The quick guide to the Crossword Book Award shortlists

Adventure on Wheels, Prashant Pinge

This adventure features two thieves who accidentally kidnap three orphaned children, and “a failed attempted robbery”.

Bookasura, Anuradha Venkatesh, illustrated by Priya Kuriyan

Young Bala must contend with the “strange, many-headed creature” Bookasura, who demands to be given books. The problem is that Bala has only a finite supply of books.

Our Incredible Cow, Mahasweta Devi, illustrated by Ruchi Shah

The cow Nyadosh will has quite an appetite. She “chomps on textbooks, feasts on frocks and devours anything blue in colour.” But she really gets going once she tastes ilish fish – “there’s just no stopping her.”

Our Nana was a Nutcase, Ranjit Lal

Nana and his partner Shaddy Aunty bring up the siblings Gosling, Duckling, Dingaling and Dumpling in the Shadow House. The eccentric Nana makes life interesting for everyone around him, but it becomes clear eventually that he is living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Talking of Muskaan, Himanjali Sankar

Young Muskaan has tried to kill herself. While she is in hospital battling for her life, three of her friends at school talking about her life, and theirs. They speak of what happens at “… school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens”, and try to make sense of life – and death.


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