Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Travel to Mumbai, India with 5 Children’s Books

Travel to Mumbai, India with 5 Children’s Books

Intrigued when you hear India? Excited about a trip ahead? Find out about the colors, chaos and everything else that’s India through these books that are as whimsical and exotic as the country itself.



Excuse Me, Is This India? by Anita Leutiwiler and Anushka Ravishankar
A mouse peeping out of an auto-rickshaw is the image on the cover. Quilt like spreads with pictures stitched together bring city scenes to life as we go further into the book. Nonsense verse adds whim to the silly tale. And through a child’s imagination we are magically traveling the streets in India in this wonderful pick that’ll prep you for a trip.




Lily’s Garden of India by Jeremy Smith

A little girl is skipping in her garden. Not just an ordinary garden but an exotic one that her mother has carefully designed and nurtured with plants from all around the world. Welcomed by the Garden of India, Lily, “speaks” to jasmines and marigolds. She meets neem, mango, banyan and coconut trees as well. And during every encounter, the plants share their story of who they are and what they do. And through their conversation we get a glimpse of places, people and customs in India. We are also introduced to the tea plant and the lotus flower before a tired Lily retires and goes back to mother. Flowers, plants and fruits are a common sight anywhere. And isn’t it a great idea to know the native flora when you visit?



Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
In this funny and light-hearted story we meet a family complete with a set of entertaining grandparents from India, particularly Dadaji, the old man. Although the story does not take place in India, it still takes us to distant villages through Dadaji’s tall tales. Once we get past his whimsical and rustic adventures, we are ready to roll out some rotis with our little hero, Aneel. At the end, we’ve picked up the recipe to delicious rotis, a bunch of useful Hindi words, and a fun tale to savor on the flight to Mumbai.



The Road to Mumbai by Ruth Jeyaveeran
Shobha, our little female lead and her snobbish pet monkey, Fuzzy Patel, are on their way to a wedding in Mumbai. But the road to Mumbai isn’t quick or easy. They pass several landscapes and meet many others, although Fuzzy refuses to invite anyone. Be it the curious camel that offers a ride or the interesting line-up of elephants. But everyone somehow ends up at the wedding! And where is Shobha at the end? Quirky with sights and things commonly labeled Indian, this book capitalizes on impulsive imagination, playful use of colors and an amusing storyline.



Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami
Monsoon quite instantly transports us to a hot and humid city in India, dying for the clouds to burst and wet the earth. The anticipation is building in everyone even as life moves on unabated. Extremely detailed illustrations capture the perfect image of a bustling city in India with wandering cattle, busy hoardings, posters and road signs, and two-wheelers and taxis in action. Soon, we feel the wind and smell the rain. Narrated in the voice of a girl, the words bring the city alive. This is a great book to introduce living in India to young children.


Want some more ideas on traveling to India?

How about playing some songs with your kids! Here are our suggestions of great kid’s music from India, both from films and non-films.


Hindi Film Music:
Lakdi ki kathi from the movie Masoom.

Ichak Dana Beechak Dana from Shree 420.

Sare Ke Sare Gama Ko Lekar from Parichay and check out the animated version.

Remama Remama Re from Andaz.


Non-Film Music:
Sare Jahan se Achcha—this one also has a nice video with scenes from around India.

Vande Mataram.

And how about checking out the Indian national anthem, Jana Gana Mana? Here it is.


Let’s also make some Indian-inspired crafts and food for a complete learning unit on India.



Easy Indian lanterns from glass jars and tissue paper.



Flowers from handprints.




Sweet Indian treat—besan ladoo.


Almond spiced milk.


Yummy greens—sarson ka sag.

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Meera Sriram has been reviewing and recommending diverse children’s literature for about ten years now. She loves to pass on a title or an author to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter). Picture books particularly appeal to the inner child in her. She moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium from India. After graduate studies and a brief stint as an electrical engineer, she decided to express herself in other creative ways, primarily through writing. She has co-authored four books for children, all published in India. Her writing interests include people and cultures, nature, and life’s everyday moments. She also runs an early literacy program for toddlers and preschoolers in her neighboring communities. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and two kids. Curling up to read a good book with her children is something she looks forward to every day. She constantly fantasizes about a world with no boundaries over hot chai, to help her stay warm in foggy Northern California. More at

Leave us a comment!

  1. CommentsInCultureParent | Travel to Beijing with 5 Children’s Books   |  Thursday, 08 August 2013 at 8:21 pm

    […] far in our summer travel series, we have journeyed to Paris then Mumbai and now Beijing. Here are five books to introduce your little one to China whether to prep for an […]

  2. CommentsAnna@The Measured Mom   |  Saturday, 07 September 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Love, love book lists. Thanks for sharing this one at the After School Linkup! Pinning!

  3. CommentsNatalie   |  Sunday, 08 September 2013 at 7:30 am

    I loved this list. We read The Road to Mumbai several times over years. I am pinning it for our next “pass through” for India 🙂 Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

  4. CommentsThe Weekend Leader   |  Thursday, 07 November 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Meera! Great to find an original listing! . you might like to check out this article on 15 must see places in Mumbai –

  5. CommentsFarhana Zia   |  Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Hello, Meera,
    Can you believe that I just now stumbled on your very nice review of Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji? I should get out of the arm chair and journey the internet more often. Thank you , thank you.
    Farhana Zia

  6. Commentsshamim padamsee   |  Saturday, 30 August 2014 at 4:48 am

    Hi Meera, I was so excited to find your site. I am passionate about promoting India-centric books for children and select and review the best of Indian books. Perhaps you would like to share the information with your readers?

  7. CommentsMeera Sriram   |  Tuesday, 02 September 2014 at 10:50 am

    I’m glad you found us, Farhana! My son loves HHRFDJ!

    Thank you for your comment, Shamim. You can email me at if you’d like to connect offline regarding promoting good books, we are always excited to share them!

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