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Meet Shompa and Kelu;Development education;Reviews;Books

SHOMPA LIVES IN INDIA. By Jean Harrison. Christian Aid pound;14.50

FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOREST:A Chembakoli Story. By Taara Ghazi and Eileen Browne. ActionAid Big book pound;17.25. Reading book pound;5

Colin Harris reviews two large-format books that describe life in India

One welcome outcome of the successful literacy hour initiative has been the burgeoning list of big books. These large format readers, designed to be used with groups, allow children to share in the exciting adventure of reading.

Shompa Lives in India is aimed at key stage 1 and describes the way of life of a real family, mainly through large photographs of a smiling seven-year-old, Shompa, and her family engaged in a variety of regular activities such as washing, playing and earning a living.

Most of the other people in the pictures are also smiling, creating a positive image of life in India to set against some otherwise depressing reports of life in less economically developed countries.

The text is interspersed with questions that prompt readers to make comparisons with their own lives.

Aimed at key stage 2, Footprints takes an altogether different approach to Indian life. It tells the story of Kelu, a nine-year-old girl from Chembakoli in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, who ventures into the forest for flowers to help celebrate Adivasi day.

The delightful presentation, using large, colourful pictures to accompany the rich text, leads the reader through an exciting encounter with the mysteries of the forest. The story is set against the background of changing land ownership and the rights of village people to their own lands.

Both publications are highly recommended as additions to literacy hour materials.

Colin Harris is a geography consultant and inspector

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