Published by Karadi Tales, Thukpa for All is a children’s book written by Praba Ram and Sheela Preuitt, with breathtaking illustrations by Shilpa Ranade.
The book features on IBBY’s 2019 List of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. Additionally, the book is also on the shortlist for the Neev Book Awards 2019.
Read about the Neev Book Awards 2019 HERE.
Recommended ages for self-reading: Regular 7+; Advanced 5+
Thukpa for All follows Tsering, a happy little boy from the hilly regions of Ladakh. We join Tsering as he navigates his way home, all the while dreaming of Abi‘s (his grandmother) yummy noodle soup, Thukpa.
Thukpa is a special noodle soup originally from Tibet. Thukpa is a staple food for the people of Ladakh, as well as parts of North-East India. On a cold, winter’s day, there is nothing as comforting than a bowl of hot noodle soup.
“Hot, hot thukpa,
Hearty, chunky thukpa,
Yummy, spicy thukpa.”
Tsering sings these lines all the way to his grandmother’s house, tempting the various people he meets on the way. They all want to join him for dinner and taste the best thukpa in town!
On the way home, Tsering rescues a wandering lamb and comforts a sickly neighbour. After Tsering reaches home, he tells Abi about everyone he met on his way. They all want to taste Abi’s delicious thukpa! Now, Abi is worried. There may not be enough thukpa for all the guests. Abi wastes no time and starts cooking her delicious noodle soup!
Lo and behold! As they arrive, each guest brings something for the feast- cheese, spinach, apricot jam, freshly kneaded dough and even buttered tea. There is enough for everyone to eat!
As Abi is preparing the feast, the lights suddenly go out! There’s no moonlight either, and now Abi can’t finish making the feast.
Who comes to the rescue? Tsering! Daylight or moonlight doesn’t make a difference to him.
Oh- did I forget to mention that Tsering is blind?
Tsering carefully follows Abi’s instructions and prepares the noodles. Just as the noodles are ready for the boiling pot of water- the power comes back on! The happy group and Tsering enjoy the best thukpa in town.
Thukpa for All paints a beautiful picture of a tightly-knit community, who all look out for each other. Shilpa Ranade’s illustrations perfectly capture the serenity of Ladakh. From their clothes to the colourful prayer flags hung on the roads, the illustrations are authentic and vibrant.
The Blind Protagonist
The story neither shies away from nor highlights Tsering’s disability. It does not focus on how Tsering is different from people. His effortless empathy for the people he meets on his way does not require him to see. Tsering is a kind, happy little boy, a boy who loves and is loved by everyone around him. His disability has nothing to do it.
Thukpa for All follows in the footsteps of other books that attempt to deal with disability tactfully. That is, without needlessly framing disability as the heart of the story.
(Click here to read my review of a similar story, Machher Jhol).
While it may be more common in the West, dealing with complicated issues has not been something the Indian children’s industry has forayed into until very recently. And about time, too.
We couldn’t be happier that Thukpa for All is on the shortlist for the Neev Book Awards 2019!
Have you read Thukpa for All? What did you think of the book? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out the Best of Indian Children’s Writing – Contemporary Awards List!
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