Author of the month on The Duckbill Gang

Mighty pleased to be Author of the Month on the lovely website, The Duckbill Gang.  If you haven’t already, do visit it for your children to sign up and get access to all kinds of fun around books and writing. As author of the month, I’ll be posting on writing, inspiration, grocery lists, stick figures, writing contests and more. Here’s my first post: What do you want to be when you grow up? Shudder!   Share...
Get cracking! History Mystery code sheets!

Get cracking! History Mystery code sheets!

Am delighted to share the History Mystery code sheets as a do-at-home activity with your kids. Ashoka and the Muddled Messages features a mystery of Emperor Ashoka’s messages being muddled. In real life we had forgotten how to read the script that Emperor Ashoka had his messages written in. We had the mystery of the unreadable script! Along came James Prinsep, determined to decipher it, which he eventually did in 1837. Ashokan Brahmi is India’s earliest deciphered written script today. I’ve created a simplified code and created activity sheets based on letters from Ashokan Brahmi. Decode them and read shortened versions of some of Ashoka’s messages. Follow the link for the sheets and code: THE HISTORY MYSTERY CODE ACTIVITY.   Share...

The Reading Raccoons on Ashoka and the Muddled Messages

Review time! ” History is not easily lapped up by kids. My younger one, at least, tries to avoid all references to the subject. So, when he picked up a book from Natasha Sharma‘s History Mystery series, I was pleasantly surprised. Two books from the series are out, and we have read Ashoka and the Muddled messages. The plot is hilarious with the king’s edicts ending up muddled every time he sends them out to his kingdom. When he asks everyone to turn vegetarian, his edict gets muddled, and ends up inscribed on stone, encouraging people to make animal sacrifices! So who is muddling up the messages, and creating utter chaos across the kingdom?  The Agramatya’s beard, that he colours in the most outrageous shades, the Tremendous Ten and their antics, the queen’s tantrums – all make the whodunnit fairly interesting. What we absolutely loved about the book was the brief, simple facts about the king given at the back , a page in the end for ‘My hysterical History notes,’ and the absolutely lovely illustrations by Tanvi Bhat.  Must read for the younger raccoons. In fact my ten year old also enjoyed it, so it is definitely not limited to that age group.” – Tanu Shree Singh on The Reading Raccoons Available in bookstores and online retailers including Amazon  flipkart  infibeam Share...

On my historically geographically challenged past…

Here’s a blog piece that I wrote for my publisher Duckbill’s blog regarding history, geography and more such. Ooty and Orissa Natasha Sharma, the author of the History-Mystery series, on her struggles with history and geography at school and beyond! There is one bit of history that I recall clearly from school – the Indus Valley civilisation. It intrigued me. The layout of their cities, the thought put into buildings and public spaces, the drainage system, the statue of the dancing girl, the seals … it all built up this world in my head that has stayed with me ever since. On my earliest visit to the National Museum, I remember heading straight for the Harappan section and getting goosebumps on seeing the relics from thousands of years ago. And that’s really where all my fascination with history ended back then. History, apart from that first chapter, was my most dreaded subject. Okay, probably second from the bottom of my list, geography being the lowest. I was extremely geographically challenged back and even at the risk of being ridiculed ever after, I shall reveal the moment that I look back at myself in utter horror… Read ahead here … http://theduckbillblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/natasha-sharma-ooty-and-orissa/ Visit the History Mystery series page to know more about the books and for links to buy the books or ebooks. Click on the book covers below to read the first chapter from each book.      Share...

History and mystery at my book launch at the Kala Ghodha festival

‘Pa-pa-papa-pa-papa-pa-paaaaa!  Dham-dham-dhadha-dham-dhadha-dham-dham!’ sounded out Kitab Khana bookstore yesterday at the launch of my new History Mystery series with Akbar and the Tricky Traitor and Ashoka and the Muddled messages. About the trumpets and the drums. Bring together a bunch of enthusiastic kids, make them jump into history with the makings of a mystery and they’ll trumpet and beat out the rhythm anywhere. As we pa-paaed and dham-dhammed together, it was time to reveal the strange ways of a writer’s mind. It was time to bring on to stage … THE THING! Kept carefully in a wooden box, covered with a regal red cloth, a brave soul came forth to hold the tongs (for it was rather doubtful whether THE THING had been washed in a  while) and pulled out … … THE SOCK! (At this crucial point, the photographer froze in shock and missed clicking the all important photograph. Be thankful … for the stench, even over the web, might have made you faint.) Ques: Where did the sock come from? Ans: A bag full of props at a Duckbill reading workshop. And then? Well … socks relate to feet that relate to footsteps that connects to the mystery in the Akbar book. I cannot say more for fear of giving the mystery away, but you can learn more about the books by clicking here. The children giggled through the introductory video to History Mystery. We followed it up with trick questions on the Super Six and the Tremendous Ten investigators and I read out the first chapter from Akbar and the Tricky Traitor. We then went on to the...