India is home to the greatest philosophers that have ever stepped on earth. It is not always easy to bring these timeless teachings into a format that is accessible for very young children. However, independent children’s book publisher AdiDev Press have met this challenge with aplomb. A set of three board books that are great starting points for value-based education, sets the tone for the “Learning to Be” series.
Each book talks about one saint who has a deep reaching impact on our society. The three titles are: Kindness with Mahavira, Peace with Buddha and Service with Guru Nanak. Chitwan Mittal and Sarita Saraf have used verse to present the key values of each saint in a compact and easy to understand manner. The vivid images by Debasmita Dasgupta bring the words to life. As one reads the rhythmic lines in the books, it would appear that the pictures and words are in sync, playfully orchestrating the content for the reader.
Taking an overarching value and presenting it in a format that is easily understood and appreciated by very young children, is not an easy task. However, the AdiDev Press team carries this off brilliantly. Each saint has one key quality that is presented and then the words not only introduce that quality, but also relate it to the life of the reader. For example, the book on Guru Nanak talks about service. But, what would a concept like ‘service’ mean for a young pre-schooler? The book mentions simple personal acts such as helping a teacher with chores or helping a friend. It also talks about individual acts that impact the larger society, such as cleaning up our surroundings. Hence, the concept of service gets an approachable daily-life angle and does not remain elusive and unattainable.
Kindness with Mahavira for instance, demystifies the concept of ahimsa for children. The premise that all living things have a soul, and practicing non-violence to creatures big and small, from ants on a path to kindness to fellow human beings, all find expression here in an easy-to-understand manner.
This trio makes a good base for value-based reading. It introduces three significant saints and the values they stand for in a simply, aesthetic and accessible manner. A wonderful starting point for the pre-schooler readership, these books make for lovely gifts as well as great additions to your home library!