From the author of Grandma's Bag of Stories
It's 2020 and children are stuck indoors as the novel coronavirus finds its way into India. A nationwide lockdown is announced and amidst the growing crisis, Ajja and Ajji welcome their grandchildren and Kamlu Ajji into their house in Shiggaon.
From stitching masks, sharing household chores, preparing food for workers to losing themselves in timeless tales, the lockdown turns into a memorable time for the children as they enter the enchanting world of goddesses, kings, princesses, serpents, magical beanstalks, thieves, kingdoms and palaces, among others. The myriad stories told by their grandparents become the biggest source of joy, making the children compassionate, worldly-wise and more resilient than ever.
Following the trail of the best-selling Grandma's Bag of Stories, India's favourite author Sudha Murty brings to you this collection of immortal tales that she fondly created during the lockdown period for readers to seek comfort and find the magic in sharing and caring for others. Wonderfully woven in her inimitable style, this book is unputdownable and perfect for every child's bookshelf!
In a world of Alexa and audiobooks, Murty is one of the very few writers keeping the art of traditional storytelling via the elderly (read grandparents) alive through her work. Murty's stories transport you into the calm and comfort of the golden days.
Grandparents' Bag of Stories (Book Review): Lockdown lessons for the young
Once again, Sudha Murty, with her maternal vibe, sits down to her young readers and opens her bag of stories. This time, the storyteller pulls out a utopian lockdown handbook for children. When the future generation sits down to uncover the year of the pandemic, Murty's Grandparents' Bag of Stories will reveal what a day in the lockdown amid the global pandemic looked like. Published by Puffin Books, the book is second in her series of grandparents' stories, the first being Grandma's Bag of Stories.
The parents, reeling under pressures of working from home, decide to send their children to the grandparents' home right before the lockdown and the rest is all 'a story'. As one flips pages, Murty's spell deepens and one travels down memory lane, into juvenescence. A summer dream blossoming in grandparents' backyards begins. Each of her stories comes with an important life lesson for the children. Her stories of rice and wheat teach one the importance of foodgrains during troubled times like that of the lockdown. The Magic Beans teaches not to be greedy, The Goddess of Luck teaches the importance of good karma, The Mouse that Became a Mouse tells us to accept what has been given to us, A Word of Honour tells one to be true to his word, A Ship on the Land teaches one that skills and talent matter more than appearance and The Greatest Medicine of All talks about how a disease grips the world every hundred years, its dangers and that hygiene is the greatest medicine of all.
In a world of Alexa and audiobooks, Murty is one of the very few writers keeping the art of traditional storytelling via the elderly (read grandparents) alive through her work. Murty's stories transport you into the calm and comfort of the golden days. Her first reviewers are undoubtedly her grandchildren. "I miss my grandchildren very much as they live in London, so whenever I write a story, I call them over Zoom and narrate it. They loved The Arrival of Rice and the Children, A World of Wheat and The Magic Beans stories. They were fascinated to hear stories of their origins. I try and narrate one story a day to them," she tells us.
Murty affectionately gifts children life lessons blended with our own traditions in her stories. What's Luck Got to do with It boasts of the Indian traditional education system where lessons were imparted through stories. She carefully notes the stark difference with the western school of thought where stories are rather bedtime narrations. In Forty Days of Quarantine, grandparents set a timetable for homeschooling children while teaching traditional games like hopscotch, scrabble, snakes and ladders and ludo and how to contribute in the household chores, away from the world of online life.
What is a Sudha Murty book without lessons in philanthropy? Rightfully so, the philanthropist in Murty doesn't resist weaving autobiographical elements in the narrative. "The experiences have been toned down in the stories. I was extremely busy during the entire duration of the lockdown. I wanted children to learn to help elders during the lockdown and so penned down the experiences as stories." In the book, Ajja and Ajji prepare ration kits and meals to help the needy with help from the children and in the process, teach them the importance of giving-Murty's favourite lesson.
But Murty was not a born storyteller. Rather, she derives inspiration from her growing up years. "When I was growing up in my village, there was no electricity or phones and so people passed their time talking. My grandparents have told me thousands of stories and that is why I too love sharing them."
To sum up, Sudha Murty's social media bio best describes her being and her writings are a mirror- simple living and high thinking! From her sober appearance to her clean and colloquial writing style, she embodies simplicity with her words.
The assortment of stories that include tales of kings and jungles, princesses and serpents, beanstalks and rice, and more - not only promise fun and adventure to the readers but are also swaddled in wonderful and important lessons of life.
The paperback has lovely illustrations by Priya Kurien and is priced at INR 250. The stories are short and easy to read or be read out to.
As with Grandma's Bag of stories, this book has a wonderful range of stories that fill our hearts, make us smile, and fire up our imaginations. It is amazing to see how Mrs. Sudha Murthy has created these tales during the lockdown period that show children a terrific way to see the magic in helping others through tough times. She is also a perfect role model to show effective and creative utilization of time. A riveting read for anyone who loves stories, this book is perfect for every child's bookshelf.
The author Sudha Murthy has no doubt done a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of family bondings. In between the storytelling sessions, the family chores are very well inserted by the author. The concept of the grandmother telling a story a day is really nice as it keeps the stories length at a pace enough for young readers to carry on with their reading habit.
This book is truly one of the finest books of short stories. The language used in the book is simple and easy to understand with the inclusion of new words for kids to learn. I would recommend this to be a part of your kid's books library. Do grab your edition here and enjoy reading it with your kids.
|Grandparents' Bag of Stories