My Incredible India

My Incredible IndiaI am utterly mesmerized by this book!

Written by Jasbinder Bilan, born on a farm near the Himalayas, and illustrated by Nina Chakrabarti, a woman raised in Kolkata, their love for the wonders of this vast and many-faceted country shines from each double-page spread, irresistibly inviting the reader to discover more for the sheer joy of learning.

The narrative finds Thara and her Nanijee going through this grandmother’s carved wooden trunk of memorable objects she has collected throughout her lifetime.

I was delighted to find Nek Chand’s Chandigarh Rock Garden here. I first learned about this by reading The Secret Kingdom (Barb Rosenstock, Claire A. Nivola, Candlewick Press), which resonates many years after my first reading. In My Incredible India, each feature is revealed on two pages and yet I have the same urge to go see the Garden in person.

illustration from My Incredible India
illustration © copyright Nina Chakrabarti for My Incredible India, written by Jasbinder Bilan, Candlewick Press, 2023

The illustrations are breathtaking for what they accomplish. Small vignettes, flora, vistas with people young and old, depictions of gods and goddesses, all composed on each spread to lead our eyes from one description to another. 

I admire that you can dip into this book or read it straight through. The narrative works either way.

My Incredible India is a mixture of history and modern-day sites, from the Taj Mahal to the Satish Dhawan Space Center and every bit of it is delicious. Sports, clothing, food, geography … it is 72 pages filled with marvels.

Back matter includes a timeline, a tribute to “Father of the Nation” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and an index. Thank goodness for that index and numbered pages.

This is a treasure, sure to be enjoyed by the curious of all ages. It belongs on your bookshelf.

Highly recommended.

My Incredible India
written by Jasbinder Bilan
illustrated by Nina Chakrabarti
Candlewick Press, 2023
Suggested for ages 6 and up
ISBN 978-0-5362-2501-3

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