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Sheeba and the Private Detectives is a Pakistani comic book series that was created to help combat illiteracy in Pakistan and to promote STEM education to children between the ages of 7 and 13 years old. The series focuses on four child detectives, Sheeba, Reemi, Majid, and Qulsoom, their dog Speedy, and their donkey Tufaan as they travel throughout Pakistan solving mysteries. Each issue is a new stand-alone mystery, so they do not need to be read in order. Volume 2 of Sheeba and the Private Detectives contains issues 4-6: The Case of the Stolen Books, The Case of the Mysterious Bones, and The Case of The Colourful Scarf.

The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan is a collection of 20 zany stories following the two brothers named in the title; it was created by Shibram Chakraborty, who also writes himself into the stories. Dada, nicknamed for Harshabardhan being the elder brother, and Gobra, as Harshabardhan nicknamed his younger brother, both take turns finding themselves in mishaps, traps, and reckless exploration. There is no shortage of wacky, sharp-witted fun to partake in while reading Chakraborty’s brilliantly bizarre musings. 

Kakoli Chakrabarty (Kalu), Malabika Majumdar (Malu), Bulbuli Sen (Bulu), Tultuli Basu (Tulu) are four girls who become students at a boarding school and shorten their names to coin themselves the “Gandalu” or Lu Quartet. Nalini Das artfully writes the all-girl detective team into clue-filled mysteries in this collection of 13 stories, all narrated by Tulu. The part-time sleuths, girls have their unique personalities to complement each other, as they share in adventures and solve mysteries.

In Lalitha Raghupati’s graphic novel style retelling of the Tamil classic Shilappadikaram by Ilango Adigal, readers meet Kannagi, a charming, noble woman who marries Kovalan and lives happily with him, until he sets his sights on a beautiful dancer Madhavi. This classic turned comic book brilliantly shows just how unfair life can be when a dishonest, unfaithful lover, a selfish, conniving goldsmith, and an unmerciful king not only rob Kannagi of her deserved happiness but drive her into a vengeful, fiery rampage. When a woman known for her calm, serene disposition like Kannagi reaches her breaking point, only powerful, divine intervention can put out the flames both in Kannagi’s heart and in the city. Scripted and retold by Raghupati, this 32-page graphic novel reads fluently with occasional unusual sentence structure yet is quick and easy to read. Each page features vivid, multicolored comic strips drawn by Varnam, which bring the story and its characters to life and help contextualize each fast-paced moment. 

Rhymes of Whimsy: The Complete Abol Tabol is a bilingual collection of 53 children’s poems presented in the original Bengali side-by-side with the English translations. The author, Sukumar Ray, was one of the first poets to write nonsense verse for children in Bengali. Each poem transports the reader into a fantastical world of wacky characters. At the end of the book, the translator has included several pages of notes about the translations. Roy gives readers the context and insight into some of the cultural references in the poems, definitions of Bengali words, and explanations for some of the artistic liberties he had to take during the translation process, such as changing words to suit the rhyme scheme and to make sense to Western audiences. Rhymes of Whimsy is a delightful read that is perfect for readers 11 years and older.  

The Unicorn Expedition and Other Stories contains seven short stories following the exploits of Professor Shonku, an eccentric physicist and inventor, who knows 69 different languages, has a 24-year-old cat named Newton, and travels the world --and through time-- in pursuit of new knowledge. In “The Unicorn Expedition,” Professor Shonku receives word that a diary by a revered scientist, Charles Willard, has been found and contains a mention of a herd of unicorns and a 200-year-old flying lama (Buddhist monk) in Tibet. Shonku, his neighbor Avinash Babu, and three Europeans travel to Tibet, following in the footsteps of Willard, in order to witness these magical sights for themselves. The journey is long and full of peril as they face many challenges: they are nearly robbed by Khampa bandits, discover that an undercover thief is amongst them, get caught in freezing blizzards, and more!

Sheeba and the Private Detectives
The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan
The Lu Quartet
Kannagi: Her Love Conquers All
Rhymes of Whimsy
The Unicorn Expedition and Other Stories
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