Written by: Praba Ram & Sheela Preuitt
Illustrated by: Shilpa Ranade
For ages: 4-8 years
Language: English & some Tibetan
Topics Covered: Friendship, Community, Disability, Cooking, Family, Global Community, Problem-Solving, Tibet, Ladakh Region.
Summary: Tsering, our main character, is walking home. He is excited to eat some delicious thukpa, a hearty and spicy soup. Tsering is blind, and moves a white stick in front of himself while walking so Tsering knows what’s in front of him. As he walks, Tsering listens to the sounds of his village and invites his friends over for some thukpa as well.
Tsering in this story is very much an active-doer. He helps people along his journey, is kind to his neighbors and friends, and is embedded in the community as a kind and helpful person. Tsering is given tasks to complete and asked why he is always walking so quickly. This narrative is really refreshing for a blind character, especially a protagonist. Tsering is the one finishing projects, finding lost lambs, and gathering vegetables for the thukpa. The sensory elements of the story add to the read-aloud experience, and make the entire story experience very detailed. The reader can immerse themselves in the experience of Tsering’s daily life, and the strong friendships he has with other individuals that live in the village. I especially love the part of the story where Tsering is the problem-solver when the power goes out. It doesn’t matter to him! He finishes cooking the meal for everyone until the power comes back on.
At the end of the book is more information about Ladakh, a desert in India where the story takes place. There is also a glossary of the Tibetan words used in the story, and a thukpa recipe so the reader can make their own soup!
About the Authors & the Illustrator:
Praba Ram is a children’s writer, a reading specialist and an early literacy advocate. She is the founder of the kid-lit blog, Saffron Tree – an award winning site dedicated to recommending and reviewing children’s books from India and the US. Praba believes in the power of books and its positive impact on children, especially when introduced in the early years of childhood. While in the US, she got involved as a Storytime Facilitator for the Ready-to-Read Program implementing story hours for children with limited library access. During those two years, Praba planned several fun read-aloud programs incorporating an array of themes and books, which never failed to delight children. She enjoys reading-aloud and interacting with babies/toddlers, preschoolers and children in early school age. As for writing, she enjoys writing about environmental and cultural themes. She has also co-authored four books for children, her most recent one being “The Endangered Animals of India” published by Mango Books of Cochin.
Praba has always been passionate about the public sector and has had several short stints at many NGOs and non-profits focusing on education issues primarily. She has an undergraduate degree in Management Studies from BITS, Pilani and a Masters in Public Policy from University of California at Los Angeles. Having recently moved back with her family from the East Coast of the US to the East Coast of India, this chai & travel-loving mother is happy to be raising her two daughters in the culturally rich, but known near and far for its forever-hot-and-humid weather that is the city of Chennai.
Sheela Preuitt enjoys writing nonfiction books on STEM topics for children. She is awed by the unfathomable magnitude of our universe and loves to share that admiration with the young readers through her books. She has a masters in Science Education, a masters in Computer Science, and ten published books.
Shilpa Ranade is also a film maker and an Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Her most recent animation film, ‘The World of Goopi and Bagha’ (‘Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa’) premiered at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in September. The film is an adaptation of one of the most cherished Indian children’s classics, Upendrakishore Roy’ s Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne. Supported by the Children’s Film Society of India and featuring music by 3 Brothers & A Violin, the film features many twists and turns that aren’t present in the original work.