I recommend reading the whole piece…
This extract is from the start.
Why don’t international book lists really get Indian kid-lit? A question I have often pondered, and am sure others in the industry have as well.
Two years ago, The Guardian, which has excellent recommendation for kid-lit and YA Books, published an article titled, “What are the best children’s books about India?” The list included some outstanding books, but most weren’t really representative of the country’s diverse kid-lit. Especially if you’re looking for slice-of-life stories. Two of the selections, for instance, were folk tales. Another pick, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, isn’t really the best example, when there’s an entire fleet of publishers creating some fantastic new children’s literature in English in our country. The more updated list actually comes from Duckbill’s Sayoni Basu in the comments section of the piece.
Where are the books?
More recently, website Book Riot did a list of “Young Adult/Crossover Titles from India”. The writer bemoans how hard is it “to find the casual inclusion of LGBTQIA+ characters in YA”. But then the list doesn’t even include Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar or Talking of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar, two tremendous examples of LGBT books for young adults.
Let’s accept it — international writers aren’t really culpable here. The fact is that it’s hard for even Indian children, teens, and parents to find good literature — and that’s not because it isn’t being published. Children’s publishing in India is evolving in leaps and bounds — we are seeing an upsurge of powerful storytelling, writers breaking traditional moulds, and publishers bashing stereotypes. And when done right, those books are fun and fabulous.