Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth

Regional focus:  India

Author:  Sanjey Patel and Emily Haynes

Genre:  Children’s literature

In Sanjey Patel and Emily Haynes’ playful story, meet young Ganesha, a mythological character from the Mahabharata, the epic poem of Hindu literature. Ganesha is just like any other child, with the exception that he has the head of the elephant and his best friend is a tiny magical mouse. He has a soft spot for sweet treats. In this comical tale, we learn that Ganesha breaks a tusk on a surprisingly hard jawbreaker candy. With an unexpected twist of fate, we discover how his broken tusk eventually plays a very important role in Hindu history.

What I love:

  • Patel’s ilustrations are colorful, whimsical and inviting.
  • The story is hilarious.
  • What’s not to love about candy!

Themes: friendship, resourcefulness, mythology

Discussion:

  • What are your favorite sweets?
  • Have you ever felt sad about loosing something that was important to you? How did you eventually feel better?
  • What mythological characters exist in your culture? What do they represent?

Connections:

  • Create a mythological character with the head of an animal and a body of a person. What is this new character’s favorite food? What is his/her “claim to fame”?
  • Ask an elder to share a story about a mythical character that he/she learned about as a child.
  • Investigate the stories of other deities/mythical characters from the Hindu culture/religion.
  • Check out additional activities at: www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/Ganesha_activities_r2.pdf

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APV School

Regional focus:  India

Ashram Paryvaran Vidyalaya, Ashram Environmental School

Nestled in the Indian Himalayas, surrounded by lush, green forest and painted mountains, flourishes a small, soulful school known locally as APV. APV School was founded in 1995 by education reformist Anandji, who, after spending decades in the Indian Education system and feeling disenchanted with conventional learning techniques was moved to begin a mindful school in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Teachers live, meditate, farm, trek, make music and run a school together.
The school is dedicated to providing a holistic, mindful and inclusive educational experience to local children by ways of music, meditation, nature appreciation and spontaneous learning.

The philosophy and methodology of the APV School springs from the simple belief that education, at its core, is not the accumulation of information but an inner evolution, an insight into the self, a refinement and deepening of awareness, and a flowering of compassion.

Mornings at APV begin with an assembly where all students and staff are present, and a teacher leads the community in a gentle nature observation and a short meditation. Soon after, children share in song and rhythm before separating into their learning groups. There are no chairs or tables at APV or sophisticated teaching equipment. Their greatest resource is thoughtfully trained teachers who have been supported and have learned the delicate technique of teaching in the moment, and truly listening to their students.

On a personal note, APV remains near and dear to my heart. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with APV on three separate occasions, most recently with my 10 year old daughter, who was welcomed with enthusiasm into a truly embracing community.

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