When Blackbirds Fly

Set against the backdrop of the struggle for independence in Mizoram, this heart-wrenching story takes us on a journey with the protagonist from just wanting to lead a peaceful life to inevitably getting almost overwhelmed by the circumstances that are not of his own making. A coming of age story, a tender reminder that no one remains unaffected by war and strife, least of all children.

Duckbill an imprint of Penguin Random House India 2022 Hannah Lalhlanpuii Canato Jimo

Online Encounters and More – 12 Teenage Stories

This book fills an important gap, that of reading material for teenagers that is about their lives as they lead them today, surrounded by technology, stark economic inequalities, and fast changing social norms and priorities. The stories depict teenagers from different strata of Indian society, girls and boys, urban and rural, rich and poor. Real issues are dealt with without preaching or judgements, and real dilemmas are presented frankly.

Children's Book Trust 2021 Multiple Authors Ajanta Guhathakurta

I Am So Much More

The book addresses the all-pervasive topic of skin colour in India. The delightful illustrations present a whole palette of skin tones by associating the shades to all kinds of things around us. Did you realise that biscuits come in all kinds of skin colour? The rhymes accompanying the illustrations challenge gender stereotypes, bring in unusual professions and children who dream big.

HarperCollins Publishers India 2021 Divya Thomas Ruchi Shah


A little girl, Kadalamma, learns of the secrets of the sea as she takes a shorewalk with her fisherman grandfather, Palayam. This book is illustrated with photographs of life and living on the seashore and has an insider’s view of the deep relationship that communities share with the sea and all the life in it. The sensitivity and voice of the narrative, the depth of content and excellent images make the book a wonderful example of narrative non-fiction.

Tulika Books 2022 Yuvan Aves Yuvan Aves

The Plant Whisperer

This picture book explores the journey of a young woman scientist finding her place in the world. The secrets of plants intrigue her as much as she continues to struggle with loneliness, often baffled in an unkind world. The illustrations capture the sense of her discovery that mustard plants that grew up with unrelated plants tended to help each other as much as they tell the story of her self-discovery. A book for all children who love asking questions about the world and themselves.

Pratham Books 2022 Sayantan Datta Bhavya Kumar

Chitty – A Dog and Her Forest Farm

Chitty is a dog who is taken from the streets of Pune to a life in a forest farm in the Western Ghats. We are introduced to her world at the farm, her growing years, her adventures and her deep, abiding relationship with Serow. The illustrations bring this green, wet, funny, scary world alive. The sensitive portrayal of Chitty’s passing is a mediation on the nature of life that is such a rare opportunity for children to relate to it in writing.

Kalpavriksh 2021 Serow Rajiv Eipe

The Tiger of the River

A fantastically written book about the mahseer fish in the Kaveri river. The writing is dramatic and emotional and the illustrations draw you into the world of Matisha- a gorgeous, golden mahseer. The collision of the natural world with the apathy of the humans is well presented. The ending is like a salute to the majestic tiger on land and the tiger in the river. It’s a book that makes you want to do something!

an imprint of Speaking Tiger, Talking Cub 2022 Adrian Pinder Maya Ramaswamy

Abanindranath’s House of Stories

This is a beautifully designed and illustrated book on Abanindranath Tagore’s art. This is how books on art should be – playful, and yet encouraging readers to become thoughtful creators. Elements of Tagore’s art, his imagination, and his childhood are all highlighted using different colour palettes and techniques. Readers will delight in playing with the book as they look through windows, peep into rooms and join baithaks. The book itself is a work of art!

Art1st 2022 Likla Lall Eva Sanchez Gomes