developing a reading habit.
Why Reading Is Important, Especially In Early Childhood
Kids that cannot read, cannot learn. Reading is the basis of learning; geography, history, and even math problems require good reading skills. Additionally, studies by UNESCO in 2012 show that kids who cannot read according to their level by the time they are in the third grade often drop out of school altogether.
Reading makes you smarter. Reading helps enhance the learning process. Each page opens up a new world; new words enhance an ever-increasing vocabulary; even childrens’ confidence gets a boost. This is why we require more people who are learning to read right from childhood, and developing reading skills, to build a more literate India.
Research into reading often talks about how it enriches minds, imparts wisdom, and even helps shape readers’ personalities to a certain extent. In fact, Harvard Business Review publishes that having a good reading ability and a regular reading habit makes you better placed to be a business leader.
As a nation of readers, we need to bring these emergent literacy skills to our young children and inculcate a strong reading habit in them.
Inculcating A Reading Habit In Young Children
The reading habit — like the reading trend itself — is constantly evolving. Reading does not always have to be on paper anymore; there are other means to access books for children: ebooks, edutainment apps, and even audiobooks can be leveraged to deliver content to young readers.
Reading needs to be treated like a favoured friend and given constant and devoted attention. This learned activity can start with quick word-of-mouth stories and move to other mediums that children are comfortable with.
Book Recommendations For India’s Multilingual & Multicultural Children
📒 The Gopi Diaries by Sudha Murty Available In: English Who can read it: Anyone aged 2-4 What is it about: This three-book series is told in the voice of the main character – Gopi the dog. The series follows Gopi as he gets adopted into a brand-new home, and then describes the world and the people around him. Where to get it: Amazon, Flipkart
👣 पायल खो गई or Payal Is Lost by Maheen Mirza and Shivani Taneja Available In: Hindi Who can read it: Anyone aged 2-6 What is it about: Exactly what the title promises. Little Payal is lost, and the children of her basti are searching near and far to find her. Until finally, they find her in the most unlikely place… A sweet tale written for children who are just beginning to read, Payal Kho Gai is a simple tale filled with animation that is intentionally vague to further engage target readers’ imaginations. Where to get it: Amazon
🦠 Germ Academy by Rea Malhotra Mukhtyar Available in: English Who can read it: Anyone aged 3-8 What is it about: Written by a teacher, this book is geared towards helping adults explain the pandemic to little kids, in a way that does not seem overwhelming at all. The author states that this book has something for everyone, from “pop-culture references and scientific formulae to cleanliness tips and silly sounds.” Where to get it: Amazon, Crossword
🧆 Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by Farhana Zia Available in: English (Hindi words interwoven for a multilingual experience) Who can read it: Anyone aged 4-8 What is it about: Aneel is an excited little boy…his Dada-ji is coming to stay with him all the way from India. This multi-cultural tale effortlessly weaves in Hindi and English terms into a warm family tale with incredible illustrations. At the heart of it is the relationship between grandfather and grandson, and a lesson on how food fills your tummy and warms your heart. Where to get it: Amazon
👩🦱 I Hate my Curly Hair by Diyva Anand Available in: English Who can read it: Anyone aged 5-7 What is it about: It’s never too early to start teaching children about body positivity and self-acceptance. Diyva Anand’s poem aims to do exactly that, in a humorous tale about a little girl and her hate for her long curly hair. Where to get it: Amazon
👡 Phani’s Funny Chappals By Sridala Swami Available in: Hindi, Oriya, Gondi, Kannada, Tamil, French, Chinese, English Who can read it: Anyone aged 5-9 What is it about: Phani’s footwear causes all the trouble in this book. All he wants to do is be an obedient boy and a good student, but his chappals won’t let him! Where to get it: StoryWeaver
🐬 Putul and the Dolphins by Mariam Karim-Ahlawat Available in: Bengali, Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu Who can read it: Anyone aged 5-14 What is it about: Introduce children to nature and the environment with Puchku, a girl who lives by the Ganga river in Bengal. Her chance meeting with two dolphins sets the stage for a lovely folksy tale about life in a village, and the close relationship people share with animals. Where to get it: Amazon, Flipkart (in certain languages)
🧑🦯 Kanna Panna By Zai Whitaker Available in: Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati Who can read it: Anyone aged 5-14 What is it about: When the lights go out and his family cannot get out of the cave temple, little Kanna comes to the rescue. The presence (or lack of) lights do not make any difference to Kanna, as he cannot see anyway. The author changes the common perception about ‘disability’, creating a warm, strong, and funny protagonist to teach children about visual impairment. Where to get it: Amazon
🐆 Leopard in Mumbai by Lubaina Bandukwala and Allen Shaw Available in: English Who can read it: Anyone aged 6-15 What is it about: A new tourist is in town, and she’s causing quite a stir! Why, though? All she wants to do is everyday touristy things in Mumbai, but she can’t figure out why everyone is so nervous? Maybe it’s because she’s a leopard? What is it about: A new tourist is in town, and she’s causing quite a stir! Why, though? All she wants to do is everyday touristy things in Mumbai, but she can’t figure out why everyone is so nervous? Maybe it’s because she’s a leopard? Supported by hilarious illustrations by Allen Shaw, Lubaina Bandukwala’s funny take on the leopard sightings in Mumbai are a breath of fresh air, and make you see wildlife (and conservation) in a different light. Where to get it: Amazon, Karaditales
👹Moin and the Monster by Anushka Ravishankar Available in: English Who can read it: Anyone aged 8-10 What is it about: Moin was sleeping peacefully in his room until he heard a noise under his bed. Now, he has to share a home with a monster that loves to sing, eat bananas, and create new hairstyles. All this while trying to keep this a secret! Award-winning author Anushka Ravishankar crafts a wickedly funny tale that reviews rate as ‘laugh-out-loud.’ Where to get it: Amazon, Flipkart, Google Play Books (audiobook)