Hooked in to a Book Club Read – A quiet Girl by Paro Anand

Our Grey Matters Book Club for Grade 1 started with Paro Anand ‘s book for her youngest readers – A Quiet Girl , a delightful ‘Hook Book’ , perfect for readers making the transition from picture books to the sometimes intimidating chapter books.

A simply narrated tale of a special girl Puja, who only smiled and smiled and did not talk at all. Her best friends are animals and the most special one is the newest addition to the family, a little foal, Takbak who would “tickle her with soft puffs of breath” . But Takbak is about to be sold. What will little Puja do?

Grey Matters discussions

…Where do you think Puja lived? Urban/rural , flat terrain or up in a cold hill station? Why?
It amazing to notice how much the illustrations matter as the kids noticed the houses, the animals , the path and even the basket that baby Puja slept in

Science Exploration

The book talks about Bulbul being a mare , and the baby a foal. The back of the book has a lovely questions panel and we pick up the opportunity to explore animals and their families
Herds – mare, stallion, filly and colt to dolphins and their pods to prides of lions , lioness and cubs

We pick up the chickens in a coop and explore some animal homes

Horses from everywhere

…Have they read/seen other horses in books ? Spirit , an animated serial pops up. We talk about Anna Swell’s classic Black beauty and her friend Ginger and about an “autobiography”
…then we get into fantasy and myths ..of unicorns and Pegasus
…into History and Rana Pratap’s Chetak

Social Awareness

…It is funny to note that the family is sad when there is a colt born? Why do they want a Ghodi? Is it the same among humans ? Have they heard of people praying for a boy? A brief introduction to Beti Bachao idea and gender equality.

Empathy

…When marriage baraats run long and late, poor Bulbul is often tired. Puja’s dad even massages the mare’s legs and gives her gur and carrots. How do they feel she is treated?
…How did Puja feel when Takbak was being sold? “ How would Bulbul be feeling to lose her baby like that?” a little one asks.
…Have you met someone like Puja who may not speak or is slightly different? How can we react and what can you learn from someone like Puja?

Language Development

Chortle and Gurgle are words described in the book for laughter. Do you know other words?
Smirk, Grin, Snicker, Giggle, Chuckle, Cackle and Guffaws…we laughed our hearts out in every way as we finished it off with a super fun reading of Pratham’s The Girl who couldn’t stop laughing.

Whilst I was rather unsure where these tiny readers could go when I started this book club , I couldn’t be more delighted with this enriching one hour session!

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