As parents, you want your children to think big but you also worry that their dreams may not come true. Here are six books featuring real-life people who inspire and, prove that anything is possible
By Divya Sreedharan
Is your daughter always creating dinosaurs out of Lego blocks? Well, perhaps she has a future career as a paleo-biologist. Does your son love coming up with desserts for the family? You praise his talent but worry that being differently-abled means he will find it tough to get around a kitchen. Yes, as parents, sometimes, you may feel that your child’s dreams are impossible to achieve. That there are too many obstacles in the way. Perhaps what you really need is to believe in them and their abilities. Because sometimes, even the impossible becomes possible. Here are some heart-warming and heroic real-life stories to inspire both you and your children.
Age group: 4+
This collection is designed to be a real-life bedtime storybook that will inspire and empower. It comprises illustrated 100 one-page stories featuring truly remarkable women who dared to dream despite the odds stacked against them. More important, each went on to break barriers and achieve incredible things. The extraordinary lives chronicled here include everyone from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams and Cleopatra to Jane Goodall.
(Volume 2 of the book is also out now and features another 100 women, ranging from Nefertiti to Beyonce)
Age group: 5+
This is a story about overcoming great personal struggles and societal prejudice, to achieve the near impossible. It is a Tulika book about the life of wheelchair-bound Paralympian Malathi Holla, who has been conferred with the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award. The delightful tale and its energetic illustrations, beautifully captures experiences and moments from Malathi Holla’s life. Hers is a story of determination and drive. Little Malathi proves everyone wrong. She grows up to show that despite being in a wheelchair, she can do more, so much more!
Age group: 5+
This is the story of Paul Erdos, a prolific and eccentric mathematical genius. In this simply told story, the child Erdos is portrayed as a boy who is a wiz with numbers. At age four, he could ask you when you were born and then in his head, calculate the number of seconds you had been alive! But he didn’t learn to butter his own bread until he turned 20. As an adult, Erdos struggled with social interactions and found solace in his beloved numbers. Charmingly illustrated, this story relates how, despite being a little different, Erdos grew up to become a truly brilliant mathematician.
Age group: 13+
This is the coming-of-age story of of a girl who loves food -- well, not surprising really, for she is the daughter of a chef and a gourmet. Lucy, who is now a cartoonist, has written a forthright and funny memoir. She relates key episodes from her life complete with details about what she was eating at the time and her own culinary inventions. This story captures her family’s love affair with food and what’s more, each chapter comes with an illustrated recipe.
Age group: 10+
This is the engaging story of an enterprising teenager from Malawi who constructed a windmill from scrap metal and bicycle parts, to generate electricity for his village. In this book that he has co-written with Bryan Mealer, William Kamkwamba shares his inspiring journey. This is a tale of tenacity and personal triumph, of inventiveness and innovation overcoming even natural disasters. It relates how the teenager went on to create a better life for himself, his family and, his entire community. The picture book comes with illustrations and photographs.
Age group: 4+
This story is inspired by Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl living in 1930s Havana who dreamed of playing the drums, but was told by her father that only boys can make music. Everyone had unquestioningly followed that rule, but not Millo didn’t give up. She held onto her dreams. She practised until her music rang all over the island. Until everyone sang and danced to her dream-bright drum music. Until everyone realised that both boys and girls should have the freedom to follow their heart and, be free to drum and dream.
All books are available online.
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