Sunday, September 29, 2019

Shrilok Homeless - Book Review

Book Review

This book by Pika Nani is based on the similar lines as Conan Doyle's Sherlok Holmes 
but the cases are adapted to present day Mumbai.

Description :

No case is bizarre enough for detective Shrilok, a chaiwala with a penchant for deduction,
 disguises and drama, and his partner in crime, Rohan Doctor. Be it a hand turning up in a
 steel lunchbox, a stolen rose diamond reappearing in a vada pav, a selfie-scandal in 
Bollywood, the Red Signal League of blind beggars or the dogs of Bhaskarville disappearing 
into the fog, the duo is sure to nab the suspects. They crack ten thrilling cases, no problem,
 but will Shrilok be a match for his nemesis, Masterji, in his ultimate encounter?"

Review :

This book is a short collection of 10 detective cases divided into short stories. The writing 
style of the author is simple and lucid. The characters are well created.

Overall it is a good book to introduce to detective series to young children. I have read her
 Shrilok Homeless Volume 2 and I quite enjoyed reading the book.  I must say that I wasn't disappointed reading this book either. It is a very quick and easy read. You can read it in one 
day. It is appropriate for kids 11 years and above.

About the Author :

Pika Nani is the author of 'The Adventures of Shrilok Homeless' (2017, Penguin Random House) and 'Little Indians' - Stories from across the country' (2013, Tulika books)
'Pika Nani' is a pen name from the writer's childhood.

Rating : 4/5

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

How to be a good Story Teller

In my previous posts, I talked about Storytelling, its Benefits (here) and Techniques of Storytelling (here).

I love telling stories to my son, niece and nephew. It is  lovely to see them engrossed in the story and enjoy themselves.There's a reason why so many people flock to the movies or spend hours reading novels – it's because we love to get lost in a good story. And if you ever listen to a good conversation, you'll notice that a lot of connection happens when people share stories with each other.

Here  are some tips which will help you become a good story teller.

1. Pick a main character your child will love:

Small children love it when you tell them about someone or something they already know because it helps them to relate better. For example, it can be your pet, his favourite toy, some family member etc.

2.  Add some dramatic effects :

Part of making it dramatic is creating an element of surprise. When something dramatic is about to happen, you can pause a little to let the momentum build. You can also add in some extra details to make it more enjoyable. For example, if the Bear was eating lunch, you can say that the Bear was eating a peanut butter sandwich. These extra details will help to keep kids attention.

3. Holding Interest :

Children do not have a large attention span. It is very difficult to hold their attention for a long time. So you have to be careful that your story is not too long .

4. Create a Plot :

If you are making an imaginary story, crate a plot before hand and you can add something extra ordinary , like going to a fantasy land. You can also have your main character have a hobby or some activity that your child likes. This way he can relate to the story easily and it can be a learning activity as well.

5.  Learn a story that has some repetitive element :

The easiest way to tell a story smoothly is to learn some story which has some repetitive element which makes it easier for you to narrate the story. For example, in The Three Little Pigs, The wolf Huffs and Puffs each time he tries to blow down the house.

6. If there are more children , you can make them a part of the story :

If you are telling a story to a group of more than 4 children, you can get a few children to be the characters of the story. You can use your imagination to make their costumes and make the whole story telling process a wonderful experience for the kids.

7. Make them do an activity after the story :

Kids love to do activities. After telling them the story you can do some simple activities related to the story, like colouring, counting activity or a craft. By doing activities, the kids tend to remember the story better.

Do you like telling stories to children ? Please share in comments.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Techniques of Story Telling

In the previous post I had talked about story telling and its benefits. (here )
Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener's imagination. It is an ancient art that extends around the globe.

You can make your story telling experience more enjoyable, interactive and knowledgeable by using the following techniques :

1. Tell the story like you talk :

This technique is very simple. Talk like you normally talk to children as if you are having a conversation with them.

2. Story telling with Movement :

Story telling with movement makes it possible for children to physically participate in the story. You can encourage your child to make a specific gesture or sound when they hear a specific word. You can even involve pretend play in your story telling. For example, in The Little Red Riding Hood Story he can be the wolf .

3. Story telling with props /accessories :

Story telling with props and accessories is always a lot of fun. For example, for the Hansel and Gretel Story, you can make the Witch's house with candies and chocolates. For The Little Red Riding Hood story, you can have a recipe of baked goods, a picture of the wolf or you can dress up Like the Little Red Riding Hood.

4. Story telling with a magnetic board :

The greatest advantage of using this method is that it makes it possible for children to tell stories in their own words and involves their favorite characters.

5. Story Telling with puppets :

Children love puppets. You can either make the puppets yourself or you can buy them online or from the market.

6Storytelling using picture clues :

Picture clue stories involve a combination of words and pictures. They are great for developing reading skills. Even if children are unable to read actual words, they can participate in the act of storytelling.

7.  Involve them :

You can ask your child what he thinks would happen next. Let him think and explore his imagination .

These are some simple techniques that you can use for story telling and make the whole experience enjoyable for your child.

In the next post, I will discuss how to be good story teller .

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Why is story telling important for children ?

What is story telling ?

Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener's imagination. It is an ancient art that extends around the globe.

It  can be used as a method to teach ethics, values and cultural norms and differences. 

History of story telling :

Storytelling predates writing. The earliest forms of storytelling were usually oral combined with gestures and expressions. Some stories have lasted hundreds and thousands of years and are still being told.We are surrounded by stories everyday, be it in the form of news, movie, song, etc.

Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values. Reading to a child can increase their willingness to express themselves and communicate their thoughts and feelings. 

Benefits of story telling :

1. Improves Language Skills:

When babies and toddlers listen to stories, they get the chance to listen to lots of words in a unique way, which helps to expand their vocabulary.

2 Improves listening skills :

Telling stories helps children to improve their listening skills. When a story is narrated to a child , he concentrates and listens to what the story teller is saying.

3. Boosts Memory:

It helps to improve memory especially when the images are present while story telling a story. The child has to remember the facts ,which in turn boosts the memory.

4. Builds Curiosity :

It builds curiosity in a child's mind when you pause while narrating the story. He becomes eager to know what will happen next which helps in the over all brain development of the child.

5. Improves cognitive skills:

Storytelling forces children to think and imagine out of the box which improves the cognitive skills of a child.

6. Makes them empathetic :

Stories can teach a child to be sensitive towards others by being in their place.

7. Makes your imagination grow :

Stories help children to imagine a lot of scenarios which are not common in their day to day lives.The children can imagine a fantasy land or dream of a jungle full of chocolates !

8. Inculcates good morals and ethics in children :

There are a lot of stories which teach children to be honest, kind, punctual, respect their elders.

9. Improves Communication:

A lot of times, children hesitate to ask questions. By telling stories we give a platform to children not hesitate and ask a lot of questions, which improves communication skills.

10. Helps in facing a difficult situation:

There are a lot of stories where the main character has to face a lot of difficulties to reach a certain goal. These stories become great examples for children in their day to day lives to overcome difficult situations.

11.Enhances cultural understanding:

By telling stories, children get introduced to a lot of new cities, countries and people which helps them to understand various traditions, values and experiences.

12. Improves relationship :

The special time that you spend with your child helps in improving your bond with your child and builds a strong relationship.

 Methods of story telling coming up in the next post. Stay Tuned !

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Adulting - Book Review

Book Review 

Book Name - Adulting
Author - Neharika Gupta @neharikagupta23
Publisher - @harpercollinsin
Format - Paperback
Genre - Fiction / Romance

What really attracted me to the book was the title and the cover. I must say that I wasn't disappointed at all.

The story is about three people - Tejas, Ruhi and Aisha. Aisha - the social media manager is smart, flirt and flamboyant. She is worried about being fat and body shaming. Ruhi, her friend is completely different. What keeps her keeps her going are her ambitions and her writer boyfriend, Tejas. Tejas leans on Ruhi for emotional and professional support but gets carried away by Aisha. In the middle of all this he completely ignores his work commitments.

Do you think will Ruhi and Tejas get back together again? Or Tejas and Aisha become the hot and happening couple? To know more read the book.

Review :

I loved the fact that the book was fast paced. Narration was crisp and simple . The characters and the story are relatable as this is what is happening in our society today.

The book is full of ups and downs. You will laugh, enjoy and feel the pain at the same time while reading. Apart from being a love story, it emphasis on friendship and struggle.

Overall a quick and enjoyable read. Perfect for the weekends!

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

About the Author :

Neharika writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.She worked as an editor for a year before deciding to take the quill in her own hands. Neharika is passionate about food and travel writing. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry and scuba diving around the world. Neharika graduated from Bath Spa University’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 with an overall Merit score and Distinctions in both her poetry modules.

Click here to read another wonderful book review of conspiracy of aunts
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Saturday, September 14, 2019

I Will Forget You Too - Book Review

Book review 

Book Name - I will forget you too
Author         - Abhilash Aman
Publisher    - White Falcon Publishing 
Genre         - Fiction / Romance 

Description :

Rules will never stop you from loving someone; they can't. But they will stop you from living the love; yes, they will. My heart and soul are still somewhere waiting at the stairs or maybe in the corridor of our school as if she’d come someday and say, "let’s walk together till the last. Let’s not measure the consequences this time; let’s not fear."

It's the story of a boy who falls in love with a girl. In love, he gradually begins to change. He begins to like everything associated with the girl. People say love never happens twice. But it happened to him, although for the same girl, again and again. Find out if the girl loved him back? If they ever got together? This book is a must read for those who want to relive their first love, the purest form indeed.

Review :

I thought that the book was easy and simple to read. I finished reading it in a day. The story line
is simple. I could relate to it because as teenagers all of us go through flings in school, some
tend to be serious affairs and some just time pass affairs which fizzle out by the time you go
to college.

I love the way, the author described strong friendship in a very good way. the emotions that
Abhilash went through were also very real. Overall a good book.

The cover of the book is attractive which reminds you of the school days. The language is
simple and easy to understand without any twists and turns. 

About the author :

 Author is a Senior Software Engineer who is an NIT Patna Alumnus. He is also interested in
poetry. He calls himself an engineer by profession, an author by passion and a poet by emotion.

Rating  - 4/5 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Why is finger painting important for toddlers ?

Benefits of Finger Painting for Toddlers

Child, Portrait, Laugh, Face, Human

I love to paint and explore different mediums of colour. I have used water colour, fabric colour , poster colour and oil paints on canvas. It makes my mood soar and fly. Painting gives expression to my thoughts.

I want my son to learn painting too.I started doing a lot of painting activities with T when he was a baby. Finger painting is our favourite activity.

Young children love messy play. This gives them  opportunity to use their hands and finger freely to create whatever they want. There are a lot of sensory experiences going on during this time which are very important for your little one to experience.

You do not have to create a big fancy painting set up for your child. All you need is a sheet of paper and some paints. These days the paints which are available in the market are also non toxic. even if they put their fingers in their mouth, it won't harm them

Human Rights, Equality, Rainbow, Lgbt

Benefits of Finger Painting :
  1. It is easy for little babies to to paint with their fingers as their fingers are not yet ready to hold the brush.
  2. The child learns to express his feelings on paper.
  3. It stimulates your child's senses ( touch, feel ,see , taste - edible colours )
  4. It helps in child's intellectual development.While painting, a child uses a variety of colours, so it is helpful in colour recognition. It is pure joy to see when they mix two colours to form a third colour. It is like magic for a child.
  5. One of the most essential benefit of finger painting is that it promotes hand eye co-ordination and control.
  6. It helps to create spatial awareness and muscle control, if the painting is done on the floor.
  7. It promotes social skills, like sharing pots ,working together as team.
  8. Develops communication skill when finger painting is done a s a group activity.
  9. Studies have shown that it is a relaxing, therapeutic way to express feelings.
  10. It is MESSY, which means it is a lot of FUN too.
  11. It improves their fine motor skills, strengthens fingers and hand muscles.
Must read ,how to get toddlers to do painting to get some some wonderful tips 

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

I also slept with Rashmi Vema - Book Review

Book Review

Book Name -  I also slept with Rashmi Verma
Author         -  Love Thon
Format         -  Kindle

Description :

I Also Slept With Rashmi Verma is a college campus story with a central love interest forming the backbone of the book where the author loves the lead protagonist Rashmi Verma and tries unsuccessfully to have sex with her only to succeed right at the end. She, in turn, sleeps with all his friends and denies him all the time. This central theme of erotic love forms the backbone of campus life with college festivals, group fights, pot-smoking, chaddi grabbing and stealing of examination papers. You will meet quirky characters like Peanut John, Raizada, Ani Bahal and Mama Molester. Come get laid this winter. She is waiting – our very own Rashmi Verma.

Review :

I picked up  this book because the cover looked very interesting. It is bright and I assumed it depicted the different moods of a woman. Also, I thought it would be a romantic , quick read love story of a college couple, their relationship . But I absolutely wrong!

 I was highly disappointed when I read the book. The author has portrayed a woman's character in a very negative way. I completely understand that erotica can be a harsh and a challenging genre to write and dive into but the language used in the book is also very offensive  and derogatory. Most of the chapters do not have any connect to each other.

Rating - 2/5 

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Building Blocks and its Benefits

In my previous post we talked about puzzles. In this post I will explain about building blocks and their benefits. In simple language, building blocks are a set of cube shaped blocks used by children to make simple constructions. Toy blocks can be wooden, plastic or foam pieces of various shapes ( circle, triangle, square, rectangle ) and colours that are used as construction toys.Sometimes toy blocks depict letters of the alphabet. Toy blocks are very powerful learning tools.

Small children feel very happy and accomplished when they make their block tower higher and higher. When it tips over they laugh and do it all over again. But to make that one tower, takes a lot of skill! Building blocks is one of the best educational toys for toddlers that develop multiple skills in a child.

 I got a set of stacking blocks and colourful rings for my son when he was ten months old. Initially I sat with him and helped him stack up the blocks. But slowly he was able to do it himself. It takes a lot of effort for a tiny toddler to stack up all the blocks. It is a lot of hard work for them !

 Benefits of building blocks :

  Hand Eye Co-ordination :

The child learns to place the blocks in such a way that they don't topple over.

 Better Motor skills :

 The act of grasping the blocks itself serves as good practice for gripping objects, and strengthens the fingers and hands of the child.

 Toy blocks promote better spatial reasoning:

Spatial reasoning has been defined as the ability to generate, retain, retrieve, and transform well structured visual images. Over a period of time, after putting blocks together, the children become aware of their spatial intelligence.

 Building Blocks helps in promoting mental stimulation :

 Children learn to think logically while playing with building blocks. After failing a few times , the child realizes how to build the blocks properly.An older child realizes that he has to make stronger base at the bottom and then construct upwards.

 Help in improving math and vocabulary skills:

 It has been proved that building blocks help in improving child's language and mathematical skills. While playing with blocks , they can learn the names of colours, different shapes and sizes of blocks. Mathematical skills are improved as they learn how to count, add up or subtract the number of building blocks while making a structure.

 Improves Creativity:

 Creativity comes early in life when it comes to kids. If children are exposed to building blocks at an early age,they start thinking creatively. You will see that they start creating different structures. 

Building blocks encourages positive social interaction :

 Building blocks are a great way for kids to play together as a team. They learn to work together ,accomplish a task and interact with others socially. When this starts happening at an early age, the kids also learn great communication and social skills. 

Tips : Getting most from your toy blocks: 

  • Play along with your child and demonstrate how to build a structure. Challenge kids with specific building tasks. For eg. you can show them a pattern or a picture and ask them to make the same. 
  • Stimulate interest in toy blocks by providing children with toy blocks and other accessories. For eg., You can give them car or people or a cow, they might think of making a barn. this also great for pretend play. 
  • Combine blocks with story time. This is a wonderful way of making kids use their imagination. After reading the story you can give them a set of blocks and ask them to make something related to the story.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Why puzzles should be introduced to toddlers ?

As a kid , while growing up, I used to love making Jigsaw puzzles. I used immense concentration and completing it fast gave me great satisfaction. It boosted up my self confidence.

In simple language, a puzzle is a game , problem or  toy that tests a person's knowledge.In a puzzle, the solver is expected to come to put pieces together in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct solution of the puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle consists of small irregularly cut pieces that are to be fitted together to form a picture. Any kind of pictures can be used to form a jigsaw puzzle.

Small babies find it difficult to put together pieces, but you can start by doing stacking activities with them, or putting objects in a large container, sorting blocks of different colours. You can start these activities with babies when they are about 10 months old. There are some puzzles available with matching pictures underneath each picture, to support their eye, hand and visual perception skills.

Wooden Puzzles and plastic puzzles with knobs are the best for kids who are one year old. They can easily pick up the pieces and put them . You get variety of option to choose from, - Farm Animals, Wild Animals, Fruits, Vegetables, Transport, Shapes, Colours. You can buy 2-3 puzzles initially, sit and teach your child, then let him put the pieces back himself.


For kids, aged 2-3 years, you can introduce number and alphabet puzzles. Also at this stage you can introduce 12 piece puzzle to them.  You can keep 4-5 different puzzles and keep rotating. You get lots of different types of puzzles for 2-3 year olds, like fruits, vegetables, counting, alphabet matching, complex shapes, pattern making.

Floor puzzles with big pieces are also very good for kids. A child, 3 years of age can easily put together a 20-30 piece puzzle over time.

It is very important to introduce puzzles to kids because:

1. They help in improving hand eye coordination of the children.
2. They are very helpful in developing their cognitive skills. It helps them to think, use their logic and put pieces together.
3. Solving puzzles helps to improve short term memory. It helps in reinforcing connections between the brain cells. It improves mental speed and thought processes.
4. It gives the children a sense of achievement that they have accomplished something.
5. It improves their problem solving skills.
6. if a child is cranky and is bored, puzzles are one of the best ways to distract him, It improves 
their mood.
7. Jigsaw puzzles are reusable. You can use them a number of times.

I introduced puzzles to my son when he was eleven months old. I would like to suggest all mothers to use jigsaw puzzles with their children to enhance their mental faculties.

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Book Review - Spiritual Anatomy: Meditation, Chakras, and the Journey to the Center

 BOOK REVIEW  Title               :   Spiritual Anatomy:                                Meditation, Chakras, and the Journey to the Center A...