Book Review of Kisaan
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Dr. Simarjeet Kaur Sandhu
Illustrated by Anastasiia Sokolova
Ages 4-10 | 59 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published | ISBN-13: 9798511006444
What to Expect: India, Farming, Community, Protests
Part biography and part instructional picture book, Kisaan teaches readers about the role of farmers in Indian culture and the importance of agriculture for Indian communities.
A kisaan is a farmer in India and kisaans are known and loved for their vital role in feeding their communities. Maluk Singh Sandhu was one very special kisaan who studied literature and history and served in the Indian Army. He fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a kisaan and producing wheat, rice, and corn to feed his people. Without kisaans like Maluk, there would be no wheat flour for roti, nor any other food. However, new government regulations are causing hardships for kisaans in India, and they need the people they feed to return their love and care by protesting and helping them stand up for their rights.
With an emphasis on the importance of community love and support for kisaans, this book raises awareness about the current political challenges faced by farmers and gives readers an up-close peek at what life as a farmer looks like. With easy, accessible language and cheerful illustrations, the volume is a wonderful introduction to Indian culture and agriculture more generally. Photographs drawn from the lives of the people mentioned in the text help bring the story and ideas to life for readers. At the same time, a glossary and comprehension questions underscore the educational value of the text.
Kisaan is an enjoyable and fascinating introduction to one aspect of Indian culture for young readers.
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About the Author
Children’s book author Dr. Simarjeet Kaur Sandhu, or Dr. Simi, as she likes to be called, recalls as a young child reading books in bookstores, libraries, and classrooms, but that the stories did not include characters that looked like her or that spoke of her cultural or religious background. A lifelong lover of reading and writing, she realized as an adult that she wanted to help young readers have a different experience and so she writes children’s stories to spread awareness, particularly for those of Sikh background.
As a child, Dr. Simi experienced a lot of bullying and discrimination, particularly after the 9-11 attacks, by people confusing Sikhs for those related to the Taliban or Osama Bin Laden. In part, this drove her to her journey as an educator of young children, teaching English as a second language, so that she could help build a learning environment that is accepting of people of all backgrounds.
Dr. Simi believes a good book is one where the reader can close their eyes and picture the story and relate to its characters. She wants her young readers to come away from her books learning that seemingly ordinary people, like farmers, are very important to our communities and the world by what they do for us. In her new children’s picture book, Kisaan, she conveys how very important this is in India because kisaans, or farmers, help feed billions of people.
Dr. Simi was inspired to write Kisaan by her two nieces, Mia and Bela. She wanted them to be able to grow up with books that reflected their background. Mia is also the co-author of the book, having originally written an essay about the recent plight of farmers in India, particularly her great-grandfather, the main character in the story, who have been affected by new and unfair laws against the kisaans of India.
When she isn’t writing enlightening and entertaining stories for children, Dr. Simi enjoys music, drawing, and painting, building with Legos, and teaching all subjects to all ages. Dr. Simi is also the published author of What is Meditation? We Say Waheguru and What is Mool Mantra?. She lives in Maryland with her rescue pup, Luke.
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