Most children have their first introduction to religious mythology through the hymns that their caregivers (parents /grandparents) sing to them, various rituals done at home and stories told to them.
It would be great if you can also introduce books on mythology to them, as then that stays with them for life. Here are a few good picks in the Hindu mythology section for young readers:
Our personal starter kit for mythology was the board book series from Om KidZ. These are chunky board books with lovely snippets about the deity. The titles available in mythology and religion are Ganesha, Shiva, Hanuman and Krishna. The titles are available at Rs 90 a book across various online and brick and motor bookshops.
This wonderful series picks up small anecdotes /events from the lives of the Gods and they are presented with excellent illustrations on toddler friendly thick paper, some pages also have a wonderful embossed effect to make them fun to touch and feel. The books are a little text heavy and based on that they are recommended for different age groups, however stories can be told to younger kids rather than reading the book out to them. There are some books in their mythology section which can also be read out to kids below 5. The series is widely priced but most books are in the range of about 120 to 350.
There are 10 books in the series. The books are wonderfully illustrated and go into reasonable depths of different episodes in mythology. The beautiful illustrations make it easy for younger children to follow and the text makes it easier for older kids to read themselves and enjoy on their own. These books are very good quality large paperbacks priced at Rs. 350 a book but available at a discount with various online retailers. These are usually recommended for the age group 3 to 8.
Amar Chitra Kathas are what a lot of us have grown up with. This comic series has been one of the biggest sources fuelling our quest for mythology and history since 1967. While the previous two series focus largely on the Hindu religion mythology the ACK's cover a much wider variety of subjects. These books are paperbacks priced at Rs 50 a book.
The Panchtantra Stories originate from Shree Vishnu Sharma's teaching to the Princes. These stories are beautifully illustrated and presented by various Indian publication houses like Alka Publications, Manoj Publications which are ideal for age groups 3 plus. They are also extremely reasonably priced at about Rs. 40 a book.
There is also a series of Panchtantra books by Tulika publishers. These are priced at around Rs 70 to 85 a book. The illustrations and the quality of text are a class apart. The illustrations are based on various Indian art forms like the Patachitra folk paintings, Pithora folk style of central India etc. This is a bilingual series available in a combination of English and various regional languages.
From the goddess of wealth to the sacred cow, the author, a Pixar animator Sanjay Patel brings to life Hinduism’s most important gods and goddesses in fun illustrations, each accompanied by a short, lively profile. It covers a very wide range of Hindu mythology from love and jealousy to petty grievances and epic battles, with characters ranging from monsters and demons to noble warriors and divine divas. The book can be used to give short introductions of various Gods and Goddesses. This can be an excellent read for adults for themselves and to talk about different aspects of mythology to their kids.
A brilliant set of books which give a wonderful introduction to mythology, in a contemporary context. The books have an element of humour and apart from mythology they also have takeaways on values. These are recommended for an age group of 5+. The only catch is the illustrations, the books are illustrated in black and white and the illustrations may be a little less suitable for story telling for younger kids.
These books are only a first look at this subject, there are quite a few other wonderful books on this subject.
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