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Books | Web Sites


For Teachers

Cultural History of India edited by A.L. Basham. (Oxford University Press, 1999)
A survey of Indian culture, including religion, philosophy, literature, art, architecture, music, and science, as well as an examination of the impact of Indian civilization on the world.

Early India: From Origins to AD 1300 by Romila Thapar. (University of California Press, 2004)
From its prehistoric beginnings to the emergence of mighty dynasties, this is a comprehensive history by a renowned Indian historian.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life, Vol.1 edited by Joyce E. Salisbury. (Greenwood Press, 2004)
A comprehensive look at the lives of ordinary people in ancient times — their clothes, food, culture, customs, beliefs, etc.

India: A History by John Keay. (Grove Press, 2001)
A narrative, illustrated history of India, from its beginnings in 3000 B.C.E.

Indian Art, rev. ed. by Roy Craven. (Thames & Hudson, 1997)
The World of Art series. The traditions, symbolism, and variety of Indian art are presented and explained.

For Students


The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
A conch shell with special powers, a street-wise girl, and an old man with surprising skills lead Anand to take a journey far from home.

Jamil's Clever Cat by Fiona French with Dick Newby. (Frances Lincoln Ltd., 1998)
Jamil's cat, Sardul, tricks the Rajah into allowing his daughter to marry a lowly weaver in this Bengali folk tale.

Nine Animals and the Well by James Rumford. (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
This is the cumulative tale of nine animals' attempts to find just the right birthday presents for a young raja-king. Also traces the origins of numerals from Arabia to North Africa and India.

Rama and the Demon King by Jessica Souhami. (DK, 1997)
In this ancient tale, Rama is exiled by his father at the request of his jealous stepmother. He returns from exile to become the king.

Robi Dobi, The Marvelous Adventures of an Indian Elephant by Madhur Jaffrey. (Dial Books, 1997)
When the elephant Robi Dobi saves a small orange animal named Kabbi Wahabbi, he finds a lifelong friend who shares adventures with him.

Savitri: A Tale of Ancient India by Aaron Shepard. (Whitman, 1996)
A retelling of a story from The Mahabharata, in which the king's only daughter searches for a perfect husband. Then she has to convince her father to let her marry her choice.

Shiva's Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples. (HarperCollins, 2000)
Parvati's skill as a dancer leads to a wonderful opportunity to study with a master of classical Indian dance but she is not sure if she can leave behind all that she loves. For older readers.

Tusk and Stone by Malcolm Bosse. (Front Street, 1995)
Arjun is a member of the Brahman class of priests and scholars but when he is captured by bandits, he must train to become a mahout, an elephant driver, in 17th century India.


Ancient India by Virginia Schomp. (Watts, 2005)
Cultures of the Ancient Societies series. The culture and history of ancient India is explored through literature, documents, and artifacts.

Ancient Medicine: From Sorcery to Surgery by Michael Woods. (Runestone, 1999)
A look at the medical practices and innovations in ancient Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Greek, and Roman cultures and how they have influenced medicine today.

The Asian Empires by Rebecca Steffof. (Benchmark Books, 2005)
World Historical Atlases series. An overview of Imperial China, the rulers of India, and Ottomon Turkey, with maps and pictures.

Checkmate at Chess City by Piers Harper. (Candlewick, 2000)
The basic strategies of chess are introduced in the context of a story of a city caught between warring armies. For young readers and beginning game players.

Chess Basics by Nigel Short. (Sterling, 1994)
A professional chess player shares the strategies and complexities of the game, starting with setting up the chessboard and including tactics and tips on chess etiquette.

India by Marilynn G. Barr. (Teaching & Learning Company, 2003)
Exploring Ancient Civilizations series. Presents basic information about India, along with 13 related craft projects.

India by Manini Chatterjee and Anita Roy. (Dorling Kindersley, 2002)
Eyewitness Books. A broad introduction to the country, its history, customs, arts, foods, religions, technology, and present-day life in both cities and rural areas.

India by David Cummings. (Cherrytree Books, 2005)
Letters from Around the World series. Lakshmi writes to her pen pal Sam about a typical day's activities — school, work, cooking, walking the dog. For younger readers.

The Life and Times of Buddha by Monda K. Gedney. (Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2005)
Biography from Ancient Civilizations series. This biography puts Buddha's life into historical context.

Science in Ancient India by Melissa Stewart. (Watts, 1999)
Science in History series. Presents the scientific contributions of ancient India, including Arabic numerals, medicine, astronomy, yoga, and more.

Snake Charmer by Ann Whitehead Nagda. (Henry Holt, 2002)
Like his father and grandfather, Vishnu wants to become a snake charmer, but his father insists that he stay in school in his small village.

Web Sites

Ancient India
This British Museum site gives brief information about ancient India, including some interactive features.

More Ancient India
Learn about the kingdoms of ancient India, Indian rulers, and ancient Indian empires, including the Gupta Empire.

Daily Life in Ancient India
This site for kids shares facts about daily life during three major time periods in ancient India: the Indus Valley Civilization, the Vedic and Epics Periods, and the Age of Empires.

The Gupta Empire, 400 AD
A map of ancient India showing the extent of the Gupta empire and its tributary states.

The Gupta Period
A historical overview of the Gupta Empire in India from the fourth century to the sixth century.

History for Kids: Ancient India
This site provides information about the history, environment, religion, clothing, food, people, art, science, and architecture of ancient India. Includes a timeline and teacher's guides.

Maps of India
Part of a travel Web site, this offers a detailed topographical map of India.