Book Talk with Indian Mom Rama Thoopal And Her Children’s Book Preferences
GetLitt would like to introduce you to Rama Thoopal, former creative head for an advertising agency who loves hanging out with kids over adults, and if she had to, would substitute books for kids – such is her love for reading and books.
Rama is a minimalist, which she admits is “a cool way to say that I do not buy stuff unless essential.” She also endeavours to be a better human being to our planet by trying to create zero waste, as much as possible. “I want to send as little as possible to a landfill, so I ensure I buy products with a low environmental impact, recycle and compost/vermicompost. I really want to leave a green, clean planet for you guys. The going is tough of course but every step counts and never let anyone tell you otherwise.” she says.
Apart from spending time with her kids, she does freelance and volunteer work in the education and environment industry. “I love the world and the small feet that go scampering all over it,” says Rama, and that’s why she was our choice for this month’s Book Talk with blog post.
Without further ado, let’s get to know Rama and her book preferences a little better.
Team GetLitt: What are some of your favourite children’s books?
Rama Thoopal: That is a tough one because my list is very long ranging from picture books to chapter books! My favourites, from back, when I was a kid in the 1980s, were ‘When Daddy was a Little Boy’, anything and everything by Enid Blyton, the Nancy Drew series, the What Katy Did series, the Little Women Series, Rudyard Kipling and pretty much all the classics. With my kids, it ranges from the Elephant and Pig series to Sherlock Holmes, the Fable Haven series, all mythology (Especially Roman, Greek and Egyptian) and anything by Rick Riordan.
TGL: What are your top 3 tips for getting your kids hooked onto reading?
RT: Read, read and read! Bedtime reading rituals, read aloud to little kids daily, read in front of your child, read yourself. Children are fabulous imitators. The biggest advantage of getting a child to read? You will never ever hear the dreaded sentence, “I am bored, there is nothing to do.”
TGL: What is a quirky reading habit you have?
RT: Hmm..when I was a child, I rather fancied myself as Jo from ‘Little Women’. So like Jo, I wanted to hide from the world and read, an apple at hand. Lacking an attic, I hid behind or below my bed and wore a dirty shirt that I carefully splattered with ink to mimic Jo’s beloved writer’s smock.
As for my kids, we carry books or our respective Kindles, wherever we go, just in case we are bored, or have to wait – for example at a doctor’s appointment. The funniest was my son reading right in front of the mandap during his uncle’s wedding. He got bored, and I understood this, however, his grandmother didn’t – She was upset.
TGL: Which is your favourite reading spot/somewhere you get the most reading done?
RT: Now that I am much older, but not much wiser, I like a hot cup of tea, one particular super comfy, all-enveloping chair …. and woe betide anyone who sits on it when it is my reading time.
TGL: Do your kids remind you of a particular protagonist from any books? Do they have traits of a certain character?
RT: My little girl is a scamp and she is the female version of Dennis the Menace or maybe Artemis Fowl. She has all the makings of a criminal mastermind. My son, on the other hand, is serious, reserved and studious but is always up for an adventure provided it comes knocking at his door. I cannot quite think of a character that fits his bill – perhaps Harry Potter?
TGL: Describe your favourite children’s book/novel in 5 adjectives.
RT: Absorbing, enchanting, uplifting, joyful, inspiring, ageless
TGL: What children’s novel would you love to see made into a movie, and who would you cast in it?
RT: I would LOVE to see a ‘What Katy Did’ adaptation. Katy was so me…before she became saintly, that is. It will have to be a very young and strong-willed actress and Maise Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) is the perfect fit for the part. Unfortunately, Maise is rather short and Katy is supposed to evolve from gangly to stately. But other than the height factor, Maise makes the perfect Katy.
TGL: What Indian children’s book have you read recently that you and your children have really loved?
RT: India A-Z and always, always, always ACK – the Birbal Stories, Jataka Tales are a favourite with both my children.
Thanks Rama for sitting with us!
Judging from the answers, we can only imagine the literary fun at the Thoopal house! Rama has also offered us a more in-depth blog post on how to get your kids to read, so stayed tuned for that, we will be publishing the piece soon. In the meanwhile, have a look at our library, we’re constantly adding new books for your little ones to read.