Since I started blogging, it has always been my mission to share with you lesser-known, under-the-radar books that are must-read. I have also tried to re-introduce English book readers to Hindi literature via my blog. I am particularly partial to anthologies where I get to sample writings from authors who are still unknown to me.
On 13 November 2022, Keekli Charitable Trust released two anthologies, Fiction Treasure Trove and Himachal Ke Rang. Books that could not have been more different from each other whether it is the range of topics or the authors’ age.
About Keekli Charitable Trust
Bachpan, Masti aur Hum… perfectly defines Keekli – An Ode to Innocence. Since November 2018, helmed by Vandana Bhagra, the Keekli Charitable Trust has been working towards the education of the city of Shimla’s children and contributing towards sectors such as public health, women empowerment, and social welfare schemes.
Launched in Shimla in May 2013 as an online news and views magazine for children, it believes that by transforming the lives of children, you can change a family, a community, and ultimately the world. It helps groom young readers with Keekli Book Club sessions and the Keekli Library.
Keekli conducts short story writing competitions and creative writing workshops for children. Its pilot project 51 Scintillating Tales – Short Stories by Children was successfully accepted by literary circles. It continues to promote literacy and literary culture among young minds helping children tap into their latent talents.
Follow them online at Keekli.in, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay updated on the news and upcoming events.
मीमांसा—Children’s Literature Festival 2023
Language & Culture Department, Himachal Pradesh in partnership with Keekli Charitable Trust is hosting मीमांसा—Children’s Literature Festival 2023 from March 17-19. To be held at the Gaiety Theatre, Shimla, the mega literary festival will primarily focus on children’s literature with prominent children’s authors participating. There would be various inter-school competitions too including short story writing, vocabulary skills, slogan writing, poster making, and bookmark making.
For more details and to register, visit the Keekli website.
Fiction Treasure Trove: 31 Short Stories By Children
Edited by Sonia Dogra and Vandana Bhagra
The Keekli Charitable Trust held its second pan-India short story writing competition last summer in 2022 for young writers under the age of eighteen. The winning entries were compiled and edited by Sonia Dogra and Vandana Bhagra into Fiction Treasure Trove. A collection of thirty-one imaginative short stories across genres.
Although it is targeted at children, the book can be enjoyed by adults alike. The sheer creativity and the writing style of tweens and teens are sure to impress you. Writing that is also empathetic for their age. A range of topics from Greek mythology retelling to a talking cat to adventure to fantasy fiction to mysteries to the everyday issues that might be considered “grown-up”.
Primarily in English, the book includes three short stories written in Hindi. The cover too is designed by children – winners Atharv Vats and Pritha Doegar.
Not limited to print or ebook format, the stories are also available as podcasts on Keekli’s Spotify channel – Keekli – Little Feet, Big Strides. Some of them are narrated by the authors themselves which is always such a treat.
Himachal Ke Rang: Katha Pachisi
Edited by Vandana Bhagra
True to its name – the colors of Himachal. Edited by Vandana Bhagra, the duo-lingual Himachal ke Rang: Katha Pachisi is a collection of 25 short stories in Hindi and English written by Himachal’s writers above the age of 40.
Stories on real-life experiences based in Himachal. Short stories around a mature range of topics that are not necessarily feel-good but are definitely thought-provoking. Stories based on mythology. Uplifting stories on women’s empowerment. Slice of life stories and those around Himachal’s culture and traditions. The reality of women’s education, poverty, exploitation, and ecological issues. Stories that transport you to the mountains of Himachal. There is a generous sprinkling of the vernacular in some that did not take away from the book for me. In fact, it added to the charm of the narrative.
Similar to Fiction Treasure Trove, the stories are also available as podcast episodes. The narration is on point and I particularly enjoyed the Hindi narration by Kuldeep Verma.
Grab a copy of the books at the Delhi World Book Fair between February 25th and March 5th at Pragati Maidan, Hall No. 4 (First Floor). The books will be stocked at KharidoBecho.in Stall 128 & 129.
Do you have aspiring young writers at home or know one? Be sure to register them for Keekli’s upcoming pan-India contests. I hope you pick up these anthologies soon. Have you read them already? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Make a Wish Box.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter
February 23, 2023 @ 6:27 pm
I wrote an amazon review for Himachal ke rang. We should promote such books which showcase our country and little known places.Didn’t read Fiction Treasure trove though.
February 24, 2023 @ 3:02 pm
Exactly! I loved your review on Instagram. Will check out the Amazon one.
February 23, 2023 @ 10:36 pm
IS this Sonia Dogra the same one who was with us bloggers in the provious years?
February 24, 2023 @ 3:05 pm
Yes, it’s her. My go-to for anthologies. 😊
February 25, 2023 @ 6:08 pm
This is so good to have short stories, it will motivate children to read more and this is a good way to encourage children to read. I surely need tp push my kid towards keekli.
February 24, 2023 @ 11:34 am
I really like stories for children by children. They open the world to a whole new meaning. They are so imaginative and enterprising, Would love to read both the books. Am planning to visit the Book Fair, so will go there.
February 24, 2023 @ 3:46 pm
I always loo forward reading books by children. They have such talents that er can’t even imagine. All they need is right place and the push to make then discover their talents . The first book by children and the promotion to their literary world was mesmerising. Thr second book on real life experiences which u told will be a great read for me too.
February 25, 2023 @ 1:36 pm
The minute I see Sonia Dogra, I know it’s quality writing n since she’s edited one of these it must be good. Thank you Ritu for the recommendations. I will pick it up for my daughters… maybe they will read it if they know the stories are written by children.😛
February 25, 2023 @ 4:24 pm
I would love to read this treasure trove along with my daughter. Its been long since I have read a good Hindi narration.
February 25, 2023 @ 7:18 pm
To me short story collections are like a bouquet of flowers which offers us the chance to read stories with different emotions and value. I am a big fan of short story collections and find it a best companion for me when I am travelling. I will love to read both these anthologies after knowing from your post as I want to enrich myself with more knowledge about my own country. I did a similar compilation Titled ” Lockdown Kaleidoscope” where children from all across India Participated and share their feelings and expressions about Lockdown through short stories and poems.
February 25, 2023 @ 10:13 pm
Great Ritu! I liked the fact that you have inspired many without giving giving away much about the story. Thanks.
Vasumathi DS Ponday
February 26, 2023 @ 3:21 am
As usual Iam amazed at your range of reading. And i you are recommending, these must be lovely. Will pass the suggestion along too.
February 26, 2023 @ 9:53 am
This is such a wonderful way to motivate kids and tweens to bring out their creativity and give it encouragement on a bigger scale. Would love to read these books and give them to my kids too.
February 26, 2023 @ 12:43 pm
This children’s literature festival looks interesting. I will take my elder one after her final exams get over on 14. Nothing more eye opening for the kids than these types of festivals.
February 26, 2023 @ 2:28 pm
I have listened to some of the stories of Himachal ke Rang and they were good. I will pick up the children’s book soon. I have read most of the stories by proxy thanks to you.
February 26, 2023 @ 3:24 pm
Anthology by children is extremely encouraging for budding and upcoming writers. Recommended by you, I’m sure both of the books must be excellent. Will surely get them for my children.
February 26, 2023 @ 3:47 pm
Thank you Ritu for this post and for helping HKR and FTT reach more readers.
February 26, 2023 @ 5:40 pm
Thank you Ritu. Such an amazing review. The information you put it inspire us to read. Himachal ke rang, specially edited by Sonia Dogra, would like to check on. My daughter would like to read , special to check how children write stories. Than you for recommendations.
February 26, 2023 @ 5:54 pm
It can be a great idea to promote books that showcase different parts of our country and lesser-known places. Not only can it help to promote tourism and appreciation for the diversity of our country, but it can also be a great way to learn about new cultures and ways of life.
As for fiction treasure troves, they can be a great source of entertainment and escape, as well as a way to expand your imagination and understanding of the world. I am adding this to my list for my kids.
I am surely gonna check and follow for kids’ upcoming events.
February 26, 2023 @ 6:45 pm
I’ve shortlisted a bunch of books I want to order from Amazon, and I’m definitely adding these to my cart. I wish I could attend the Book Fair in Delhi; meri bibliophile soul legit tadap rahi hai 😛 As always, it is a pleasure to read your posts!
April 28, 2023 @ 6:26 pm
Thank you Nikita 😊 Missing your posts and recommendations.
February 26, 2023 @ 7:42 pm
Nice collection of tales. Will pick them up for my niece so she can read them when she turns older
April 28, 2023 @ 6:27 pm
That is lovely, Meetali 😊
February 26, 2023 @ 9:27 pm
Have known about keekli publishing books written by children. Going to sign up and read books from them. A detailed and long post.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:27 pm
Thank you Sivaranjini 😊. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
February 26, 2023 @ 10:08 pm
You always introduce us to good books. I will read this one. I have heard about this book a lot.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:29 pm
I always try to share books that deserve more love. Glad to know you have already picked this one. 😊
February 26, 2023 @ 10:35 pm
Hi Ritu, thank you for introducing Keekli to me. I am so glad that there are such organizations motivating the next generation to read and write stories. Looking at the pictures and reading your review, I am sure Treasure Trove will be loved by my elder son, I shall order it right away. Himachal ke rang book seems to a work of love and I am so elated that senior writers are bringing the lesser known stories out for the world to understand the culture and lesser known facts about Himachal. Shall check this one out too.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:30 pm
Do pick it up, Amritha. Perhaps your son can participate next season too.
February 27, 2023 @ 1:35 am
Your range of book reviews always amazes me. Great job bringing awareness to several sects by just one post. Indeed, teen co-writers are leaving their mark on many online platforms. This is a good way to bring it out to genpop. I especially like the fact that your post brings attention a state in India and a community that is helping uplift multiple causes, I look forward to getting both – Treasure Trove for my kiddos and Himachal ke rang for myself.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:32 pm
Thank you so much, Sakshi 😊. Completely agree. The creativity of these teen writers is sure impressive.
February 27, 2023 @ 2:43 am
To me, anthologies of short stories are like collection of golden pots that provide us the opportunity to read works with a range of sentiments and values. I love short stories collections and find them to be the perfect game changer in any mode of time. After reading your article, I’ll be eager to read both of these stories as they seem to be very interesting.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:33 pm
Completely agree, Pamela. Anthologies are an excellent way to sample the writing of new authors. They have helped me discover quite a few of my favorites 😊
February 27, 2023 @ 7:02 am
This is such a great thing you’re doing especially nowadays where the internet has somehow eaten most of what we’ve known doing such as reading. The way children read nowadays is much more innovative through technology or at times even with the use of YouTube. While there’s no harm with this, actually a great way too, but with reading being forgotten and getting the back seat always also is alarming. It is only through people who make this things as a life mission that could help this kind of awareness.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:35 pm
I agree Jeannine. Reading for pleasure is taking a backseat now. I am glad to do my bit to get readers back. 😊
February 27, 2023 @ 11:26 am
It is so important to bring forward diverse voices and learn about authors connected to the grassroots. I loved reading about the books and the initiative. There is always so much to learn from your blog posts!
April 28, 2023 @ 6:37 pm
Some stories from Himachal ke Rang were indeed a revelation. Thank you so much for stopping by, Ninu 😊
February 27, 2023 @ 4:37 pm
I just have one question for you. How do you find such treasure troves? I keep each and every post of yours in my TBR list and every time you mange to bring out the best of the books. Theses anthologies also sound so amazing and refreshing. I will specially recommend this to my sister who is yet in school but she will enjoy reading this and I am sure will learn something new from this.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:38 pm
I have our lovely Sonia Dogra to thank for this. I am so glad you enjoy my recommendations. Thank you 😊
February 28, 2023 @ 11:13 am
I feel writing is an amazing way to get the best of young creative minds. I so love to read book by children. Would for sure get my hands on this.
February 28, 2023 @ 11:13 am
I feel writing is an amazing way to get the best of young creative minds. I so love to read book by children. Would for sure get my hands on this…
April 28, 2023 @ 6:39 pm
Absolutely Sadvika. We definitely need creative writing included in the school curriculum.
February 28, 2023 @ 11:17 pm
I am so happy that you are promoting Hindi books too in this otherwise English world. I am definitely going to read these books too plus my kids will read the anthology too, they are avid readers and love to read for hours until the book is finished. I have loved all your recommendations from your prior posts.
April 28, 2023 @ 6:40 pm
Thank you so much for your kind words, Pooja. 😊 It is my effort to introduce readers to hindi literature rather than translated pop culture books.
Noor Anand Chawla
April 26, 2023 @ 7:49 pm
Such wonderful work the trust is doing and it was lovely to see a familiar name mentioned – Sonia Dogra!
April 28, 2023 @ 6:42 pm
All thanks to Sonia for introducing me to Keekli. We definitely need more such organizations.