Please welcome my guest author today, Chitra Soundar of Pattan’s Pumpkin.
p.s. For anyone who wants to learn more about India, here is a beautiful nonfiction book!
My Incredible India by Jasbinder Bilam, illustrated by Nina Chakrabarti
Through objects collected in a trunk by Thara’s grandmother Nanjijee, readers go on an adventure all over India. The objects allow the reader to discover the art, people, and natural world of India. Stories are woven with interesting facts to deepen the readers’ knowledge. The magic is both in Nanjijee’s trunk and in the vibrant illustrations in this book! [nonfiction picture book, ages 7 and up]
Pattan’s Pumpkin by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Frané Lessac
This reminds me of a Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater meets Noah’s Arc story. Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, and he replants and cares for it. It turns out to be a pumpkin of enormous size, growing as tall as the mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Chitra is sharing seven more wonderful folktales from India. We are giving away two copies of Pattan’s Pumpkin. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Seven Amazing Folktales from India
As a child, I grew up listening to folktales that my grandmother and her sister told me. Our summer holidays were spent picking tender mangoes from our garden trees, washing them, and preparing them for pickles while listening to epic stories or funny trickster tales. As an oral storyteller and a writer, I love telling folktales – especially those that have been passed down generations, through word of mouth. I’ve chosen seven stories from India because seven is a number that’s in most of our folktales (from Seven Seas to Seven Hills).
Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters
This is one of my absolute favorites because it brings to life a village in Bengal and evokes the thrill with the rhythm of the narration. It’s also a classic trickster tale that many Indian folktales are famous for. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes
I wanted to include only folktales in this list. But Ganesha, the elephant-headed God is such a household character. I have a Ganesha reading a book, reclining on a daybed at my desk, to bring me good luck and good cheer. This story is not from the scriptures and has been written with a tongue-in-cheek tone that Ganesha himself will love. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
A Bucket of Blessings by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
While as a kid I learned that peacocks dance when it rains, this story was less familiar to me. Nevertheless, the message of working together and counting your blessings is something that I grew up with and it’s been retold beautifully and also re-created on stage if the show comes to your city. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India by Gerald McDermott
The Monkey and the Crocodile is a tale that has been told since ancient times in India. It is one of my favorite trickster tales with two animals that are typical of Indian waters. The vivid illustrations in this book will draw you into the story even if you’re a tad scared of the crocodile. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Drum: A Folktale from India by Rob Cleveland, illustrated by Tom Wrenn
As a storyteller, I’ve discovered that every culture has an “exchange” story – a story in which an innocent and good-hearted character exchanges his magical belonging for something ordinary, but each time he helps someone with his gesture. This one reminds me of the one my grandmother used to tell. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India by Marcia Williams
This story is one of my favorites because I found a real-life elephant and dog duo in an Indian village that were such good friends that they didn’t want to be separated. This ancient tale often reminds us of the value of companionship and the joy of unlikely friendships. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
And finally, to finish off, I want to introduce an ancient tale of mathematics. This story has been retold a few times – and perhaps not still in print. But if you can find it in a library, it’s a great trickster tale with a maths puzzle to solve.
A village girl outsmarts a selfish king by asking him to double a portion of rice every day for 30 days in order to feed the hungry. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
The Rajah’s Rice: A Mathematical Folktale from India by David Barry, illustrated by Donna Perrone
Young Chandra, the Rajah’s elephant caretaker, outwits the ruler using the power of multiplication and saves her village from suffering. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Pattan’s Pumpkin GIVEAWAY to 2 Winners!
We are giving away two copies of Pattan’s Pumpkin to 2 winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Due to the high cost of shipping, we can only mail to U.S. addresses and A.F.O. boxes.
Chitra Soundar is the author of Pattan’s Pumpkin (illustrated by Frané Lessac, published by Candlewick Press, 2017) an ancient flood tale from Southern India. She’s also a storyteller who loves telling trickster tales. Originally from India, she now lives in London and travels across the world to tell stories. Find out more at her website and follow her on Twitter @csoundar.
To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World
- Junior Library Guild Gold selection
- Selected as one of 100 Outstanding Picture Books of 2023 by dPICTUS and featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
- Starred review from School Library Journal
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.