The Day I Could Not… read on to find out!

Janani Balaji. Grade 3 Dhyaan

As I am a very talkative person, this day came to me as a shock……….janani

It was the day before my Annual Day, my friends and I were bubbling with excitement. My best friend and I were both demons in our school play. As if we needed an excuse, we practised our screams and roars at the top of our voices. After a while, I started coughing. I bid goodbye and went home. When I reached home, I remained in my room, finishing up some homework. Finally, as my mom popped in to say “Good Night”, I tried to say the same but nothing came out. My mom, always worrying, asked me “Are you alright?’’. In response, I flopped on my bed and instantly went to sleep.

The next day was my eagerly awaited annual day. I had an unusually bright idea to conserve my voice and went over my lines in my mind. As I came up on stage, I gave a terrifying roar ….but nothing came out. I thanked my lucky stars that everyone else was roaring. Then the dreaded moment arrived. It was my dialogue. With a mean scowl, I   launched in to my dialogue. But while my expressions were perfectly menacing, as I started delivering my dialogue…no words came out. My enraged demon act became comic and the crowd burst into peals of laughter. I ran off the stage sobbing. I had just realized that I could not speak. “How could this have happened .. that too today?” I thought.

My mom of course had rushed back stage. She checked my temperature. I did not have a fever. We went to a lot of doctors. None of them had a clue! That night I tossed and turned thinking of all the things I could not do if my voice did not return. I dreaded going to my beloved school tomorrow. I could not chit-chat with my friends . I wouldn’t be able to contribute my eager answers in class.

As I went to school in “mute “mode that day, my worried friends and teachers asked me how I felt a thousand times .. and each time, I gave a different animated expression ..rolling my eyes to sulking and pouting to really sad eyes. Math was the easiest subject that day because I could just hold up my fingers.. but sometimes you just run out of them. English was the worst because we had to enact a play and I loved being the narrator! When I reached home I was down in the dumps. “A whole day without speaking …I hate this” I thought.

My mom had already spent hours in front of the computer and on the phone trying to finds a cure. And some well-meaning friends sent over some dreadful potions to help cure my lost voice. My younger brother was the only one to rejoice.. I couldn’t complain to mom about all the mischief he was perpetually up too. Probably my Dad too… you see we have an unusually high level of noise in our house generally , with my brother ..up to something always, me chattering nonstop and my mom trying to get us to listen to her over the din.

That night I didn’t get much sleep because I spent most of it thinking about what would happen. “Would I ever be able to sing again? Will I ever be able to say my dialogues in a play?” These were my thoughts as I gradually drifted off to sleep. The next morning I woke up  to my brother jumping on my back , as he had awoken to a sudden desire to be a cowboy and had decided I was a worthy horse!! I screamed venting all my fury, ”STOP THAT NOW”

My mom’s stern voice floated in, “Have you both started fighting early in the morning?” Then, as she entered the room to continue to reprimand me, there was a moment of stunned silence as we both realised the same thing……My voice was back!

We all hugged and jumped wildly.. even my brother , who was really was not sure what we were celebrating. My voice had come back as mysteriously as it had gone. Phew! I thanked God and promised to make complete use of this gift, and picked up the phone to call my best friend immediately!!!!

The Times-NIE Star Correspondent Contest.

by Sahir D’Souza

Sahir for the Blog

Sahir Avik D’souza is a student of the High School. He will, in April, go into the tenth standard. His interests include reading, writing, reading, chatting, playing with his cats and reading. He is an ardent poetry-lover as also a cinema-goer. He can be found often in the deep recesses of a book.


The three of us from Shishuvan, Yashvi Gada (standard nine), Himika Shah (standard eight) and I, found ourselves pretty near the back of the large Birla Matoshree auditorium, Marine Lines. In front of us was a sea of heads and, beyond the heads, the stage. Needless to say, we were nervous.

We were here for the first round (of two) of the ‘Times-NIE Star Correspondent’ contest. The student edition of the Times of India – NIE – was looking for thirty ‘star correspondents’ to write for it for one year. Seven hundred and fifty students from across the city had enrolled themselves for the first-round, which consisted of a twenty-five-question quiz and a short essay.

The questions were related to various fields – sports, awards, cinema, literature, world news. None of us got all the answers, but we all knew at least some of them. The last question was an essay. We were shown a photograph of Sachin Tendulkar from his last match and asked to write. So we did. Luckily for me, an absolute non-cricket-fan, my father had been asked to report on the very same match and so I knew some of the details from him. Also, Mr Tendulkar happens to live opposite me and so I know the kinds of fans he has (people get photos clicked outside the house, they come and stay, tourist buses have now begun touring our road). We then had a talk by the RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan.

We were told that sixty students would be selected out of this humungous crowd. We Shishuvanites did not really hope to get selected: we didn’t get some of the answers and what if our essays weren’t liked? For the next few weeks, we heard nothing about it. Then, the sixty selected for round two had their names in the NIE paper – and mine was amongst them. I was thrilled: the second round was to be held in the Times building and was an interview with the Times’s editorial team. Thirty would be selected from here and those thirty would be 2014’s Star Correspondents.

Anxiously, the sixty of us entered this intimidating building. We were shepherded into a tiny room. There, one of the Times workers chatted with us for about an hour. After that, we were introduced to the editorial team and then the interviews began. These were one-on-one interviews, consisting of a brief introduction of ourselves and some general knowledge questions. I was interviewed by a lady with curly hair, who asked me about myself and my interests; then, she asked me, ‘Where are the winter Olympics for 2018 going to be held?’ I had no idea! The options she gave me didn’t help. ‘Take a wild guess,’ she said and I did (I said the Netherlands) and it was wrong. The correct answer is South Korea (book your tickets)The next question was, ‘The RBI has decided to withdraw currency notes printed before which year?’ This I knew from the talk we had with the RBI Governor in round one! It was 2005 and I got it correct.

That was it. Interview over. Now we just had to wait for the results. The wait was long and I got talking to some of the other students. I seemed to have got the easiest interviewer in the room. Everyone else had been asked five, seven, even ten questions. To keep us occupied while the scores were being counted we were served some food; also, one of the editorial team members spoke to us about good journalism.

Soon, in came the results. With bated breath, we waited and hoped as one by one, the Star Correspondents were announced, given a badge, a magazine (BBC Knowledge) and a notebook and had a photograph taken. And then they announced my name! It was wonderful to hear that I’d made it! Gladly, I took the badge and pinned it on. We then had individual and group photos taken. The following Monday, the photo was in the paper along with our names. How exciting!

Now, in May, the training workshop will begin. I can’t wait. Just being in the Times building is a great experience. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been great fun so far; no doubt the coming year will hold delights as well.

An early love for books and stories


Today we have guest blogger Samir Kapadia writing for us.

Samir owns Creative Learning Aids, which started with a few child friendly books and  insight from experienced academicians. Today it offers children from the age of  2 -10 years a host of contemporary Indian books for from some of India’s most loved writers and illustrators.


When I was 5 years old, my father hired a tutor for me and my two brothers. Our tutor would teach school subjects to us during the week, but on Saturdays, she would specially come to read stories to us. She was quite a strict teacher but her story telling helped me –  a 5 year old at the time – get over my apprehensions regarding her. Those sessions helped me attain a much needed comfort with my tutor. As I write this now, I realise how story telling and books help so many children deal with emotional problems.

This early introduction to story telling forged a bond between me and books and was the start of an oral tradition that was later on taken over by parents, grandparents and a very dear uncle.

As I grew up, the bond with the physical book took a backseat but it remained hidden somewhere deep inside me, waiting for to be set free. It’s time came when I became a father.

One morning, as I sat on the floor reading the newspaper my  2 year old daughter crawled up to me  and sat on my lap, demanding that I read to her. She rekindled my love for pictures and stories once again and is one of the main reasons I entered the world of Children’s publishing and started Creative Learning Aids.




What working together can do


by Neha Chheda

Former Principal of Shishuvan and current Executive Director Neha Chheda shares her thoughts on the school-parent partnership of 2013-2014.

This year has seen a tremendous surge in parent:school partnership in various areas. From security concerns to transport facilities to finance, parents rolled up their sleeves and got involved with great gusto. Not a month went by that didn’t see the school and parents sit down and work together to kickstart initiatives, solve problems and communicate ideas and solutions to Shishuvan’s various stakeholders. Let’s look back at the year and the highlights of our unique parent-school partnership.

The start of the new academic year in June 2013 saw parent participation in the Adhyayan Quality Standard review process. The parent team was instrumental in reviewing, evaluating, prioritizing and putting in an action plan for the areas of concern. They spear headed the committees : security and transport to bring in the desired changes. 

The bomb hoax in July 2013 is a huge reminder of how good communication can be productive. The school was evacuated in 7 minutes. Parents who happened to be at the gate (to collect pre-primary students) during this crucial moment, offered their services without any question. Instructions were followed to the core. Messages on whatsapp helped communicate the message further. The parents went one step ahead and appreciated the school’s mechanism which was capable of handling this situation efficiently and sensitively.

Post the bomb hoax, a security committee was formed in August 2013 and spearheaded many changes. They observed, collected data from parents, security and students and through a series of brainstorming sessions, identified steps to strengthen the security on campus.  I.D. cards were introduced and checked, a lady security has been deployed and the tiffin delivery timings have been revised.  

During the mid-term break in September, the transport committee worked overtime and managed to bring in the Universal School Bus Service to continue the bus service for students after the sudden resignation of the previous service provider.

In October the parent representative (PR) body was the epitome of unity. The PR body conducted itself with grace and dignity and had discussions with the management on the concern of continued senior leadership in the school. The successful outcome of this exercise, goes a long way to prove that parental involvement is crucial for a school.

 November rolled around and it was time to work on the fees for the next academic year. The finance committee crunched numbers and worked on the requirements of the school for the coming year and were able to communicate the calculations and the rationale behind the fee hike to the parent body. 

Well ahead of the middle and high school outstation field trips, healthy discussions on the “Travel Policy” of the school were held in December. This helped the school and the parents understand the importance of the Travel Policy and find ways to support the it. 

The new calendar year saw the announcement of the school’s “Inclusion” policy. In January a white paper was presented and the policy was discussed at length in various meetings – parent sabha, preparatory meetings, management open forum. The Inclusion Committee was formed to review the working and progress of the initiative.

In February, the various committees: sports, finance IT, inclusion, transport, security reviewed their role in supporting the leadership and management of the school. They have played a vital part in upgrading the school’s infrastructure to benefit the community and the child by providing rich curricular experiences and a conducive environment for teaching and learning.

I had a closure meeting with the PR body earlier this month in which the PRs shared what they cherished and their moments of celebration. The new year (2014-15) will see another set of PRs being nominated and it will be a new beginning.

I will definitely miss  this group and hope that we find different avenues to work together. When I sit back and think on all the above celebrations and achievements, I wonder what actually contributed to the PR body  functioning so efficiently.   What helped for such super parent : school partnerships to exist, this year?

Any reflections???


World Storytelling Day

Today is World Storytelling Day Folks a global day of celebrating the art of oral storytelling.



World Storytelling Day logo by Mats Rehnman.


The day has it’s origins in Sweden and was started in 1991 as “Alla berättares dag” (All storytellers day). By 2009, there were World Storytelling Day events in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia.

India has a rich oral storytelling tradition. From Vyasa’s oral rendering of the Mahabaratha to Lord Ganesha to many of our own memories of sitting on a beloved grandparent’s lap and listening to Jataka tales and stories from Indian mythology, oral storytelling not only forges a bond between the teller and the listener, but also allows the listener to imagine the visuals that accompany the words.

Every year many of the individual storytelling events that take place around the globe are linked by a common theme. Each year, the theme is identified by and agreed upon by storytellers from around the world.

This year’s theme is Monsters and Dragons!


Here are some fantastic books on the theme…and please leave comments if you have some recommendations of your own!

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Sadly, today reading aloud has been replaced by the television, Ipad and other mobile gadgets. While they all have a place in modern lives, it’s important to carve out time for traditional story telling too.

So today, switch off the television, put the Ipad away and keep your mobile phone on silent. Crack out a book, get your kids comfortable and transport them to a place that only stories can take an individual.

Or It doesn’t have to be a book. Recall a story from your own childhood… Bakasura, Ravana, Hidimba… somewhere in the recesses of your memory are some great stories waiting to be dredged out.


(Information source: wikipedia, images from Google)

Opening the doors to different realms – the Standard III reading list


Your child is now ready to dip their toes in the waters of different genres of writing. Horror, mythology, fantasy, humour, history….  books opens the doors to worlds and portals from the past, future and even realms that don’t exist. The summer reading list for standard III aims to give children a taste of different writing styles from beloved classic authors to contemporary Indian children’s fiction.  

Moin and the Monster series – Anushka Ravishankar

Akbar and the Tricky Traitor – Natasha Sharma

Ashoka and the Muddled Messages – Natasha Sharma

The Railway Children – Edith Nesbit

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling

Andaman’s Boy – Zai Whitaker

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S Lewis

Hanuman’s Adventures in the Nether World – Madhavi S Mahadevan

Ka: The Story of Garuda – Roberto Calasso

Sita’s Ramayana – Samhita Arni

Razia and her Pink Elephant – Mukul Dube

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl

Geronimo Stilton Series

Thea Stilton Series

Famous Five Series – Enid Blyton

(Sources: The Bangalore International School, Good Reads, catalogue of Duckbill Publications)

The Summer Reading list for Standard IV

What do a Norwegian ace flyer, an Oxford University English Professor and Padma Vibushan awardee have in common? Well, they’ve all enthralled readers young and old for generations with their words. From lazy days in Malgudi to the fantastical world of Narnia and in to the mind of a young child prodigy called Matilda, our reading list for Standard IV is a fantastic mix of books that will help those long summer days pass. 

Swami and His Friends – R.K Narayan

The BFG – Roald Dahl

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S Lewis

Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snickets

Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume

Just William – Richmal Crompton

Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling

Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Anne of Green Gables – L.M Montgomery

Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Junie B Jones – Barabara Park

Matilda – Roald Dahl

Duckbill Publications

Oops the Mighty Gurgle – RamG Vallath

The Deadly Royal Recipe – Ranjit Lal

Vanamala and the Cephalopod – Shalini Srinivasan

Flat Track Bullies – Balaji Venkataraman

The Wordkeepers – Jash Sen

(Sources: Good Reads website, The Bangalore International School website, Duckbill Catalogue)  

Summer book fun for Standard II


By standard II many children have settled in to reading on their own quite comfortably. The list of books here encourages independent readers to widen their reading horizon, with some books like the Dr. Seuss series helping some young readers find their ground with reading. Remember one thing though, no matter how advanced your young reader is, children love nothing more than to be read to. So take time out to sit and read with or to your child once in a while. 

Dr. Seuss

Yellow Back Books for fluent Readers 

The Lorax, If I Ran the Zoo, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, Oh the Places You’ll Go

Amelie Bedelia Series – Peggy Parish

Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett

Look at the Moon – Sandhya Rao

Aditi Series – Suniti Namjoshi

The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

Eyes on the Peacock’s Tail – Vayu Naidu

The Old Man who Would Not Listen – Nonda Chatterjee

On the tip of a pink was – Geeta Dharmarajan

Horrid Henry Series

The One in the Middle is Green – Judy Blume

hOle Books from Duckbill

 Maya Saves the Day – Meera Nair

The Monster Hunters – Parinita Shetty

Trouble with Magic – Asha Nehemiah


(Source: Bangalore International School, Good Reads Website, Tulika and Duckbill Catalogues)


I know what you’ll read this summer! Standard I reading list

Here are a list of books for your children to read this summer as they gear up for Standard I. Some of the books are easy enough for them to read alone, and others will require some guidance. Some books are purely meant for you, as a parent to read aloud to them.

Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss combines funny pictures, crazy creatures and zany pictures with his unique blend of rhyme, rhythm and repetition.

The Dr Seuss BLUE BACK BOOKS are great for beginner readers and will help recognise and reinforce sight words. These are some of the titles in the series, but there are others you can also look for.
I’ll teach my dog 100 words
Inside Outside Upside Down
Go, Dog Go!
The Eye Book
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Hop on Pop

Dr. Seuss Green Back Books are great for children just beginning to read on their own.

Cat in the Hat
Fox in Socks
The Best Nest
Are you my Mother?

A combination of Blue and Green back books will help with the transition to independent reading.

Tulika Books

Baby Bahadur Series

Hanuman’s Ramayan

Silly Tale of Bondapalli

Magnificent Makhna

Satya’s Boat
The Great Birdywood Games – Shamim Padamsee

OUT OF THE WAY! OUT OF THE WAY! - Uma Krishnaswami

First Look Science Series

The fantasy adventures of Bhoomi, Boondi, Dhooli, Gitti and Beeji, draw young children into science and introduce basic concepts about the world we live in. The stunning pictures convey the beauty, vastness and mystery of nature, enriching the storytelling experience. At the end of each book is a summing up of science facts related to the stories.

Tara Books

Tiger on a Tree – Anushka Ravishanker

Catch that Crocodile – Anushka Ravishanker

Excuse me, is this India – Anushka Ravishanker

Katha Books

A Lion in Paris – Beatrice Alemagna

Other Publications

Tyrannosaurus Drip, Tiddler, The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

Magic School Bus Series – Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

The Berenstein Bears – Stan and Jan Berenstein

Piggy and Elephant books – Mo Willems

Mr. Men and Little Miss series – Richard Hargreaves

Amma Tell Me About Krishna Series – Anjanana Publishing House


(Source: Bangalore International School, Good Reads Website, Tulika and Duckbill Catalogues)


Summer reading fun for Pre-Primary

Get your tiny tots to fall in love with books and reading with a little help from a very hungry caterpillar, a dog called Kipper, a clever elephant called Baby Bahadur and Dr. Seuss’ whacky world of rhyme!  


Tulika Books

Thumb Thumb Series

Baby Bahadur Series

Monday to Sunday (Bilingual)

The Rooster and the Sun

Where is Amma?

Let’s Catch the Rain

What Shall I make – Nandini Nayar

Fun Ok Please

The Adventures of Toto the Auto Series – Rutu Vyas

Pratham Books

Can and Can’t

Do and Don’t

Curly and Straight

Katha Publications

The Little Big Man – Rabindranath Tagore

Mai and her Friends  - Concept and Art by Durga Bai

Days with Thathu – Geeta Dharmarajan

Other Publications

Eric Carle – Brown Bear Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Jessica and Allen Ahlberg – Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum

Spot Books – Eric Hill

Squash and a Squeeze, Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson

Kipper Series – Mick Inkpen

Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

Dr. Seuss – Blue Back Series

I’ll teach my dog 100 words

Inside Outside Upside Down

Go, Dog Go!

The Eye Book

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Hop on Pop

 (With inputs from: Bangalore International School and Good Reads)