Readers read for so many reasons, to escape reality, for a taste of adventure, to find meaning to life, to gain knowledge, and sometimes, to ward off loneliness, to find friends and human connections. Here are a few books that you can read and share with your friends. They make for a great gift – “books to gift” to your friends.
Stephen Aitken and Sylvia Sikundar
Little Cloud has set out on a journey to find friends. Come, join her as she rides on wind high up in the sky and over distant lands. Meet her new friends, and discover amazing cloud facts!
Bookistaan says: Little cloud is lonely and craves friends. Join her as she explores the sky, high and low, to find a family of her own. Learn all about clouds with her and find out if she finds a home in the vast, infinite sky. The book is a perfect blend of facts and fiction and the colourful spreads make for a fun read.
A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.)
Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.
Bookistaan says: Friendship, companionship, relations are common themes in Oliver Jeffers’ book. In this tale of two friends who do everything together, Jeffers explored what happens when one friend wants to try something alone. The book in so many words explores how altruistic friends can be, how a true friend stick with you no matter what, let’s you be your own person and is always waiting to catch you after a long, hard day!
Manya badly, badly wants to be Shere Khan in her school play. The Jungle Book is her favourite film and she knows all the lines. She’s sure she’ll be a superb Shere Khan.
But not everyone thinks so. Her classmate Rajat is always making fun of her stammer. Her English teacher thinks it’s risky to let her get on stage and her principal seems to agree.
The more anxious Manya gets, the worse her stammer becomes. Will Manya lose her dream role? Can she overcome her fears and learn to roar?
This book was a winner in the Children First writing competition, organised by Parag, an initiative of Tata Trusts and Duckbill Books
Bookistaan says: Manya is a strong character, reading the blurb I’d expected a meek character, but she came as a welcome surprise. She knows how to put up a brave face in times of crisis and holds her ground even when it’s shaking beneath her feet. The book covers issues like disability, bullying and bias and aims to make its reader conscious/sensitive about them. The idea is not to incite pity but empathy, and the book does that job well. It aims to make its reader into a considerate citizen without making the person with a disability a victim. Also, the book will resonate with a lot of readers, young and adults, because it talks about the road to your dream, the hurdles that come along the way, the criticism, the doubts, everything. It’s quite an inspiring read in that sense.
In many ways Tootsie is like any eight-year-old in the hilly town of Darjeeling. But in many ways she is completely different – she lives on her own and cooks her meals. One day Tootsie decides she would like a delicious bowl of thukpa, just like her aama used to make it. Now all she needs is a plan
Bookistaan says: This book for me had major Pippi Longstocking vibes. The main character is an orphan who has no parental authority telling her what to do, how to behave. She is spirited and keen on adventure and one fateful afternoon, when she is craving Thukpa, she along with her best friend embarks on a notorious adventure. I loved the writing and setting of the book, and even though the ending felt a little moralistic to me, I still feel it’s one of those few Indian treasures not many people know about.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
Bookistaan says: A powerful, well crafted story about getting through a very difficult time with the help of a little imagination. Jackson is a serious, responsible, precocious nine year old boy who’s seen is fare share of ups and downs, he believes in facts and that’s what makes the imaginary friend plot all the more effective for me, it emphasises how we all need imagination to survive, even the prudes.
Another thing that really worked for me was how the parents tried to protect the children from the situation and how Jackson kept wishing that they’d just talk to him. It again showed how perceptive children can be and how sometimes in trying to protect them, we, as parents, forget to prepare them to face difficulties.
What do you do when you are all alone, with no friends at all?
Elizabeth is apprehensive about going back to Hill School. For a start, it has now become the Hill School for Holistic Learning. Her best friend has left school and she is all alone.
And when school begins, everything is different. There are no exams or classes, they have to talk to trees and do weird things like dance yoga. For the class project, Elizabeth is teamed with with three girls – Mahrukh, whom she knows slightly and Ayesha and Maitreyi, two new girls whom she does not like. As if this weren’t bad enough, Elizabeth manages to lose a historic journal .
Bookistaan says: I don’t think change ever gets easy, but I think it’s even more difficult when you’re young. Elizabeth is going through a phase of change, having lost her best friend to a boarding school, she feels lonely and out of place. The fact that her school philosophy is undergoing major changes adds to her feeling of alienation. A group project throws her in for an adventure with three girls she doesn’t like and what follows is a sleuth mission that turns four unsuspecting, unwilling teenagers into friends.
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
Bookistaan says: I read this classic about over a decade ago and I still remember it blew my mind. It has such a unique storytelling style, was unpredictable and how the mystery unfolds is pure bliss. It was just the right amount of spooky and I couldn’t put it down. The book explores the history of the main characters, the narrative swinging between the past and present, resulting in a multi generational, multi layered story about friendship, loyalty, redemption and how history does and doesn’t affect our lives.
Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbours, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day. But baby-sitting isn’t always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.
Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels SMILE and SISTERS, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!
Bookistaan says: This new colourful adaptation of the original classic series by Ann M. Martin add vibrancy to an already deliciously delightful story. In the story, four friends come together to start a club to make some extra money, a club that becomes instrumental in strengthening their sisterhood. The first book is about Kristy and how she comes up with the idea of the club and then executes it, while also dealing with a changing home dynamics. It’s a reflective study of growing up, friendship, supporting one another and navigating through the puzzle that is teenage. The graphic novel version means that the book is a quick read, but even so, it has quite a few layers and emotions to convey.