Book Mark

Every Creature Has a Story

Author:  Janaki Lenin Reviewed by: Vijayalakshmi Kutty

The book has 17 chapters of enthralling descriptions and absorbing stories of the amazing, diverse world of animals that live amongst us; creatures we come into contact with in our everyday lives and marvel at, but rarely understand and appreciate or empathise with. The book is based on empirical evidence and scientifically based studies, but made understandable to every form of reader with relatable descriptions and stories. Charles Darwin put it so well when he wrote: “From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved”.

Lenin urges us not to be anthropocentric by considering humans to be the central or most important element of existence, but to assess animals with empathy and understanding of their own uniqueness and exclusivity, by getting into their skin and internalising every creature’s story. Do not measure them with the metrics of human ethical and moral codes.

This is a book that should be a family acquirement, to be read and talked about at home and a book that should enter every class room, to be added on to the teacher’s science curriculum. Profound writings and discussions on the natural world are prolific today; but “Every Creature Has a Story” takes you to the quintessential.

The Zoo in My Backyard

Author:  Usha Rajagopalan Reviewed by Ramith Hegde (10 years)

The Zoo in My Backyard is a wonderful, fun-filled book by author Usha Rajagopalan. Usha led a campaign to save the Puttenahalli Lake in South Bengaluru. When I come to Bangalore, I always visit this lake. There I cut hedges, make pictures on the board and do some other small work. There are also many species of wonderful birds in the lake. Day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year, the Puttenahalli Lake is improving! Coming to the book, when I read it I got fully engrossed in the stories! Usha and her siblings had fun with Kesavan the black monkey, Judie the giant squirrel, Mini the shy mouse deer, Psitta the talking parrot, Devil the runaway dog, pigeons, Maxi the Pom, Fishes, Kuttan the baby elephant, Teddy the baby bear, rabbits and many more! They fed and took care of weak animals. Kids can learn more about animal life in this book. Animals also need love, care and comfort. Slowly we should make animals a part of our lives. The Zoo in MyBackyard is filled with adventures, fun, ‘laughy tales’ and it’s a delight! 

Editor’s note: Usha Rajagopalan was a speaker at the Bangalore Literature Festival, 2020. She was interviewed by Tony V. Francis. Catch the interview here