Synopsis: Jahan’s best friend Susie has a lisp. The boys in the park tease her and call her Thoothie and the kids at school laugh at her. Fed up, Susie decides to stops speaking. What is Jahan to do with a best friend who won’t speak?
Children can be fairly mean to people who are different. And articulation and phonological disorders are just not considered serious enough by our society to evoke any kind of empathy training in kids. In fact, most people end up making fun of them. Movies freely use such characters as a comic relief. It is simply acceptable to laugh. Very few stop to think.
Books like these are the precise reason why I love hOle Books. They bring issues relevant to the targeted age group without the story sinking into seriousness of the problem. They make it relatable. Susie has a lisp and she could be any of our children’s classmates. The kids in the park who tease her exist. So does the boy who decides to be her friend. The speech therapy is bugging her as much as the people who find her strange. The last straw is a school assignment that would require her to make a presentation on a topic with an overdose of the alphabet ‘s.’ The story follows her troubles, her friend standing by her side and Susie eventually finding her way.
Shruthi Rao deftly opens up a conversation about an issue mostly ignored. Books like these are important if we are to raise mindful kids. Give it a go.
Excerpts from the Review in the Indian Express https://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/blog/difficult-conversations-10-books-of-2018-by-indian-authors-kids-5508637/