My Incredible ­India

­Candlewick. Oct. 2023. 80p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536225013.
Gr 2-5–Young Thara’s nanijee (grandmother) has collected special objects from throughout India and kept them in a wooden trunk to cherish. Every Friday night, Nanijee pulls an object from the trunk and tells its special origin and tale. Opening with a gorgeous full-color spread that shows a map of India in mixed media, Bilan and Chakrabarti work brings India alive in an original narrative nonfiction format. Readers will feel as if they are also pulling each item out as they learn all about different regions, cultures, and stories throughout the vast expanse covering thousands of years of India. Unique illustrations and interesting side notes bring familiar sites, such as the Taj Mahal to life, while showcasing lesser-known facets, like gemstones, archways, and gardens. Those unfamiliar with India will undoubtedly find much to discover, such as the ancient cave paintings in the Bhimbetka caves, while those more familiar will expand their knowledge further. The oral method of having Nanijee and Thara look at and explore subjects, including the foods, religious festivals, and wildlife of India, is an appealing and approachable format.
VERDICT This gem of a book is perfect for anyone wishing to learn more about India; it should find a place on the shelves of most libraries and classrooms.

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