Title: In My Heart
Author: Nandana Dev Sen; Illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane
Publisher: Puffin Books by Penguin Random House India
Publication Date: 15 January 2019
Genre: Children’s Literature
Purchase Link: Amazon
Puffin Books is celebrating summer vacations from school with its #PuffinReadingList #PuffinSummerReads program, as part of which I will read and review their pick of newly-released children’s books. I will recommend the best of the lot on my blog, so you can keep your children engaged with these beautiful books throughout the summer. Today I’m reviewing Nandana Dev Sen’s “In My Heart”. Read on to know my verdict.
Four-year-old Mia knows that she arrived directly in to her parents’ hearts. When she realises that some babies come from their mother’s tummies, she starts probing her parents about where she came from. This leads her on a quest to search for her ‘tummy mummy’, by questioning all the people in her life.
“In My Heart” is a beautiful book that touches a deep chord. Every time I read it to my three-year-old son, I have to choke back a sob when it ends!
Nandana Dev Sen writes beautifully. The fact that the story is her own daughter’s, makes it particularly endearing. Each character, however briefly introduced, is an essential part of the story and contributes in making the narrative richer. Mia is delightful- I definitely see reflections of my son in her, and I’m sure most parents will.
Ruchi Mhasane’s illustrations are pleasing to the eye, and bring the characters and scenes alive. The muted tones of colours help to signify the underlying importance of the subject, where loud colours and illustrations might have overpowered.
However, the book is limited in its scope. My son enjoyed reading about Mia and Muddle the dog, but at his age, he was uninterested in the concept of tummy mummies and heart mummies. When he’s older, it would be a great way to explain the concept of adoption to him.
This book is aimed at children who have been adopted, and parents who are planning to adopt and would like to know how to broach the subject with their adopted children. I have close cousins who were adopted, and I’m aware that it was difficult for them to come to terms with the knowledge of their adoption. Though they did not take it well at the time, they are now grateful to have known about their adoption from a young age.
Nandana Dev Sen’s book should be essential reading for homes with adopted children. It is a heart-warming way to tell them about their origins. The book is also great for introducing the concept of adoption to young children, who will invariably come across friends/ neighbours/ playmates who have been adopted.
However, the book may not appeal to young ones merely for reading pleasure. With this caveat, I must say that I loved the book for its writing and sensitive handling of a difficult subject, and recommend it to everyone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nandana Dev Sen is an award-winning actor, writer and child rights activist. She has authored six different children’s books including “Mambi and the Forest Fire” and “Talky Tumble of Jumble Farm”. Nandana lives in Kolkata, London and New York, and has starred in over twenty feature films from all three continents. She loves to eat, play, bike, dance and argue.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Ruchi Mhasane studied children’s book illustration in Cambridge, UK, and wants to make meaningful picture books for children everywhere, especially in India, where she is from. She loves stories that are socially relevant and can delight and inspire children to become lifelong readers.
Click here to read reviews of Ruskin Bond’s “Coming Round the Mountain: In the Year of Independence” and Devangana Dash’s “The Jungle Radio: Bird Songs of India”.
Buy your copy of Nandana Dev Sen’s “In My Heart” here.
*I’d like to thank Puffin Books and Penguin India for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The post is not sponsored, but it contains affiliate links. When you purchase a copy of the book through my link, I earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Please support my blog by purchasing through my link!
**Copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla.