Category Archives: Books

Stories For Boys Who Dare To Be Different – Book Review

Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different: True Tales of Amazing Boys Who Changed the World without Killing Dragons

Author: Ben Brooks                            Illustrator: Quinton Winter

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

This book is about 77 inspiration boys/men who looked out for the stars!

As the book states, it is “an inspirational collection of famous and not so famous men from the past to the present day, who went on to make the world a better place through compassion, generosity and self-belief.”

These are men, who have changed the world for the better, in their own quiet way. And they have done so by not following the stereotypical path, but carving out their own.

These are men, who have defied the toxic masculinity, have not shied away from hiding their emotions.

These are men, who through their stories also tell the kids its ok to go against the grain, to not succumb to peer pressure.

And that is a lesson boys (as well as girls) need to learn.

Ben Brooks’ biographies are very inclusive, it has men from across the globe, culture and social class. It has stories about several famous men we have heard of like Gandhi, Bill Gates, Obama, Nelson Mandela and Lionel Messi. But then, it also has stories about lesser known figures who have done amazing work. Continue reading

Does it Fart: Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence – Book Review

Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence

Authors: Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti

Illustrated by Ethan Kocak

In 2017 Zoologist Dani Rabaiotti’s teenage brother asked her a most pressing question: Do snakes fart?

Stumped, Rabaiotti turned to Twitter. Consequently, it grew to a Twitter hashtag #doesitfart and it spread like a noxious gas. Dozens of noted experts began weighing in on which animals do and don’t fart, and if they do, how much, how often, what it’s made of, what it smells like, and why.

These notes eventually took physical form, this book.

Turns out we are not the only ones in the Animal Kingdom that “break wind’. Phew!

Each page of the book is devoted to, one animal and one question: Does it fart? However,  its not just a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ list. It’s a super fun,silly book which also gives information about their eating habits, gastrointestinal working, and their fauna.

Continue reading

Zenobia: Book Review


Author: Morten Durr

Illustrator: Lars Horneman

 Zenobia is a beautiful, but heart-breaking story about a Syrian girl Amina. The book talks about the plight of refugees and people whose lives are torn apart by the war.


Amina is a young Syrian girl who lives with her parents in the midst of Syrian crisis. One day, Amina’s parents leave her home alone, while they travel to the market. But after much waiting, when they fail to return, she with her Uncle’s help sets on a journey to a safer place.

Amina sets out in a crammed boat. The boat capsizes, and Amina is thrown into the vast sea. While in the water, she seems to be calm and remembers the happy times with her parents.  Her playing hide and seek with her mom, the dolmas they ate as a family. She remembers her mother talking about Zenobia, an ancient Syrian warrior Queen.

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This Diverse World: AFRICA


Given below is a list of books with African characters. I have tried to include books which would give a glimpse into different African cultural backgrounds.

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

I have listed the name of the country next to the book link, either the main character lives in that country or has links to it.

Continue reading

This Diverse world : EUROPE


Given below is a list of books with European characters. I have tried to include books which would give a glimpse into different European cultural backgrounds.

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

I have listed the name of the country next to the book link, either the main character lives in that country or has links to it.

Continue reading

This Diverse World : Australia and Oceania


When I took up this project I did not realise that it would be this difficult for me to search for books! it has been really difficult to find apt books with Australia and Oceanic characters. Maybe I am not searching right?!

Here are some books that I found on Amazon, I will keep searching in this category and updating.

Please use your own discretion when selecting the book for your  kid/family.

The stolen stars of Matariki – New Zealand

How Maui slowed the Sun  – New Zealand

The Tunnel in our Backyard  – New Zealand

The Whale Rider  – New Zealand

Looking for Alibrandi – Australia

Does my head look big in this  – Australia

The Bone Sparrow  – Australia

Becoming Kirrali Lewis – Australia

The Secret Science of Magic  – Australia

Possum Magic  – Australia

Are we there yet? A journey around Australia – Australia

Audrey of the Outback – Australia

Adventures of Riley : Outback Odyssey – Australia

This is Australia  – Australia

Into that forest  – Australia

Middle School: Escape to Australia  – Australia

Tiddalick, the greedy Frog  – Australia

Kon Tiki  – Polynesia







If You Lived Here: Houses Of The World – Book Review

If You Lived Here: Houses of The World

by Giles Laroche

This is a great book to expose the kids to the different ways in which people live around the world.

The most unique  part about this book is that all the houses  are illustrated in bas-relief color collages. Another interesting fact about the houses was that all those still exist.

Each house has an illustration of real example of type of structure. The detailing that has gone into making the collages is amazing. We spent a lot of time admiring not just the house structure but the surrounding landscaping with nature, people, animals etc.

It also has a brief description of the interiors, the reason behind its design, information on material used, geographical location of these houses, dates of occupancy and some fascinating fact.

The list of houses include

  • Dogtrot  – Southern United States
  • Chalet  – Alps, Europe
  • Pueblo – Taos, New Mexico
  • Connected barn – Northeastern United States
  • Cave dwelling – Guadix, Andalucia, Spain
  • Palafitos (house on stilts) – Chiloe Island, Chile
  • Palazzo Dario – Venice, Italy
  • Chateau La Brede – Bordeaux, France
  • Fujian Tulou – Hangkeng village, Yongding, China
  • Half-timbered townhouses – Miltenberg am Main, Germany
  • White Towns – Astipalaia Island, Greece
  • Decorated houses of Ndebele – Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
  • Yurt – Mongolia and other parts of central Asia.
  • Airstream trailer – Anywhere
  • Floating house – Middleburg, the Netherlands
  • Tree House – Anywhere

At the back of the book, there is also a map of the world where each of the examples can be found.

The only drawback that I see in this book is that of the 15 dwellings discussed 7 were found in Europe, 4 in North America , and the larger continents of Africa and Asia are under represented. Australia was left out completely.

Laroche’s writing is light and interesting. The illustrations along with the simple and short textual facts make this book good for kids of any age in K-6.

Overall a great book and can be a great supplement for culture study.

Manjhi Moves A Mountain – Book Review

Manjhi Moves A Mountain

by Nancy  Churnin, Illustrated by Danny Popovici

Dashrath Manjhi is a known man in India, thanks to the articles published, documentaries made and mostly because of a Hindi movie made on his life.

My boys got a chance to  read biography of this inspiring man through this book. His life is an inspiring story of persistence and perseverance, to never give up on your dream!

Manjhi’s village, Gehlaur, was  “deep in the heart of India” and was separated from the neighboring village by a mighty mountain.  In his village nothing grows, while in the other village rice and wheat flowered and flourished .  Thus people were happy and affluent there, which was not the case in his viilage.  Manjhi climbs to the top of the mountain to ponder over this.

When he throws a stone from atop, it triggers a sprinkle of powder and that gives him an idea. He trades his 3 goats for a hammer and a chisel and gets to work, chipping away the rocks.

At first the other villagers found him to be “crazy” to be doing what seemed impossible. But Majhi perseveres, eventually others started supporting him by chipping away the mountain while he was resting.  They also provided him food and newer supplies to accomplish this mountainous task.

His chant “Hold. Aim. Swing.” carries him forward and after 22 years he has indeed moved a mountain.

Instead of 2 villages  there is one village now “sharing water, hopes, dreams”. What was earlier a 34 mile hike from one village to the other was now a 9 mile walk.

Popovici’s illustrations are nicely composed in orange , yellow and brown hues.

Nancy Churchin’s words are as simple as Manjhi’s life, she managed to keep our interest alive with just 2 characters, Manjhi and the mountain.

There are so many wonderful life lessons to learn from this book.

It was a great a story to show how people have to toil hard for years for things that we take for granted. We all have our ‘mountains’ to move, we may be ridiculed  or made fun of. What can help us move these mountains are dreams, effort and time.

A great inspirational book, also a great example of growth mindset.

Dasrath Manjhi (1934-2007)

pic source Hindustan Times


My Name Is Yoon: Book Review

My name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

This is the first book we read this week. The story is about a Korean family that emigrates to the United States. It is a well rendered picture book about Yoon, the daughter of the family, who is having adjustment issues in her new home country.

Yoon, in the beginning, does not find much similarity between United States and Korea. This is particularly true for her school life. She loves to write her name in Korean, like all Korean names her name too has a meaning. Her name Yoon means ‘shining wisdom’.  Despite her father’s assurances that her name still holds the same meaning , even when written in English, she has her doubts. She also finds her name written in English just a series of sticks and circles, whereas in Korean, “the Symbols dance together”. Everyday at school she learns a new English word and makes that her new name. So one day she is “Cat’ , another day she is ” Bird” and yet another day its “Cupcake”! This girl sure has wild imagination.

She quickly recognizes concern and friendship offered by the patient teacher and classmates. She starts liking her school  and feels United States can be her home like Korea.

And she is back to calling herself “Yoon” again as it still means “Shining Wisdom”.

This book is good for a kid reading at K-2 level, but my kids enjoyed it too. The text is easy to understand , the illustrations are beautiful, and the message is clear. Like my older said ” Being different is not something bad, one should embrace it and be proud of it.”

Multicultural Books Week 1: Asia


안녕  Annyeong (Korean),

ආයුඛෝවන්  Ayubuvan (Sinhalese),

سَلام Salam (Persian),

नमस्ते Namaste (Hindi),

Ni Hao (Mandarin).

These are the languages the characters, of the books that we plan to read this week, speak.

Here is the lists that we will be following:

This diverse world : ASIA