Book Review: Exploring India: Kings and Queens by Subhadra Sen Gupta

May 27, 2016
Writer: Subhadra Sen Gupta
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9788129137586
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Exploring India: Kings and Queens is a part of the ‘Exploring India’ series for children. This book details the lives of four historical figures: Chandragupta Maurya, Krishnadeva Raya, Razia Sultan and Nurjahan. Buy Exploring India: Kings and Queens here

What did I like?

First, the choice of the four kings and queens is a good one. Chandragupta Maurya and Krishnadeva Raya’s lives are very inspiring, yet haven’t received quite the same attention as, say, Akbar or Prithviraj Chauhan. Similarly, I was delighted that there were two queens, Razia Sultan and Nurjahan.

The stories themselves are interestingly told, and the surrounding atmosphere – palace politics, the populace’s concerns, external threats to the kingdoms – are dealt with deftly. Every story has intriguing details – for example, Chandragupta traveled in a palanquin guarded by female bodyguards! – that keep up your interest. Every section ends with a list of further reading, which, for kids genuinely interested in history, is a great idea. And also – I believe this must be said – unlike a certain very popular comic book series that deals with the same material – these books are neither jingoistic nor chauvinistic, which is a relief.

What could have been better?

If I had to quibble, it might be about the kings and queens that deserve to be included but weren’t – Rani Chennamma, Bajirao Peshwa (not king, technically). Enough reason to look forward to a part II!

The verdict?

A good sharp read for 8-10 year olds – not too long and not overburdened with dates, this is the ideal way to get kids interested in history.

Buy Exploring India: Kings and Queens here. For a comprehensive book on Indian history for kids, try Subhadra Sen Gupta’s A Children’s History of India. Check out more books for 8-10 year olds here.

Mugdha Wagle

Mugdha Wagle

Content Editor at IndiaBookStore
Kitabi Keeda of the most obsessive sort. When she's reading something, interrupt her only if you have life insurance! Discovering a fantastic new author can move her to tears. Loves trekking, adores animals and venerates good food (eating it, not cooking it :))!
Mugdha Wagle

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