Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review Children Who Made It Big

I recently read this lovely and inspiring book and here is the review. I enjoyed it and strongly recommend it to people of all age groups. This book has already been translated into various Indian languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Assamese, Marathi, Oriya, and Tamil. In fact, some schools are using in their curriculum. The second part is also in the making, I certainly do look forward to reading and reviewing that.


Author: Mrs. Thangamani
Publisher: National Book Trust, India
Pages: 164
Language: English
Price: Indian Rupees 45.00
Illustrator: Mr. Partha Sengupta

Whether you want to learn an academic concept, a new language, an art form, or anything, even if it is something trivial, you need to make an effort. This effort requires interest in your work and a true desire to do that, being sure that you will do it. This quality is determination. You also need to have the passion to continue with something and do it well till its completion. This other quality is perseverance. To be successful at anything, these two qualities go hand in hand, I am sure you'll agree.

What is this book about?

This book tells us in a friendly and exemplary manner how sublime this truth is. There are true life incidents of twelve Indian post-independence era maestros of different fields - most of whom are world famous, many of them being completely different from each other. We realise how these great personalities were once just ordinary people who, with determination and perseverance have achieved great heights, in their respective fields, be it science, industry, arts, social work, judiciary or films. The author has very vividly captured the lives of these greats by actually interviewing them and providing beautiful glimpses of their lives.

Nani Palkhivala, an eminent lawyer and human rights champion, overcame his major stammering problem, which deterred him from reaching his goals, and learnt the importance of sharing and kindness at crucial moments.

Medha Patkar, a voluntary organisation worker, who learnt ideal moral values from her parents but realises that it was up to her to take the initiative and act when a poor old man is ignored by all.

Satish Gujral, the famous artist and painter, who is jeered at and made fun of because of an accident and some other differences but finally manages to make ends meet and achieve great heights.

Justice Leila Seth, who realised the importance of priority and education at a very early age and also the happiness and enjoyment involved in it.

Rahul Bajaj, the heir to the famous Bajaj transport company, who is a good student and excels in all subjects. He learns English as a challenge, and successfully unites Indian tradition with modern technology.

World chess champion Vishwanathan Anand is an excellent example of determination and perseverance, who as a child is unable to win anyone at chess, and goes on to become World No. 1.

Physicist and developer Yash Pal who was very curious from the age of two. This helped him learn many things.  He was very successful at school even if he missed a year because of a disaster. He further facilitated education for all with his inventions.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, a stalwart at Hindustani classical music and the heir to the clan who introduced the instrument Sarod, who had to work very hard to reach basic heights and through sheer perseverance, perfection.

Mrinalini Sarabhai, a member of a family and region which hardly encouraged dance, struggling to learn dance from someone and finally succeeding because of her relentlessness and making a mark in not only Indian dance forms but also Greek dances.

The great writer and poet Ruskin Bond, who had a very harsh and tough childhood, losing his father at a young age.His early works were totally scorned, destroyed and dumped by his mates and teachers, but he finally emerged as a great writer.  

Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, the great agricultural scientist behind the Green Revolution of India, who was very intelligent and dedicated his life to bringing up agricultural genetics and improving irrigation facilities and technology.

Sai Paranjpye, a creative genius and film maker and a very important contributor to various film genres, who learned to respect books since she was very small. She also published a fairy tale book when she was barely eight!

What I liked about the book:

These true - life incidents illustrate the lives of the greats very well. They animate the effect and importance of determination and perseverance. This is the simple truth. We know it most of the time, yet ignore it. This book is a great read for anyone looking for inspiration be it a child dreaming of becoming great things, or an aspiring youngster, an adult looking for a success solution, or even an elderly person, unhappy with the present status looking for new hope.

I personally found the book very inspiring. The book is very well-written and the portraits and biographical illustrations for each achiever has been very well done by the illustrator.

"Children who made it big" is recommended for audiences of all ages. 

I would like to express my gratitude to the author, Mrs. Thangamani for her generosity in sending me a copy of this book.

You can buy this book: at Amazon, or Abebooks, or Flipkart. You can also find it at Google Books here.


  1. Wow, Vidur, that was such a wonderful review by a young reader, the likes of whom the book was intended for. Thank you so much!

    I am gratified to see that you found the stories inspiring enough to emulate the great personalities. Though the whole review was great, I liked these lines the best:

    'This book is a great read for anyone looking for inspiration be it a child dreaming of becoming great things, or an aspiring youngster, an adult looking for a success solution, or even an elderly person, unhappy with the present status looking for new hope.'

    That was the most positive thing to say about the book and it has made all the hard work that went into writing it worthwhile. :)

    It is also the best and most comprehensive review I have had. It was a pleasure sending you the book. I am just curious to know which of the stories you liked best?

    Thank you once again, Vidur!

  2. And Vidur, this books has already been translated into Hindi, Tamil, Oriya, Assamese, Marathi and Punjabi. Some schools are using in their curriculum. And the second part is also in the making. Could you please add this to the review too?

  3. @zephyr Thank you so much for commenting Ma'am. It's great to have you as author commenting on the book review. It was a great pleasure to read and review it, thanks a lot for sending it again and liking my review.

    Oh, all the stories were great, but if I do have to pick some favourites, the stories of Nani Palkhivala, Medha Patkar, Satish Gujral, Vishwanathan Anand and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan are very captivating.

    Oh sure, I've added that to the review. Thanks for sharing, that is indeed very interesting. I certainly do look forward to reading and reviewing the second part.

  4. That is an amazing review for equally wonderful book. Greatbwritebup Vidur.

  5. Vidur, that is a great review! You write so well yourself, and you have written the review objectively and lucidly.

  6. Hi a friend of Zephyr's. I loved your narration style and the way you have put across your thoughts about the book in this post in a neat manner.

    The way you have written about each of these personalities gives a very clear idea about the content. Thanks for the review :)

  7. @Lazy Pineapple Thanks for appreciating and admiring my review, Sir. I'm glad I was able to make my point by the review.

  8. @Rachna Thanks for appreciating, Ma'am. I'm glad you found it to be clear.

  9. @Farila Thanks for your kind appreciation Ma'am, glad you liked the review and the book.

  10. Very objective review, Vidur of a lovely inspiring book!

  11. I guess the book touched your heart because there is soul in Zephyrs writing. Her prose is simple yet effective. In fact she should write more gems for her readers.

  12. @Rahul Bhatia Thanks for appreciating Sir, glad you liked it.

  13. @Alka Gurha Yes, I hope she writes more books.

  14. great job!
    liked the review a helped me to understand this book better.

  15. This is a wonderful review of one of my favourite books... I have been looking for Mrs. Thangamani's contact details for a while now and without much success. I came across your blog while looking for her details.
    I want to seek her permission to use two extracts from the book for our seventh grade students. Could you kindly send me her email address, please...?

    Thanks and regards...

  16. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to
    new posts.


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