In December we continued our mythology and history romp around the world and spent a fair amount of time in ancient India. We hit the jackpot here as pretty much every book I stumbled upon was an amazing discovery. This week I will focus on mythology books and cover Buddhist tales next week.
When I start a new section in mythology, I automatically check out if Marcia Williams have a book on that. I just love this author and illustrator. Her Elephant Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India is wonderful and can be read to very young children as each story is only one or two pages long and they are all gorgeously illustrated in her signature comic style. I’ve never read majority of the stories before, and it would be an interesting lesson to compare and contrast these stories with legends from other cultures – some are similar and some are quite different!
We read a somewhat different version of Hindu Stories than the one pictured here, but the book was quite good and gave a fascinating introduction to Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism. It’s interesting to see how very different Indian stories are from the stories of ancient Greeks or Egyptians, but some motifs are still the same. The book also ties ancient stories to the holidays and festivals celebrated in India (and here in Silicon Valley) today.
Our library has several individual books about Indian Gods and Goddesses from the series called Classic Indian Stories for Children. If your library has them, I highly recommend them for older children. The stories are long and not necessarily suitable in content for preschoolers, but the illustrations are gorgeous, and older kids will find the stories quite interesting. In How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva a girl goes to extreme lengths to win the heart of her beloved. Sometimes even goddesses don’t get what they want without serious effort and sacrifice – a good lesson for my daughter