I am planning to read a book for my child and wanted to read Ramayana. Can you please recommend a good, preferably pictorial book for reading to children. I have seen a few by Arshia Sattar , Bulbul Sharma, L.Lal. I am a bit confused as to which one to go for and appreciate your help. Thanks
While reading out stories from scriptures is definitely the best of samskaras we can give to the child, we need to show discretion in selecting what stories we should tell the child from 2 yrs to say 7-8 yrs. It should be all positive (stories which are mostly white less black and definitely no shades of grey). So stories like disrobing of draupadi, gambling match, detailed kidnapping of sita, detailed war stories and stories which don't have a happy ending are a big no no.
After say age of 12 (if trained properly from childhood) there reasoning is sufficiently developed to understand some nuances and can slowly be exposed to stories of cheating, gambling, shrewdness like that we see in Mahabharat or pancatantra.
Till such a time we should be very selective in what we are giving the child, since their conscious mind is not fully developed and whatever you say is going to have a long lasting impression on the child and a toddler does not necessarily understand or decipher right from wrong, though he may memorize "what to do and what not" when the mother/father tells it. So yes, choose stories which would help the child develop as a positive being and positive habits and also enjoys creative imagination.
So coming to my recommendation based on the above information
and your child's age would be to read him stories about good habits, child heroes, stories that are near their immediate nature, of faith and protection, jungles, imagination and magic, for eg:
- Vaikuntha enterprises produces good short picture books: https://srivaikuntaenterprises.in/product/ramayan/
- Read Dhruva and Prahlad stories from here, they are really good.
- Stories of Krishna's childhood pastimes (Maple books are good for these)
- Sri Ramakrishna Math makes good pictorial books, but you might skip the Mahabharata for your child for now. But Ramayana is good, but don't delve more into Sita's kidnapping.
- Tell creation stories of how Brahma was created and how he created our world in graphic details (ofcourse leave aside the lusty and bad things that were created for a later age :) )
Amara-citra katha i found good for mostly kids 6+ yrs and even teenagers. Who can self-read and it might contain things not suitable for 5 or less. But the pictures and detailing are really good.
Bul Bul Sharma Ramayana is for older children who can ask a lot of why and even understand the answers :) , so for 8+ years in my opinion. Not so much of pictures though.
Arshia sattar again better for older kids.
But the pictures are good in most of the books, so if you are game, read it first and then retell by just referring to the pictures in the book. And this might just be good practice in story-telling for you as well :)
Hope this helps.
You can buy books of Amara Chitra Katha.
The online source of the Ramayana is given below: