Seven Amazing Folktales from India & 2 Book GIVEAWAY!

Seven Amazing Folktales from India & 2 Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome my guest author today, Chitra Soundar of Pattan’s Pumpkin.

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 an epic story 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 favourite 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 learnt 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 favourite trickster tales with two animals that are typical of Indian waters. The vivid illustrations in this book will draw you in to 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 a “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 favourites 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.

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chitra Soundar

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.

Seven Amazing Folktales from India & 2 Book GIVEAWAY!

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. John Smith

    “What are your favorite folk tales OR stories with Indian character or themes?” I love all kinds of folk tales. Do literary ones count?–I love E.T.A. Hoffmann very much! –I bought “The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India” several months ago because I thought it looked really charming!

  2. Maureen

    I love folk tales, and am fascinated by how the stories are mirrored in different cultures. I think my favorite folk tale is Little Red Riding Hood, and its different versions.

  3. Olivia

    Very helpful list. I’m always looking for books with Asian characters for our library system. Thanks!

  4. Alyssa Annico

    The Blue Jackal is lovely!

  5. Pattan’s Pumpkin looks great! Actually, all of these intrigue me, and we haven’t read ANY of them. Time for another library visit – once we unpack after our move!

    As for favorite folk tales, I’ve always loved the Cinderella story – and especially different versions of it. I actually wrote a version for NaNoWriMo last year that I’d love to edit and send out for publishing eventually…
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  6. We have not read or heard of one of these books. They look fabulous!! Pinned.
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  7. These look wonderful. I’d love to sit down and read them all. Great post. A pleasure meeting you tonight.

  8. Thank you all – I love discovering folktales from all parts of the world too. I love trickster tales!

  9. I absolutely love Nadia’s Hands it is a beautiful story.
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  10. Alise Aalto-Fiedler

    These are great suggestions. I love adding diverse/cultural stories to my children’s bookshelf.

  11. Love this list of folktales from India. How fun!!!
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  12. Folktales with a mathematics twist–what fun!!! This looks like a good collection.
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