Have you read, “Where is Amma?” by Nandini Nayar?
I am always on the lookout for books for younger children that are relevant. That means it should be fun as well as lead to a conversation between the child and parent. I found one such book recently which reminded me of something that happened to me as a child.
One evening I could not find my mom anywhere. I was just five years old, I think. We lived in Thane which was a cluster of small villages not the sprawling metropolis it is soon becoming today.
So as I said, I could not find mummy anywhere. I looked in all the rooms but she was nowhere to be found. Now mom never left home like that in the evening without telling anyone. Dad too did not know where she had gone and neither did my grandparents.
They told me that she would soon be back, but I was anxious. I even went to all the neighbours’ houses searching for her. Later I learnt that she had gone to sit in the park because she desperately wanted some me time away from me and my two younger sisters.
And was she bugged that I had the whole village wondering where she had gone! That too in an age when it was unheard of for moms to take any time off for themselves!
And that brings me back to our book for this week, “Where is Amma ?”
Where Is Amma by Nandini Nayar
“Where is Amma” by Nandini Nayar warmed my heart. It was just delightful. It has all the elements that a good story needs. It is fanciful. It deals with a child’s fears and teaches him to laugh at it.
Little Kiran can’t find his mother anywhere. So he searches for her.
The illustrations are really cute with the little boy taking his mother’s dupatta along with him as he searches for her, like a security blanket.
He finds her slippers besides the fridge and wonders if she is inside the fridge and what she is doing there.
An extract from ‘Where is Amma?’
Kiran was looking for his mother. Where had Amma disappeared? ……
Then he saw he slippers in front of the fridge. “Are you inside, Amma?” KIran asked.
There was NO REPLY.
“Can you hear me?” Kiran asked loudly.
THERE WAS NO REPLY.
“Isn’t it cold inside? What are you doing?”
THERE WAS STILL NO REPLY.
“Are you eating up ALL THE BARFI?”
Her mouth is full and she can’t talk thought Kiran.
This was the part of the book I loved. I loved how he imagines where his mother is and what she could be doing. I laughed out loud as I imagined Amma in the fridge! In fact I began thinking of all the things that could happen in a fridge!
This is a story that lends itself to conversation and communication. You can follow up the reading with asking your child where he or she thinks mom would be if they can’t find her. Talk about why they need mom around all the time. Ask them how they can start becoming a little less dependent on mummy. What are the things they can do by themselves?
Talk about how it is okay and necessary for mummy to have some time off; to be by herself undisturbed unless it is an emergency.
At the end of the book, the boy and his mother laugh together. It is important to teach our children to laugh at their fears.
Nandini’s other books are equally child friendly and a joy to read.
Look out for our interview with the author next week.