This month, Ellen Handler Spitz’s children’s literature column in The New Republic discusses two books from India as the honors college professor of visual arts examines The Enigma of Karma by Raja Mohanty and Folk Tales of Uttarakhand by Deepa Agarwal.
“As twenty-first century juggernauts of globalization and technology ride roughshod over regional cultures, there is a risk that precious legacies—oral, visual, and dramatic—are being lost. How will we preserve local customs, idiosyncratic habits of speech and dialect, humor, folklore, imagery, symbols, and artistic techniques—all with their concomitant wisdom? Sensitive editors of children’s books are grappling with these questions,” Spitz writes. “India may serve as an instructive guide.”
Spitz discusses these issues as they relate to these two very different but equally impressive children’s books in her essay “For Midnight’s Children.” The piece appeared in The New Republic on April 4.