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6 Books To Fill Your Heart With Some Christmas Cheer

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What is Christmas cheer?

In Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol”, Uncle Scrooge starts off as a resentful, angry and irritable man, who screams terrible things like this,

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

But then he turns over a new leaf, truly embraces Christmas and well, blabbers like a very very happy chatterbox,

“I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world!”

Christmas Cheer is the magic that can make a grumpy soul cheerful and content.

We hope you are in good and happy spirits this December. In case you’re not, here is a delightful collection of picture books by Katha to put a smile on your face and add a warm fuzzy Christmas buzz to your life. As for children and adults who are already super excited about embracing Christmas, you’ve come to the right place because each of these books will make your Christmas as perfect and warm as it can get. We have never-been-told-before stories, that capture the caroling spirit of Christmas from everywhere. All of these titles are available in English and Hindi.

Get your reading caps on!

1. “Polar Bear” By Norbert Rosing

This Christmas, travel all the way to the Arctic Circle, and learn about a warm and unlikely friendship. This book is photographer Norbert Rosing’s gift to you, and is rife with very special snapshots from the land of snow, polar bears, and wild arctic dogs. If we had to give a gift to Santa Clause, this would be it!

2. “Treasures From Tibet” By Malavika Navale

Turning the colourful pages of this book is like opening a pretty Christmas present. Hues of purple, yellow and pink greet the young readers as they discover the story of Momo-ley and Pema’s secret treasures. This is a warm book about home, empathy, love, and belonging. This tale will warm your heart and light up your bookshelf. If you want to capture the colours, sights, and the feeling of home in a book, you have found your pick! Highly recommended for readers celebrating Christmas away from home.

3. “I Am Aan” By Meenakshi Bharadwaj And Christopher Corr

In case you forgot to buy Christmas lights for your tree you might as well read this book instead! The paintings are bright and beautiful and the story they tell is as comforting as a mother’s hug. We hope the playfulness of Aan the elephant rubs off on you, because that is the spirit with which Christmas should be welcomed. Place this book in a child’s hands and watch her get lost as she follows Aan through the colourful jungle. A warm cup of chai, a cold winter afternoon and you snuggled up in a blanket with this book. Now you know what you’ll be doing this Christmas noon.

4. “The Champa Flower” By Rabindranath Tagore And Jaikar

The perfect book to inculcate empathy in children and warm the heart of any parent. This picture book is a visual retelling of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem and describes the rich interplay between a mother and son. The words of the poem fall as softly as snowflakes on a cold winter night as the son imagines ways in which he could surprise his mother if only he were a champa flower. A beautiful bedtime book to curl up with on Christmas eve.

5. “The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Grow Up” By Veronique Tadjo And Catherine Groenwald

Ah, magic! Don’t you want to lose yourself in a fantasy world this Christmas holiday? This delightful fantasy follows the life of a young girl as she saves her village from dangerous criminals using her special powers. The story of Ayanda is a parable about loss giving way to love, courage and hope; a tale about embracing change with the right spirit and well, a little bit of help from magic. This beautifully illustrated African tale will add a dash of fun to your Christmas cheer. Reads best with a warm mug of hot chocolate or masala chai!

6. “One’s Own, Yet Different” By Meena Kakodkar And Charutha Reghunath

This book reads as softly as a lullaby and as provocatively as a stereotype smashing handbook. A good read for younger teens about unfair proscriptions placed on young girls and how to spot and kick them aside, step by step. Another story to comfort a soul on Christmas eve, this is a great book to place under a young girl’s Christmas tree as a gift.  This book is a part of the ‘Gender Series’. The series has four other books and can be bought as a set.

Book compilation by Mamta Nainy Jain and written by Aparna Srivastava. These are some highly recommended books by all the enthusiastic editors at Katha! 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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