About the Book
History is so boring! Why do I need to learn all these dates?
Does that sound familiar? Honestly, I empathize with kids who feel like that…except that I love history! For, to me, history is more than sagas of kings and dynasties, records of wars and chronologies. I see the past as a set of events that shape our present and give meaning to our present, shape our future and give us a sense of identity.
And in my book Of Revolutionaries and Bravehearts, published by Puffin and beautifully illustrated by Sai Mandlik, I have tried to share that view of history with you. To help you see why History matters and how it is connected with your world, your thoughts, your food, your language, your actions – in more ways than you can imagine.
Every story in the book is followed by two sections – Connecting the Dots and Unbox the Past – which draw you to ponder about how episodes of history impact your life. This book does not give you answers. It leaves you with questions. It doesn’t fill you with information but invites you to reflect.
And who are the Revolutionaries and Bravehearts mentioned here you may ask…well – you can be sure its no king ruling over an empire, no warrior armed with sword and shield; no inventor on the verge of a breakthrough. They are ordinary people – people like you and me – not usually found in history books. For if you ask me, history is more than a saga of kings and wars. History is the story of who we are!
The Book contains 8 stories divided into four sections:
Class and Conflict
that seeks to help you understand the basis of hierarchy and how it manifests in our lives.
Creativity and Enterprise
throws up questions of how conflict impacts creativity posed through the lens of the unfinished sculptural works on the one hand and a corporation’s greed on the other
Symbol and Language
seeks to raise questions about the meaning of symbols and whether language is more than just a means of communication AND finally
Power and Perspective
to help you see how diff people may have different versions or interpretations of the same event
The stories take you north to Bareilly, south to Mahabalipuram and Kozikode, west to Pandharpur and Surat, east to Bankipur and Barabanki.
Often, in our north and Delhi-centric historical narratives, other regions are given short shrift. The Braveheart of Assam in this book is a story from the north -east – a region we hear little about.
Every story is followed by two sections
- Connecting the Dots that help you connect the story with the world around you.
- Unbox the Past that provide you with nuggets of historical information related to the story.
I hope these stories help you see history as more than a dry-as-bone narrative of kings and wars; giving you an alternative lens to look at the past.
Reviews by Readers
As a writer, Mallika knows how to be sensitive to the subject yet stay compelling to her readers. She’s honest but not rude; she’s persistent but not invasive; she’s simple but not plain. While keeping the writing easy, she manages to weave intense causes with practical perceptions. Her stories are not just a reflection of the society she works for, they also reflect the sincere person that she’s. And lastly, to an editor, she is perfect because come what may, her stories always meet their deadlines.
Mallika brings out hidden gems from mythology for children. Petu Ganesha is one more beautiful addition to this collection. The story of Ganpati and his curse on Chandrama or the Moon is beautifully narrated in a style that would be fun as well as educative for young readers. The illustrations go well with the narrative that teaches children to be humble and appreciative of others even if their physical characteristics aren't attractive. The story includes anecdotes about Ganesha and the Moon. The whole ensemble is a treat not just for children but adults too.
I would want to thank Mallika for her exceptional summer-camp on Trees, conducted in the beautiful surroundings of the IIT Bombay campus. My 12-year old daughter enjoyed each and every bit of the camp. It gave her a greater understanding of trees, as very small yet significant details were presented in the most exciting way, which built in tons of curiosity. The best part being the stories behind the origin, name, etc. of the trees. This fascinated her and she definitely looks forward to more and more of it.
Mallika has been instrumental in coming forward to take story-telling sessions for children under the umbrella of CaN Story Telling cloud for various schools across the country. Her sessions are well enjoyed and children learn a number of new things and like her style of narration.