Engaging Deeply with Books

The NLF Reading Challenge 2022 brought together 10 to 13-year-old book lovers from around the country in a bid to not only get them to read more, but also to read better. Through author sessions, writing prompts and book discussions led by reading guides who oversee children’s reading, we hope to encourage children to read closely and deeply. 

We invited all participants of the Reading Challenge to tell us which phrases, words or sentences stood out to them from the books that they read. While some children were hooked by captivating facts about some of the species found commonly around them, others picked up on sentences that made them reflect and think. Here are some of the best responses we received

Anvi, a 10-year-old from Delhi Public School picked the following lines from Rohan Chakravarty’s Naturalist Ruddy: Adventurer. Sleuth. Mongoose, as her favourite:

“These tadpoles have the longest tails in proportion to body size, and also the fastest growing hind legs! These adaptations aid their semi-aquatic lifestyle climbing wet cliffs and rocks in search of algae to eat. Ruddy hears that quacking sound again, but this time it’s much closer. It isn’t a duck!” 

In the book, Ruddy goes on to discover the origin of the duck-like quacking sounds which were emanating from the crevices of a waterfall. But the intrigue created by these tadpoles were such that Sushma Nagaraj, a 11-year-old from Parikrma Centre for Learning, Sahakarnagar, told us that she would like to adopt a tadpole to keep as her pet if she were to have one of the animals from Naturalist Ruddy! Vaishnavi Venkatesh, another student from Parikrma Centre for Learning, decided that she would adopt a Katydid, an insect that looks like a leaf. “I love trees and leaves, and the Katydid which mimics a leaf looks very attractive and I like it a lot,” she said. 

Arushi Chandra, a Grade 6 student from Neev Academy, found the lines that spoke to her and moved her in Chris Colfer’s novel A Tale of Magic:

We must pity the people who choose to hate. Their lives will never be as full as the lives filled with love. I found this line by Madame Weatherberry very profound and meaningful because it not only talks about the choices we make in life, it also tells us about how the hateful are hurting themselves. This quote reminds me of another sentence: Anger is a burning coal which you clutch tightly in your hands.”

Reading facilitates deeper engagement with oneself and with the world one inhabits. As they read better we hope that our children will also learn to live better.


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