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Lands of Belonging

"A nuanced, richly informative illustrated history of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Britain"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

A History of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Britain

Written by Donna and Vikesh Amey Bhatt, with expert consultancy input from by Rajbir Hazelwood, historian of South Asia and Modern Britain, Lands of Belonging is a sumptuous, lucidly-told book that will illuminate young readers on the complex histories of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Britain, and South Asian cultures.

Published for the 75th anniversary of the Partition of India in August 2022, this stunningly illustrated book (kudos to illustrator Salini Perera) is framed in the context of there being multiple ways to tell a story, depending on your point of view and experiences. It also poses big questions ¬¬¬– what does it mean to belong? What makes you, you? ¬– with a relatable example taken from the life and family history of one of the authors.

Through these beautifully laid-out pages, we learn of ancient India’s innovations and inventions, its multi-faith society, its powerful empires, how the British East India Company ruled India by force, and the unfair deployment of Indian soldiers in WWI. We move then to learn about the partition of India, the birth of Pakistan, and India’s independence, with the complexities of this history conveyed in a highly readable style.

The book also relates the history of migration from South Asia from the 16th-century through to the 20th-century, with accounts of migrants’ achievements and cultural contributions to Britain alongside information about the racism migrants experienced, and the uprisings against it. 

Finally, a joyous section on South Asian culture covers food, festivals, customs and language, plus profiles of amazing South Asians, a timeline of historic events, and a calendar of South Asian celebrations.

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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