Like many of you, we have lived and moved between different cultures. Switching between different languages, foods and spellings came with a learning curve, but one that we can now easily traverse.
As our families grew, we wondered if our children would be able to relate to our childhood adventures – eating sugar cane fresh from the farm, repeating tongue twisting rhymes, playing kho-kho, eagerly awaiting special treats on Diwali and Eid and listening to nani ki kahaniyan about Shiva-ji, Birbal and Rani of Jhansi?
We struggled with many questions: How could we share and pass on the richness of diverse languages, cultures and traditions that made us who we are? How do we teach our native languages to our children? How do we share our culture with our new friends and teachers? How do our children learn to celebrate the diversity in this beautiful world?
As we searched for books, films and music that could introduce our children to our culture, engage and fill their minds with wonder and curiosity, we found that sourcing them was our own (un)accredited PhD project! Despite the growing number of South Asian books, there was no one place where we could find them.
Mainstream sites and bookstores only have a small fraction of the books out there. We began sharing our finds and talking about the merits of one book over another, and realized that we were not alone, and an idea was born.
KitaabWorld seeks to join the worlds where we grew up to the places all over the globe where we now find ourselves. We want to invoke joy and the shared love of childhood stories and games. We hope to pass on to our children the loving caress of the many languages, histories and traditions we experienced.
At KitaabWorld we believe in making South Asia’s diverse stories and rich cultural heritage accessible to all. Our stories are universal yet uniquely rooted. We want to celebrate this diversity by getting to know each other’s stories, cultures and traditions.
We have had long discussions about the difficulties of conversing and teaching our children our native languages. Often we struggle to explain words and became frustrated with our own inability to pass on something that holds a lot of meaning for us.
KitaabWorld makes a conscious effort to seek out bilingual books and materials to make learning fun and engaging. It is also a great way to connect with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends across the seas.
We hope to instill a love for books that can unleash your imagination and create a sense of belonging. We hope to sow the seeds for your loved ones to stay rooted in their culture and language and branch out into a new world of ideas, creativity and imagination.
We invite you to weave this rich tapestry of South Asia into your own world. Together, we can connect the world to South Asia, one book at a time.