Neel on Wheels
Lavanya Karthik
Habib Ali
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
disability siblings fear
picture book






"What is your inspiration behind your book?" Young India Books to Lavanya.

"Neel is inspired by pretty much every kid I know – funny, naughty, imaginative, creative, unafraid to see the world in a that is uniquely hihers. The fact that he’s in a wheelchair is purely incidental. The book is also about some universal themes – our fears, the powers of the imagination, the strong bond between siblings, about hero worship. And, of course, about the heroes that live among us. His rad wheels are just a bonus,"says Lavanya Karthik.t.


From the very first page you know that this book is going to hit the spot. With the touching storyline, the simple yet effective verse accompanied by the vivid and detailed illustrations this book is going to be the hot favourite of many a child and adults too.

In Lavanya’s deft hands Neel’s character unfolds – he is confident, protective, with a great sense of humour and imagination. If this was based on a true story, I’d give full marks to Neel’s family as well, for giving him room to blossom into one helluva spunky guy instead of crippling him with their over-protective efforts.

The sparse verse, too, speaks volumes. Not only do we get to know Neel, but also his little brother (whom we do not see). A little brother, who hero worships Neel, almost seeming to say, ‘move over super heroes, I don’t need you to spin fancy spider webs like Spiderman, nor do I need Batman’s batmobile to come to my aid for I have my brother Neel by my side. Single-handedly he can take on monsters, punch demons and scare away frightening sea monsters, too.’ Dishum! Dishum! One can almost hear the sound of the fearsome punches as he imagines them being delivered by the formidable duo - Neel and his wheelchair!

The book is a brilliant effort to highlight the fact that often the disability of the body is not really the problem but the disability in our minds is.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee