Pin It
Monday, April 22nd, 2013

A Children’s Story Set in India: Bijoy and the Big River

By

Bijoy and the Big River

By Meera Sriram and Praba Ram

 

What’s it like to grow up on a river that serves as your family and community’s livelihood? That’s the setting of this story that follows a day in the life of a young boy, Bijoy, growing up in Northeast India along the Burha Luit river.

 

Bijoy loves to swim in the river and spot xihu, an endangered species of dolphin, which is generally blind. He also takes the boat with his deuta, father, to a weaving village where they deliver the silk that his parents, who are silk farmers, grow and produce. His deuta raises eri silkworms in their backyard while his mother spins the silk. Beautifully illustrated with actual photographs, the pictures allow us to better understand the setting, including boats on a calm river, women spinning silk and close-up shots of the silkworm and cocoon—who knew creatures that looked like that produced such luxurious material!

 

The story is both fun for children to follow along since it has elements kids will love—worms, dolphins, boats, a rhino—but it is also educational. As the story unfolds, notes in the margins tell us fun facts about the river and region, which are very helpful to understanding the past and present of the village and culture. For example, one fascinating thing I learned is that “In many methods of silk harvesting, the silkworm is killed before it matures into an adult moth. However the eri silkworm is allowed to develop fully and…is not harmed in the process, eri is known as ‘Peace Silk’.”

 

The book is part of the “Where I Live” series, which explores daily life for children in different settings across India. The authors’ inspiration to write this style of books originates from a blend of their own childhood in India and their own love of children’s books. For Meera Sriram, one of the co-authors of the book, the books she read in school in India growing up were largely always British stories, which did not reflect everyday life around her. This discrepancy was the subconscious thread that later guided her into writing children’s stories set in India that would both mirror the life children experienced around them in India, and be educational for children everywhere.

 

This book is the authors’ third. Both their first book “Dinaben and the Lions of Gir” and their second, “Subbu and the Signal” were included by the Indian National School Board on the “Recommended Reading List” for children—a huge triumph for the authors that Indian children’s books are starting to gain more ground in a curriculum previously dominated by British’s children’s stories.

 

Bijoy and the Big River copy

 

© 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Almost African: My Childhood as a Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

The freedom of growing up as the only Serbo-Croatian in Sudan

How Bilingualism Can Fail in Multilingual Families

It’s easy to raise bilingual kids when you speak a second language, right? Wrong.

6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan

Our top picks for Muslim and non-Muslim kids alike

Around the World in One Semester

Welcome to our newest blogger--a world traveling, homeschooling mom--to the InCultureParent family!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

2 Comments
  1. CommentsMeena   |  Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I love this site, and will be buying this book for my daughter! On the India note, we just finished Nina and the Travelling Spice Shed that is about an Indian girl born and raised in England who has trouble relating to her parents and her Indian-ness until she goes to India. My daughter really enjoyed it and we’re reading it now for hte second time for her bedtime story – and best of all the little girl on the cover looks like her too!

  2. CommentsMeera Sriram   |  Thursday, 25 July 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Thank you, Meena! Hope you and your daughter like the book. And I’ll keep the title you’ve recommended in mind, sounds like a wonderful book!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.

Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children's Books

Children need to see the world around them reflected in books.
[…] and cardboard, complete with plastic bag streamers! If you’d like to make your own dragon mask, here are the instructions (scroll down to the bottom for the masks). Although the masks o...
From 5 Crafts for the Chinese New Year
[…] linkje naar  een blogpost van JC Niala waar het gaat om het verschil tussen Westerse en Afrikaanse […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Map nerd here, i really dislike that all these maps use projections that make greenland hug...
From 10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room
[…] you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.    Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Han When I breastfed in the park, grandmothers would...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] Why African Babies Don’t Cry In the UK, it was understood that babies cry. In Kenya, it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry. If they do—somethi...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi there, I'm in Port Edward and am dying to get two children's maps of the world. Where can I get them? Regar...
From 10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room
I'm going crazy! Mother in law has lived with us for 4 1/2 yrs and she's a dirty nasty slob. She does zero house cleaning and leaves garbage and wrappers all over the place. Her room is wall to wall...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I had a baby boy the 13th of May 2015.... In a private hospital, verrrry western! One night the Baby was crying and crying... Non stop ... Nothing I did worked!! I was in a ward with 3 other woman,...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Salam I came across your post and found it very good..... I need an advice .. I have a one yr old daughter... My husband works in dubai. ..... I have to do training for my specialization am a...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline

More Multicultural Books, Etc.