Book Series Helps Kids See India Through its Culture
Kid-Friendly character takes kids on a journey through India, its festivals and culture.
Do you ever wish you could find cultural books for kids that actually held their attention for more than three minutes? Masalamomma Anita Badhwar says after trying to find children’s books she could use to expose her young children to Indian culture and coming up empty, she decided to write one herself.Raised in Toronto, Anita moved to the US in 2000 and eventually settled with her husband in Florida. Back then, trying to find educational books on India, its festivals and culture was hard, especially ones that were could hold their attention.
With 3 books under her belt now, she says her ‘The Little Princess Rani Palace Adventures Series’ presents information about Indian culture and festivals in a fun yet educational manner. Rani, a young girl is the main character in the series which is meant for ages 7 and up. ‘Rani Saves Diwali’ and ‘Rani and the Safari Surprise’ are available for purchase on amazon.com.
We had a chance to chat with Anita about how this series can be a learning tool for children and masalamommas.
What inspired you to write the books?
When my children were younger, I found myself searching for Indian-themed books for them. While I found books that were educational, I was unable to find books that had enough of an entertainment value to hold their attention. As a result, I thought about developing and creating a series that was both educational (taught kids about India, Indian culture, and festivals) in a fun and informative way.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing as a hobby for a few years, but I’ve been writing and illustrating the Little Princess Rani and the Palace Adventures series for over two years.
How did you came up with the story?
My idea about writing an Indian theme based series started actually 4 to 5 years ago. At that time, however, I was unsure about how to go about it. At that time, however, I was unsure about how to go about it. It was only after a trip to India with my children and parents in 2012 that the idea of a series started to come together. Specifically, on this trip we visited the palaces of Rajasthan which inspired me to create and develop the series Little Princess Rani and the Palace Adventures. It was a wonderful experience, especially to see India through my children’s eyes.
Tell us about the character in the book and how kids can relate to her?
The main character in the book is Princess Rani. Although she is a princess, I think children can relate to her because she is caring, honest, and helpful, wants to learn, and always tries to do the right thing. In addition, she likes to eat lots of sweets (both Indian mithai and western sweets)!
How can parents use this book to teach kids a bit of the culture?
All of the books have a story with a few Hindi words with English translations, which can help a parent introduce Hindi words to their children. Also, each book has facts about the topic woven into the story. For example, in the first book, Rani Saves Diwali, the palace’s royal decorator has an accident, so Rani comes up with a plan to ensure that the Diwali decorations are completed before puja. With the help of Hari (Rani’s pet parrot) and her lady-in-waiting, Jaya, the decorations (lights, diyas, rangoli) are finished just in time for puja.
The second book titled, Rani and the Safari Surprise! is a story in which Rani goes on a jungle tour which teaches the reader (and Rani!) about animals native to India. And in my third book, Rani Visits the Taj Mahal (to be released this month), readers will be able to learn about this world famous monument. At the end of all the books in the series I have a page which provides additional information so that children and parents can read and learn more about the topic if they wish.
Why do you think it’s important to have diversity in kids books?
I think it is extremely important to have diversity in children’s books because we are all different and children’s literature should be reflective of this fact that we live in a global community.
For more information on the ‘Little Princess Rani’ series visit: www.littleprincessrani.com
Anita Badhwar grew up in Toronto, Canada and moved the United States in 2000. After twelve years of working in the corporate world in both Canada and the United States, she decided that it was time to pursue a career in writing children’s books. In particular, she has always been interested in writing a children’s book series which presents information about Indian culture and festivals. Anita Badhwar lives in Gainesville, FL with her husband, two kids, and of course, her loveable dog, Buddy.
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