Books. For one and all.

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel.

It’s been a rainy afternoon.  It’s not the ugly stormy kind of rain, but the musical kind which quietly beats against the windows softly urging you to go ahead and have another cup of coffee and curl up with a book.  

And speaking of books, I wanted to share a tiny but proud little milestone in my freelance career.  I’ve been lucky enough to get a chance to work with BookPage, a  national book review publication, to read upcoming books and write reviews! It’s a dream gig really because they send me books that no one knows about (I can’t stop feeling special every time I see the “not for sale” “advance reader’s copy” tag on the books) and insist to pay me for reading them. Really!? I mean, it’s the kind of thing I would pay them to do, but I’m glad it is the other way around.  Well, they have published my first review in their February newsletter in print and online.  The book is called The High Mountains of Portugal by the bestselling author of Life of Pi, Yann Martel. Please pop over to Bookpage and check it out.  The novel is a great read and should be in the bookstores near you very soon. Here is also the link to the NPR interview with the author about the book.

I also wanted to share some books that Asha and Arjun are enjoying lately.  Asha particularly has a couple of books that are constant favorites; books she can recite by heart and which we read basically every day (like Madeline’s Rescue), but there are always a few others to add to the nightly list.  This selection keeps changing and right now, this is what has been her (and my) favorites.  Arjun has followed in his sister’s footsteps and finally found a way to entertain himself with a book for a few minutes at a time.  He likes the ones with texture and the one bellow (thanks to Auntie Sara who gave this one to Asha when she was littler) is his current favorite.

  • Rosie Revere Engineer: By Andrea Beaty. Illustrated by David Roberts: I LOVE books that are fun for the kids and have a great message.  This one definitely fits the bill.  I also like that it encourages little girls to think about professions that are often thought as dominated by males.  The illustrations are so much fun and beautiful too!
  • Iggy Peck, Architect: Also by Andrea Beaty. Illustrated by David Roberts:  Asha loves how Iggy too likes to make towers like her.
  • Mini Masters 4 board books by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober: I can’t think of a more fun way to introduce Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Degas to my kids.  Each board book uses famous paintings by the artist together with a great rhyming story.  When we went to the North Carolina museum of Arts, Asha asked me if she could see the Degas Ballerinas….which made me infinitely proud (sadly there was no Degas there, but we found a great landscape by Monet).
  • That’s not my lion: Arjun loves this one because of the various textures.  He can hardly wait to feel the lion’s shaggy mane at the end.  Also, the rough paws work as a nail file on somedays too! :)

What are your current favorites? And I would especially love to hear your recommendations for children’s books that are off beat and not well known.

Thanks for reading!

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer and a mother of three from Raleigh, NC. She writes for national and local publications about lifestyle, travel, books, and of course, motherhood! Her most current project involves illustrating and publishing a children’s Hindi book. When not adventuring with her family in the minivan, you can find her riding the streets of Raleigh on her beloved bike Linus.

5 thoughts on “Books. For one and all.

    1. We just got The Little Blue Truck and Asha is really getting into it! I totally know what you mean about not being quick with flipping the pages…same with Arjun. I love Ikea! So much cool stuff including that book. And thanks as always for the encouragement.

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  1. Congratulations Chika on Bookpage! I’m so happy for you :) I just read your review of Martel’s The High Mountains of Portugal, and it reminded me a lot of Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, based on Coelho’s trek of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) in Galicia. I think they’d be a good pair to read together. They have similar styles but it seems like Martel’s anthology style is a great contrast for Coelho’s narrative sprinkled with mysticism. Let me know if you’ve read The Pilgrimage – would love to know what you think! Sending you much love!

    ps: my favorite children’s books growing up were Suddenly! by Colin McNaughten and most Enid Blyton books.

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  2. I’m very jealous of this book-reading and reviewing gig! I love reading so much. I thought it’d be a fun idea to do book reviews with my boys on our Instagram account (mostly about our new bunny). My son reads non-stop, and loves to talk about the books with anyone who will listen, but I’ve found out that he doesn’t care to write reviews for Instagram quite as much. Lol.

    I will have to check out The High Mountains of Portugal, I did enjoy Life of Pi (although I still have yet to watch the movie, I keep worrying I’ll be disappointed).

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    1. Emily…how clever to get your boys involved! I will have to do the same when my kids are older. And I am with you on watching the Life of Pi; one of these days though I’ll be ready to give it a try. Thanks for reading!

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