Religious mythology - Recommendations?

7 replies, Page 1

sathya 2008-09-26 10:47:23


I was looking for tips on how other parents have handled the telling of Hindu mythological tales to young children under 5. 

In the first few books we checked (including Amar Chitra Katha), we found very graphic images. For example, one book had Kamsa holding up a baby, ready to smash it to the ground and there was blood all over the floor. It was shocking even to us.

So we did not buy these books and instead tried to tell these stories verbally. But we have had to dance around a lot of the killing that comes in tales like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. We have used substitute words like "defeated" instead of "killed". But there is only so much you can do when describing kidnapping, war, killing etc.,

Are there any books that other parents have used for children so young?

Are there any particular tales that are more appropriate for children under 5?

Or should we just wait till the children are older?

Or are we over-thinking the issue?

Thanks in advance,


mango_mama 2008-09-27 08:08:32


Hi Sathya,

Yes, that is quite a dilemma with mythology and fairly tales of all kinds especially for kids under 5. I think Amar
Chitra Kathas are too graphic. The Appu serious are not bad but still have some scenes of violence. I still feel lazy to tell tales verbally (leave that for grandma) so i did read these books and would go through those sections in a matter-of-fact manner and not further sensationalize. I used to say hit and hurt.

But then we grew up reading amar chitra katha (later age) and the politically incorrect fairly tales and grew up fin , i think. So to a little extent it is okay. And we read so many other things to them as well. I think a little bit is fine. But am not sure....?


asha 2008-09-28 09:29:10


Hi, Sathya,

I read thru your concerns re exposing your 2-year old to the negatives in our mythology.  I reret to say ou are reading far too much into it. Such micro concerns only breed apprehensions, hesitancies and confusion.  The need is to address larger issues, like fearlessness, risk-friendliness, confidence, lightness of Spirit.  It is so much to do with parental response.  Let me narrate an instance with my 8 year old almost 26 years back

One  winter evening iin Delhi,while returning from work, I saw my 8 year old rushing across with pieces of burning coal on a mesh, on seeig me he uttered "mama  I have burnt coal to warm ourselves, like in our Army days".  I was intrigued by his coolness, his excitement, and enthusiasm.  I sat down and had him explain how he did it.  And as I walked home a friend who  also had a son same age ) was watching me chded me for being so lenient.  She enumerated all that "Could have happened" and spoiling my child.  My reply to her was that" Till now I had not seen the risks, I had only seen his enterprise.

The short of it is that one is a CEO and the other unable to find a niche in any aspect of life.  Risk taking has to be imbibed

Just go ahead and narrate all the tales that excite and create wonder



sathya 2008-09-28 12:11:14



I appreciate your long experience in parenting and thank you for your response.

I agree with you that we must instill confidence, and fearlessness in our children. However that is not the question I asked.

My question was about how to explain the violence embedded in mythology. I fail to see how telling tales of violent events can increase the confidence of my young child. I do think they are good tales, but they maybe more appropriate for older children.

I think your example was very good. I take the same approach often.  But there is a subtle but important distinction in that example. The child was taking a personal risk but by letting him discover it on his own, you helped him. That is a different setting from my mythology scenario, where someone is inflicting harm on another.




Shankar H 2008-10-01 12:02:15


Satya, here is my take on this issue.  Children under the age of 5 largely see the world through our eyes, they depend on us to interpret the world around them.  Hence i would say it largely depends on how we see violence in stories or even in real live.  Once in a while i do read a story or two to my daughter involving pain or death.  I do screen these stories prior to reading. I see this as an opportunity to give young children some foundation around complex issues such as death.  Eventually they do have to live in this complex world and no better way to prepare them than through some good stories.  

Again  I am not endorsing any of the stories with graphic violence or ones with pointless violence, but stories which have some underlying message such as good over evil  etc.  
I would recommend a book called "Around the world in 80 tales" by Saviour Pirotta with an ISBN 978-0-7534-5999-7 for 4 and 5 year olds.  The book has tales from all five continents and gives you a glimpse on how various cultures over time have passed on messages through stories.




aanchal 2009-03-02 14:50:38


dear sathya

there are books available in market that tell the mythological stories in ways appropriate to the age level. the language used is good and not scary for the young ones. i have recently seen some of them at crossword, ahmedabad, when i was looking for mahabharata for my little cousin sister.



sathya 2009-03-02 20:07:28


Thanks Aanchal. We have also found a couple of good ones since I asked the question.

Since then, we have also orally told our children many of the stories and used kid-friendly language during the gory parts.




hpriya 2009-03-19 15:39:50


what stories you read out to ur kids depends on how sensitive they are ...but overall a rule of no violence in Tv viewing/stories or actions is best.My child is very sensitive.When i showed him a cd of krishna , he was horrified to see yashoda tie him up ...he didnt want to see the cd again ...i have let that be ...there is a lot of time left for that anyways ...right now i only read out pepper stories and noddy stories which he can relate to well. let me tell u one incident my son and his cousin were taken to visit a newborn baby of our family.while my son was very upset on seeing it cry and kept asking me why he is crying although nobody did anything to him, his cousin(younger by a year and a girl) was least sensitive..she was screaming " see baby is crying in helf delight, half it depends if u want to read out stories of epics depending on your childs sensitivity.



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