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006 Coconut Barfi and Children's Literature

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

It is a delight to come across books for children that include ingredients we use on a daily basis in our kitchen. One such treasure is ‘Ammachi’s Amazing Machines’ written and beautifully illustrated by Rajiv Eipe, published by Pratham Books. It is a wonderful story that highlights the secret camaraderie between a young boy and his grandmother as they scheme together to make some delicious coconut barfis.

Eipe skilfully illustrates the entire process of making these sweets from coconut. The grandmother (Ammachi) climbs up a coconut tree with an ingenious pulley. She then plucks the ripe ones (brown all over), pulls off the dried husks, and breaks it open in two to reveal the fresh white coconut meat inside. The boy helps his grandmother grate the coconut, and then they add this to a hot pan along with ghee, cardamom and dried nuts. Although his stomach growls, he patiently waits as the barfi cools down, and his grandmother cuts it into neat little squares that they both gulp down together.

My children can see their grandmother and themselves in this English language book.

Both my kids absolutely adore this book. The younger one even hugs it and sleeps! My older one has been begging his nanama to make coconut barfis for a month (!), and she finally caved in yesterday. I could not resist the opportunity to take some photos.

I am so thankful that my children can see their grandmother and themselves in these books written in english. Growing up, I only read about elaborate picnic spreads in all of the Enid Blyton’s books. My mouth would water over her description of scones and butter, but I never tasted one until I was 30! Thank you Rajiv Eipe. And thank you to all the authors, illustrators and publishers that make possible a more inclusive world for our children.

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