Manya stammers. More so, when she is nervous or agitated. So when she decides to participate in the school play, The Jungle Book, and is coveting the role of Shere Khan, she is a little nervous and so are some of the school teachers, including the Principal. Although, she comes out with flying colours in the audition, her chief tormentor and nemesis, Rajat, also bags a role and that too of Mowgli, ensuring his presence throughout most of the play. During the rehearsals, the more anxious Manya gets, the worse her stammer becomes. Will Manya lose her dream role? Can she overcome her fears and learn to roar?
The story beautifully brings out how cruel some children can be to a child suffering from any form of disabilities. And how many-a-time even adults have little patience and/or understanding to give them time, support and encouragement to achieve the important little milestones in their lives; regardless of how small and incremental. Although stammering is not really a physical disability, over the years it has become the butt of many jokes. Even in the film industry not so long ago, there was often a role of a stammerer, brought in as a comic relief when the going got rough for the hero and heroine!
Hence, it is important that books such as this one and another one by Duckbill, B-Big Bully and Me are placed in the hands of children to sensitise them towards children who maybe different in some way are after all, children just like them, with the same feelings, emotions and fears like them.
Read some more of the best of Indian books for children on the topic of disabilities Here.
This book was a winner in the Children First writing competition, organised by Parag, an initiative of Tata Trusts, and Duckbill Books.