Unseen Passage: Children’s Literature in India

The children’s literature being produced in India nowadays includes much more than just stories and folktales rich in morals and traditions. The output of its writers and illustrators in a variety of genres and in a plethora of languages reflects India’s complex and ever-changing multilingual society. They also break through and go beyond long-standing gender, cultural and social stereotypes. The unique challenges and opportunities Indian children’s book creators face-or those in the diaspora writing about India-help create what one of our interviewees poetically calls the “rainbow-colored horizon” of Indian children’s literature.

Children’s publishing in India is poised for growth in every way. With education becoming a priority area, the demand for books for the growing population of young people can only go up.

Traditional retellings have been staple fare for publishers for their very small children’s lists as they are ‘safe’ and they don’t have to worry about copyright. More publishers are becoming willing to publish new authors, experiment with new formats, and find synergy with other media that are competing for the mind-space of the urban child. Maybe future books will be inspired by gaming and more merchandise will be inspired by books. Marketing will remain important in creating a positive buzz around books and reading. Books will influence TV and films and in turn be influenced by them. Comics and graphic formats seem poised for the great leap forward. Young Adult Fiction will have a permeable boundary with Adult Fiction.

Production standards for children’s books will improve as there will be greater exposure to wellproduced books world-wide. The internet will create new ways to read and share and peer-review books. It may also enable many new talents to emerge as more people will be able to put up their work online.

Q. On the basis of your reading and understanding of the above passage, answer the following:

  1. Why is Indian children’s literature written in a plethora of languages?
  2. Is the author hopeful of a good future of Indian children’s literature? Which sentence says so?
  3. How will children’s literature produced worldwide help Indian children’s literature?
  4. Which format of children’s literature will become popular in future?
  5. Which of the following words can replace the word ‘plethora’ in para 1?
    1. excess
    2. variety
    3. numerous
    4. different
  6. Children’s books will be inspired by
    1. Gaming and TV
    2. folktales
    3. TV and films
    4. both (1) and (3)
  7. Which word is the antonym of ‘permeable’ – impassable or porous ?
  8. Children of which area get exposed to children’s literature as well as other media ?

Answer

  1. Indian children’s literature is written in a plethora of languages so that children of various languages can read the books.
  2. Yes, the author is hopeful. ‘Children’s publishing in India is poised for growth in every way.’
  3. Children’s literature produced world-wide will help Indian children’s literature by exposing it well produced books and thus, inspiring it to improve its production standards.
  4. Books in the format of comics and graphics will become popular in future.
  5. variety
  6. both (1) and (3)
  7. impassable
  8. Children of urban area get exposed to children’s literature as well as other media.

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