Growing readers for life
Professor Rudine Sims Bishop has suggested the best children’s books are “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” in her seminal essay in 1990.
Mirrors reflect a child’s own life experiences; they become windows when they offer a different view into the lives and experiences of others, and doors that allow children to trust their imagination and enter a different world. Professor Bishop noted, “When children cannot find themselves in the books they read, or the images that they find are distorted or negative, they learn powerful lessons on how they are valued in society.”
Children’s literature in India is a relatively recent phenomenon. India has had great literature for adults for decades, and that tradition of writing is delightfully moving to children’s books. Access to these books, however, is still a challenge.
We began the Neev Literature Festival in 2017 and the Neev Book Award in 2018 to find and showcase great children’s books from and about Indian lives. Children’s books that are Mirrors, Windows and Doors to the Indian identity.