A few months ago while at my local library I came across a copy of the children’s book The Tiffin by Mahtab Narsimhan. I was running late and didn’t have time to read the book flap but because I was so intrigued by the cover I checked the book out. Later that night I began to read The Tiffin and was instantly hooked! Set in India the book tells the story of the rare time when a tiffin (a box lunch delivered by a dabbawalla) goes astray. The tiffin contained an important note which when lost results in devastating consequences. The Tiffin is a book that can be judged by it’s intriguing cover and I was up until the wee hours of the morning reading it from start to finish.
The next day, a wee bit sleep deprived, I spent some time on the computer researching the book and learning more about author Mahtab Narsimhan. Originally from Mumbai, India, Narsimhan now resides in Toronto, Canada. The catalyst that started her writing career was a tragic one. In 2003, devasted by her father’s death she began to write down her thoughts and memories of their life in India. These scribblings, along with her love for fantasy, morphed into the idea of writing a novel and her first book The Third Eye was published in 2007. Sequels The Silver Anklet followed in 2009 and The Deadly Conch in 2011. Narsimhan has also published two anthologies Piece by Piece: Stories About Fitting Into Canada (Penguin Canada, 2010) and Her Mother’s Ashes Part 3 (TSAR Publications, 2009).
The Tiffin has been nominated for several awards and is shortlisted by the Canadian Library Association for the 2012 Book of the Year for Children Award. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend you add it to your “Must Read” list. Check out this wonderful review of the book by West Vancouver librarian Shannon Ozirny (who you may remember was the MC at the VCLR Serendipity Conference that Marj and I presented at in Vancouver early this year). Shannon’s review was printed in the November 2011 issue of Quill and Quire and is partially reprinted here with Quill and Quire’s permission.
by Mahtab Narsimhan
(Dancing Cat Books, 2011)
Reviewed by Shannon Ozirny
In the context of children’s literature, the term “other worlds” often connotes places that are purely imaginary and only reachable by an enchanted cabinet or peculiarly numbered train platform. But Toronto-based, Silver Birch Award–winning author Mahtab Narsimhan (the Tara Trilogy) introduces children to the “other world” of the dabbawallas of her native Mumbai. Despite being very real and accessible by traditional modes of transport, this world will be just as awe-inspiring for North American young people as any fantasy realm could hope to be (click here to read more!)
And here is the book trailer