Make Books Come Alive: Salim Mamoo and Me
Make Books Come Alive is a series which features activity ideas for the different Indian children’s books from our GetLitt library. Parents, educators, and other adults who work with children’s books and young people can use these resources to make the stories a more immersive and interactive experience.
About The Book:
Zai’s uncle is the famous ‘birdman of India’ Salim Ali, everyone in her family is a birding expert, and she herself can’t so much as identify the pipit sitting right under her nose. In this delightful portrait of childhood, Zai Whitaker recounts her early birding woes and how she winged it. Prabha Mallya’s pictures pick up the humour, and are an arresting collage of a bird-filled Bombay of the past, and a troubled little girl with a ‘superstar’ uncle!
Activity: Become A Bird Detective
What to do:
Take the child(ren) you’re working with on a quest for birds.
Visit a green space closest to you. This could be a park, a hill or even your own garden (if you’re lucky enough to have a lush green one).
Keep an eye out for all the birds you see in the park as well as on your journey there.
Ask the child(ren) to document all the birds they spot in a notebook by drawing them. They can even write down any additional clues they notice about the bird and its environment.
If they already know the name of the bird, they can write it down next to the picture.
When you’re back home, visit your local library to look for bird books or turn to the internet. Use the illustrations from the bird quest to identify all the birds you saw and to find out more about them.
What you’ll need:
- A green space
- A notebook
- Pencils and crayons
- Keen detective senses so you don’t miss anything
1) Go on a picnic and pack a lot of sandwiches just like birders in the book did. You can use the picnic as an opportunity to look for birds or just relax and read lots of picture books.
2) Make a list of all the birds you encountered in the book. Draw the birds (you can look up more details of how they look in books or online) on stiff card paper, then cut them out and attach them together with sticks and string to make bird mobiles.
3) Watch and listen to some birds you can find in cities.
4) Find out more about “the birdman of India” by reading about his life in the comic book Salim Ali published by Amar Chitra Katha.
5) Ask the child(ren) you’re working with to think of something which used to be a secret before someone found out, just like Zai in the book. They can then either write or illustrate (or both!) the story of their secret, just like the author Zai Whitaker does through this book.