8 Inspiring must-read books for ths children’s bookshelf

must read books
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As they say, change begins at home. And rightly so! The way we shape people around us, and the way we shape ourselves determine how society is shaped in the longer run.

Here are a few must-read books that help bring that change a little closer, helping you and the kids in your life to peek into a new perspective and become more aware. From communalism to caste to gender identity to environmental issues to body positivity, we’ve tried to present a comprehensive set of books here for you!

What are other books on social issue that you have come across that should be must-read books for children?

Click on the book cover for more details.

We encourage you to buy books from a local bookstore. If that is not possible, please use the links on the page and support us. Thank you.

Bhimrao Ambedkar: The boy Who Asked Why

Title: Bhimrao Ambedkar: The boy Who Asked Why

Author: Sowmya Rajendran

Publisher: Tulika Publishers

Price: 215

Pages: 32


The Boy Who Asked Why follows the life of an extraordinary man, ‘Babasaheb’ Bhimrao Ambedkar, who energised the struggle against caste prejudice. His fiery speeches and writings urged Dalits to protest against the inhumanity they suffered and continue to suffer.

This straightforward telling, visualised with quirky imagination, brings to children a man whose story will raise their awareness of discrimination leading them, perhaps, to ask their own whys.

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My Big Book of Global Warming

Title: My Big Book of Global Warming

Author: Geeta Dharmarajan

Publisher: Katha

Price: 120

Pages: 36


A book that examines the effects of Global Warming and shows young readers many easy ways to help make a difference.

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Talking of Muskaan

Title: Talking of Muskaan

Author: Himanjali Sankar

Publisher: Duckbill

Price: 180

Pages: 139


What would you do if you didn’t fit in?
Muskaan is in hospital, fighting for her life.

Three classmates—her former best friend Aaliya, the hottie Prateek, and the class topper Subhojoy—talk about Muskaan, and themselves. About school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens. And through their stories are revealed the twists and turns that drove Muskaan to try to kill herself.

Funny and tragic by turns, Talking of Muskaan is a warm, moving novel about life and death and the young people caught in between.

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Becoming Me

Title: Becoming Me

Author: Rejina Marandi

Publisher: adivaani

Price: 200

Pages: 202


A novel about Liya, a young Santal, Is a Regular girl from an Adivasi village in Assam, with regular struggles, aspirations and experiences, who finds herself in a journey through life against the backdrop of ethnic riots.

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The Battle for No. 19

Title: The Battle for No. 19

Author: Ranjit Lal

Publisher: Penguin India

Price: 299

Pages: 200


Eight schoolgirls from the hills on a tour of Agra, drive into Delhi the day Indira Gandhi is assassinated. They run into a violent, crazed mob that pulls their jovial old driver Kartar Singh out and slays him brutally. In a blazing city lashed by violence, the girls flee to seek refuge. They find it in an elegant and apparently empty house but is it safe? Its gallery of forbidding masks and medieval weapons is alarming enough, but worse, it is a house marked by the vicious mob because it belongs to a rich Sikh family with two children. In an adventure gone dreadfully wrong, all that the girls can think of is going home, but the vengeful enemy is right at the door!

Led by sixteen-year-old Puja, a masterful archer but with her own personal demons to fight, the girls have to tackle one threat after another, including a chicken thief in their midst. Mustering their wisdom, stealth, cunning and courage, they valiantly keep their conscienceless attackers at bay until they are finally plunged into a quandary where there is only hair’s breadth between killing and being killed.

A gripping and powerful story, The Battle for No. 19 highlights the moral dilemmas of young people in today’s world where violence erupts round every corner, and the line between right and wrong runs dangerously thin.

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Your Body Is Yours

Title: Your Body Is Yours

Author: Yamini Vijayan

Publisher: Pratham Books

Price: 75

Pages: 20


Your body is unique and it belongs only to you. Get to know it, and learn to take good care of it. A book that aims to start open and healthy conversations around our bodies, and our right to say no to anyone who does not respect boundaries.

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Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land

Title: Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land

Author: Durgabai Vyam Kancha Ilaiah

Publisher: Navayana

Price: 350

Pages: 108


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Gender Talk Big Hero Size Zero

Title: Gender Talk Big Hero Size Zero

Author: Anusha Hariharan

Publisher: Tulika Publishers

Price: 299

Pages: 108


Mystic weaver, radical reformer, loved and hated equally in his time… The simple wisdom of his pithy couplets, the famous dohas, makes him one of the most frequently quoted poets even today. Yet Kabir the person remains an enigma.

This brilliant novel traces one day in Kabir’s life, from Daybreak through Midday to Nightfall. Threading fact, legend and poetry into a superbly structured narrative, it etches Kabir’s compelling persona against the backdrop of fifteenth century Banaras a period that mirrors quite remarkably our own troubled times.

Spare visuals before each section continue Kabir’s own favourite metaphor of weaving, a delicate tapestry of the city unravelling as the day progresses. Kabir the Weaver-Poet is a landmark in contemporary writing for young readers and old thrilling yet gently emotive, incredibly blending high drama with the mesmerising calm of Kabir’s beliefs.

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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