Review of My Incredible India, by Jasbinder Bilan, illustrated by Nina Chakrabarti

My Incredible India

by Jasbinder Bilan
illustrated by Nina Chakrabarti

Candlewick Press, 2023. First published in the United Kingdom in 2022. 72 pages.
Review written May 20, 2024, from a library book.

This book reminds me of Africa, Amazing Africa, by Atinuke and Mouni Feddag. This one, too, is a big, beautiful, oversized picture book offering an in-depth look at a region of the world I hadn’t known a lot about. It, too, offers a look at personal things people love about India.

This book is framed as a visit of a child with her grandmother, who shows her wonderful things from India out of a large wooden chest. And each thing is associated with a different place in India. There’s a map at the front locating all the places talked about. Each place is located as to which of India’s twenty-eight states or eight union territories it’s found in. In between some of the spreads, which are all covered with illustrations as well as facts, there are spreads about more general topics such as wildlife, religious festivals, food, sports, crafts, and the like. A timeline of the history of India is at the back, along with an index and a list of websites to find out more.

I took it slowly when I read it, a few spreads at a time, and learned fascinating things about India.

Friday nights are exciting nights: that’s when I sleep over at Nanijee’s. She makes me spiced milky chai sprinkled with cinnamon. I take a small sip and snuggle into the folds of her chunni. She smiles and creaks open the trunk. It smells sweet, like the heart of a tree.

She takes out one object and tells me all about it — which state it’s from, why she loves it so much, and what makes it unique.

Let this author and artist share their love of India with you.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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