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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Little Body Book By Shruti Singhal And Q&A With Author

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Few weeks back I was contacted by the PR team of a book titled My Little Body Book By Shruti Singhal. They asked me if I would like to read the book and talk about it with my readers.

I have always tried to find out ways in which we can share information with children about how they can keep themselves safe, in terms of physical abuse. So this mail came as a good way to connect more on the topic. The PR team sent me a copy of the book and I immediately sat with my 7 year old daughter to help her go through the content.

Details About The Book
  • The book is in hardcover.
  • It is really small in terms of the number of pages.
  • The font is big and very easy to read for younger kids, even as young as 4. 
  • Every page is filled with colourful and cute illustrations that will immediately attract kids.
  • The book is written in an easy to understand format that slightly older kids, aged 6 and above, can understand on their own.
  • Priced at INR 225 and published by Zubaan Books and supported by Pearl Academy

My Take On The Book

The book is realllyyy cute. In fact, I think this is exactly the way you should make a book if your target audience is kids and the message is something as important as keeping your body safe from others.

When I opened the book with my daughter, she immediately loved the illustrations and the many colourful sketches that were inside. She could understand almost all that was in the book, but there were a few new words she didn't know and which were very crucial for this understanding. You will see later in the author Q&A where I pose this question.

In these times, keeping our kids safe is a very difficult and scary thought, especially with so many child offenders present in society. Statistics have revealed time and again that in most cases, it is not a stranger but a known person to the child who is the offender. I know for a fact that this is true, that these things do happen, and it is something we as parents and as adults should watch out for.



What I loved about the book is the fact that it addresses this very important issue in a very child-friendly way. It talks about the body and its part in a practical way, something that may not always be how parents would choose to talk about, but actually should. The more you try to mask words the more it confuses children, and using words like 'vagina' and 'penis' while explaining about body parts is not wrong or horrible.

Consider this, while talking about head and legs, you use the exact terms to explain to your child, then why not the private parts too? If you try to hide the word and mask it by using something else, you are automatically sending out the message that it is something to be ashamed of, or not to be spoken of, or something that should not be discussed further. If this is the message you send across to your child now, how will your child have the faith to come to you and discuss openly about such things? By masking these terms, you are already signalling to your child that these should not be discussed. But on the other hand, if you do keep it real and practical, your child will always feel comfortable to discuss more with you.

I really feel that this book should be taken up by all parents and shared with their kids. Also, this book would make a great addition to any school for its teaching program in younger classes. I strongly recommend you to give it a read. Check out where you can buy the book.

*This is not a sponsored post. The publishers were kind enough to send me a copy of the book for reading and sharing here. I have not been paid for this article and the views expressed are my own. I am not endorsing the book in any way and no commercial benefits are involved.

Buy The Book

Author Q&A
The formatting seemed to play games with me!!! I apologise about the criss cross and such...

I did have a few questions of my own when I shared this book with my daughter. Here's what the author had to say:

Debo - There is a lot of talk going on in the media about teaching the concept of touch to children. some books and songs have also been created around the same. What prompted you to come out with a new book on this?
Author - This book was developed as my graduating project in Pearl Academy. During my research, I interacted with a lot of parents, child counselors and teachers and found out the gap between willingness of caregivers to impart this education to children and lack of right media choices available for Indian audiences.

As a Communication Designer, it prompted to me create a book that gently opens up a dialogue between the parent and child regarding this matter. The book answers child curiosity about sexual health, gender awareness and safety that children have at this age in a very friendly way. The book is simple and honest with childlike illustrations, easy to understand, practice and use.

Since the topic is very sensitive and needs to be brought up to children in a friendly way, it is important to establish caregivers as the key informers in sharing sexual education. Reading a book to your child is a wonderful bonding experience that nourishes emotional development between parent and their child.
  
Debo - How much, according to you, is the role of illustrations in this book?
Author - The illustrations played a major role in explaining the difficult concept of the book. Young children adapt and understand visual language more effectively. The book has simple, humorous and straightforward illustrations that have helped present this serious content in a much lighter, humorous and comfortable way.

The purpose of having honest illustrations will ensure similarity, remove shyness and foster positive attitude in children about body image. It will also enable children to make connection with characters, making the book more real to them. Additionally, the illustrations not only reflect what the text reads, but also teaches about health, hygiene, care and routine activities of children from brushing their teeth to having dinner together.


Debo - The book starts on a very regular note that young children can identify with, before moving on to the main concept. Was this intentional? What was the thought or child psychology behind this?
Author - Yes, indeed it was intentional. Since this is a very bold and difficult concept I wanted to start it on a lighter note and create the right ambience of comfort for them. Children at this age are very curious. Inspired from them, the book has illustrated role-play activities and surroundings that kids will relate to easily at this age and that will seem very natural or normal to them. This will help children relate and understand the concept of gender, touch, safety and hygiene in a much easier way.
Debo - The words 'vagina' and 'penis' have been used in the book. In India, many parents are still wary of teaching these basic terms to their children. What made you decide this was something you should put in the book?
Author - The whole idea of the book is to remove taboo and hesitation of parents in imparting sexual education to their children. The emphasis of the book is to foster healthy attitude not only in guardians but in their children too and treat penis or vagina just like any other normal body part. Their natural curiosities need to be answered honestly, removing barriers of shame and embarrassment. This book was shown to a lot of parents and they were quite positive and open in response to usage of these terms. The query they had was - 'Is it okay to use such terms and by which age?' In response to this, I told them that it’s perfectly alright to start using right terminology from 5-6 years of age, guiding them about private and public etiquette at the same time. Well informed children grow up as happy, safe and concerned adults.
Debo - What was the reaction of any parents who read the draft or the book in its finished form?
Author - The first reaction from not only parents but whoever saw this book was, “I want a copy.” Parents and caregivers do realize the importance of making children aware about this sensitive matter. Parents today are modern and open in terms of their thinking and want what's best in education and covers all aspects. In today’s time, where sexual crime among young children is prevalent in every society because of kids being innocent or unaware, this book might help to create a safer place for little ones and foster a hesitation and embarrassment-free relation between children and caregivers.
Debo - Where all is the book available?
The books will be available on Amazon, Flipkart and some of the popular book stores like Om book shop, Landmark, Crossword etc across the country. 

You can also order directly from Zubaan website (http://zubaanbooks.com/) and (mylittlebodybook@gmail.com)

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!! Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones.... - 
Debolina Raja Gupta
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