Dr Maithili Tambe, CEO, The Academy School, Pune
Every child hopes and dreams to become successful in his/her life. While schools and colleges enable children to succeed, the inspiration, motivation and drive to achieve one’s goals come from experiences outside the classroom. While experiences are limited at a young age, several celebrated authors have lived such lives or breathed life into characters that move us, inspire us and take us on a ride which no educational institution can.
There is no denying that some books change the way we look at life. Let us try and pick a few which might not cover the syllabus but cover a significant portion of life itself. These non-academic books mark a journey from a student to a learner. From acquiring information to acquiring knowledge. From getting homework to getting lessons. Children should give these a try this summer with ample time to read.
Wings of Fire by APJ Abdul Kalam
It is impossible not to get inspired by someone as highly regarded as APJ Abdul Kalam. Wings of Fire is a book that drives you to achieve your dreams. It not only makes you dream but also makes you want to get up and work towards it. It gives us insights into Abdul Kalam’s upbringing, difficulties, downfalls and how he overcame his failures to be the successful man he is. He believed that desire, belief and expectations have been the driving forces behind his success. He believed he wanted to make a difference in India through science and technology and he also believed in his capability. He set certain expectations from himself, expectations allow you to set goals and respond accordingly. At the end of everything, you will only learn more from your failures and learn to grow.
Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murthy
Author Sudha Murthy pens down some of the most important lessons of her life in this book. It includes lessons of honesty, compassion, hard work, empathy and more. Each chapter symbolises the need for humanity in this increasingly painful world. She writes these stories from her sweet and bitter memories of visiting different places. The stories take us to the world of protagonists and make us feel the emotion and trauma that they are undergoing in their lives be it rich businessmen or poor wage workers. She writes about the importance of the humble gifts that touch the right chord of the heart.
The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
The classic author delivers an all-time classic in The Blue Umbrella. The book traces the story of a poor little girl, Binya, who fantasises about a blue umbrella that she saw some city people enjoying during the picnic while the visitors are attracted by her innocence and the pendant on her neck. The book goes on to tell how she got the beautiful blue umbrella but many envy her and offer to buy the umbrella. She eventually donates it and learns that relationships have more value than any materialistic thing in her life. It touches the core element of humanity — kindness. The book was also later adapted into a film by the same name and won a national award.
Swami and Friends by RK Narayan
R.K. Narayan is among the most widely read and celebrated authors in Indian literature. Based on the famous fictional town of Malgudi in South India, this book is a story of Swaminathan and his four friends. He beautifully pens down the adventures, mischiefs, fun and learnings of the friends in a school. He also dives into the lives of Malgudi villagers who are gullible and are still untouched by the winds of change sweeping throughout the country. Its open-ended climax leaves the readers guessing as to what must have really happened. This book teaches children an important lesson that not every story has a happy ending.
Kabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore
There is no way one can talk about books and not feature Tagore’s work in the list. Kabuliwala is a story so much steeped in human emotions and evokes so much pathos that it is impossible to look past the story. The theme of Kabuliwala is mainly friendship. Tagore has beautifully portrayed the friendship of an Afghan trader and Mini, a little playful child. Although Rahamat, the Afghan trader, was almost the same age as Mini’s father, he and Mini shared a very unique bond. The story also symbolises that humans, no matter what their nationality or background, are all the same by filial affection – the deep love that fathers feel for their children.