Christmas Gift For Kids – The Magical Guest

Under a leafless apple tree, sat a little girl named Shrivi. She wore loose, worn-out clothes and torn footwear that barely had soles on them. Her small bare hands looked frost-bitten and she tucked them often under her armpits. Her face looked red and her eyes had a vacant stare as she took in her snow-filled surrounding.

Her stomach growled and she realized she had not eaten since the past two days except a half leftover chapati. For the thousandth time, she wished her father returned from the town where he had gone to sell carpets. He had promised to return within a month with money, food, and clothes. But he didn’t, and they were starving. Her mother was sick, they had no food and perhaps, her father was in trouble.

A tear trickled down her cheek as she remembered her resolve to pick twigs and buy food early that morning. They needed food and oil in their lamp as it was frightening to stay in the dark every night. But unfortunately, it was afternoon and she hadn’t found twigs because of a sudden snowstorm. 

The world looked dark and hopeless.

A gentle tap on the shoulders aroused her from reverie. A tall middle-aged man in a flowing brown beard stood there holding the reins of a handsome brown stallion. What did he want?

“Hello,” he said gently. “Will you please help me?” he asked. Shrivi looked at him with strange eyes. How could she help someone when she herself needed help?

“My horse needs water and rest. Where is your home? Can I stay there for a while? I have a long journey to go and I will leave as soon as the biggest and brightest star in the sky will be visible,” he said politely.

Shrivi reluctantly got up and asked him to follow her. While walking, Shrivi felt bad. She didn’t want the guest to see her poverty and her poor, sick mother but it would be rude to deny help. She was also ashamed that she had no food to offer to the stranger according to the village tradition. In there village, any traveler looking for help, was welcomed as God himself.

“Tell me, little girl, what are you grateful for?” asked the stranger, all of a sudden, while walking towards her hut. 

“How can I be grateful; when I have nothing?” said the girl.

“Well, it’s a game I play with children – The Gratitude Game. Come on, make an effort, just find any reason… even a bad reason to be grateful would be wonderful,” he said.

Shrivi thought for a moment and said, “Well, I am grateful for my legs as I can walk…”

“That’s great, isn’t it?” he said.

The stranger coaxed her on and little by little, she found many other reasons to be grateful for on her way back home – her eyes, arms, her mother, the tree by her hut, her pet hare, mother Earth, the sky…

Lo and behold… she didn’t know how, but by the time she reached her hut, it felt like Summertime. Everything looked magical. The tree and the ground by her house were filled with berries while the sun shone brightly.  

Filling her mouth with berries and offering some to the stranger, she laughed and asked – “What miracle did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. You did it!” said the strange stranger.

She picked up berries for her mother too and invited the guest inside the hut. 

When they entered the dilapidated hut, Shrivi’s frail sick mother was startled. “Mother, I have brought a special guest. You know he is a miracle man. He and his horse need rest till the evening. He is on his way to meet the holy ‘King of Kings’, being led by the biggest star in the sky.”

Shrivi’s mother hid her anxious emotions and mustered energies to get up and welcome the guest. He looked so grand, dignified, and resplendent while she felt ashamed of her poverty and the humble hut. What would she offer him? She was relieved to see that Shrivi had picked up plenty of berries.

But the guest looked perfectly at home as he rested on the mat which she spread on the floor. Crushing the berries, she made juice for herself and their guest while Shrivi went outside to give water to his horse.

“Thank you for helping me out. In return for your hospitality, I would like to give you something,” said the stranger after a while.

“You are welcome, Sir. But we do not take gifts from our guests. Thank you for the offering.” the lady said politely.

“Well, it’s not riches or money. But just a lesson. Will you accept it?” The lady nodded reluctantly. 

“Well, first tell me one thing – What are you grateful for?” he asked.

“There is nothing to be grateful for,” the lady said, shocked almost angry. She felt it was impolite to ask a poor woman to be grateful when she was suffering so much.

“Believe me, any small thing to be grateful about would work to begin your lesson.” the guest insisted.

The lady thought and thought. But only her trouble, sorrow, and poverty came into her mind. What could she be grateful for when everything looked so dark. Everyone in the whole world was better off than them. What had happened to her husband? Why was God so cruel to them? And then the image of a little girl came into her mind and her perception shifted. “I am grateful for Shrivi,” she whispered.

The wise man coaxed on and the lady found several other little things to be grateful about – the hut, her neighbors, the berries… While talking about those little things, she smiled. This caused a ripple effect in the universe – her universe. She realized, she was feeling quite good and her fever was gone. She felt energetic enough to begin work on an old carpet.

“What miracle did you do?” she asked. “I didn’t do anything. You did it,” he smiled.

When the biggest star was visible in the sky that evening, the magical guest took leave to continue his journey towards the ‘holy infant’. “Thank you for helping me. I bless you both with the gift of the highest and noblest of all emotions – the feeling of gratitude. That emotion is the very fountain of fulfillment and joy,” the wise man said before leaving.

There was something about that wise man’s lesson that changed the lives of Shrivi and her mother. Every day, they began to follow that simple method of gratitude and things began to look good. Her mother found work with a decent income, and some sheep, within a few days their living conditions became better.  

And on one glorious night, when a luminous baby was born on a different side of the Earth, someone came knocking at their hut. 

At last, Shrivi’s father had returned with riches, food, and clothes. It was a joyous reunion for the family. That night, as they shared their respective experiences and adventures, one particular story stood out – Shrivi’s story of the magical guest, who was following the biggest star in the sky.

(I hope you liked this gift. If you will ask me – what makes me grateful? I will say I’m grateful to you, my reader for your presence here. Here is wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May you get many reasons to be grateful every day of 2021.)

Halloween #Freebie – Funny Witch Book on Amazon

Trick or treat!!! Offering my latest funny witch book for children in print and digital versions! This free eBook offer runs on Witch Hua Hukka’s Silly Tooth is valid only till Halloween night so grab your copy fast for your kiddo from Amazon (US) and Amazon.in (India).

Why should you buy this book – This funny rhyming treat is an amazing bedtime book — sure to delight even the youngest reader! Check out the panels for a glimpse of this Halloween book –


The Story – Witch Hua Hukka has one silly tooth that makes her look weird in her fashion photoshoot. At the Cat photographer’s suggestion, she decides to get rid of it.
But even after trying clever tricks, the tooth does not come out. Hua Hukka feels dejected, but all is not lost! Several surprising incidents are in store for the witch that will make her happy again. But will she succeed in getting rid of the stubborn tooth? Find out more in the book…

Let’s celebrate this fun day of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and witches in our own safe way and not let Coronavirus restrictions dampen our ‘spirit’. Witch Hua Hukka’s Silly Tooth is sure to make you and your child smile as well as enjoy the fun day.

Go on, download and please do leave a review, it will pull my book up on Amazon. Thank you Halloweeneers….

(Check out my other books on Amazon. Change the Amazon address URL according to the country of your residence to find the book.)

Small Things#29 – Hey Google, does Santa have enough money?

Have you ever eavesdropped on chats between a kid and Google Home or Alexa? Well, it is funny how smart home devices mix up things.

When the kids came down for breakfast this morning, they were pleasantly surprised to find a holiday toy list booklet on the table.

Looking at the pleasure in their eyes, I said – “Maybe Santa has placed it on the table, considering, you two have been very nice boys.” The older one played along but the little one expressed his wish for a fancy toy to ask from Santa this Christmas.

The older one forbid the little one to not go for expensive toys. The little one complained, “Why can’t I ask for expensive toys?”.

“It might be expensive for Santa as he has to deliver a lot of gifts. He might not have so much money. Elves make toys for him to deliver!”, reasoned big bro.

The little one came running to me. “Is Santa rich? How much does he earn?” he asked me.

“I don’t know how much Santa earns!” I replied.

He turned to Mrs. Google Home, his favorite machine, who patiently answers his unlimited questions.

“Hey Google, does Santa have enough money? Will it be difficult for him if I wish for expensive toys? How much does he earn?” asked the little one.

Well, Mrs. Google, answered readily, quoting from a random site – “Freelance Santas typically rake in $150 an hour and some make as much as $500.”

“See!” said the little one victoriously to big bro, “Santa makes enough money. He is rich!”

I silently laughed at the question and the answer by Mrs. Google. While Mrs. Google is a great in telling answers, stories and informing about great things, she clearly has a lot to learn!

(Note – A Big Halloween Surprise is Coming Up. So, do subscribe and keep an eye on this space to grab the freebie.)

Images courtesy Google

Happy’s Hairy Tale – On Best Sellers List – Thank You!

A big thank you to all those who have downloaded my eBook! Happy’s Hairy Tale was at No #7 in the free Dog book category this morning. It is currently running at No #14. I am very grateful to my readers. Your support makes me inspired to write more funny and motivational books for our kids.

If you haven’t already, do go over to this link to avail this limited time free eBook offer! Thanks a ton!

Free dog eBook for kids – Happy’s Hairy Tale – The Corona Cut

Finally, here is my fourth book (Print as well as Free eBook Version) – ‘Happy’s Hairy Tale – The Corona Cut’. The book will be available free for a limited time only from Oct 8 – Oct 11 on Amazon.com – (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KHL8SHT) and Amazon.in (https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08KHL8SHT).

Please download the ebook (only ebook version is free) and do leave a review if it connects with your kids. Also, share it with others if you find it good.


About the Book: Happy, the handsome dog, loves his fancy hairstyle and hates any kind of change in life. But then, Coronavirus happens, and life changes in many ways. Happy’s favorite dog parlor shuts due to the pandemic lockdown, making him anxious about his locks.

Worse still, his Dad suddenly decides to cut his hair at home! Happy thinks the experiment will fail and he resists the change. What will happen to Happy’s amazing hair? Will his friends laugh at his Corona Cut? This delightful and humorous tale is all about adapting to the ‘new normal’.

Message: This funny dog book encourages children to accept change and find good things in new situations. The book will help kids connect to the current world scenario and help them realize – change brings opportunity! It is an inspiring and humorous bedtime read for kids between 5 – 10 years old.
The book will help raise positive kids who would learn to embrace sudden change in life.

Please watch the video preview of the book.

Check out the print version as well which is priced at $6.49 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KQBYRDZ (US only). Your feedback is extremely important and very welcome. Thanks again for being a great support!
Shivangi

Note – If you have problems downloading the book, please wait and try again after a while. Contact me if you are unable to do it.

Important Announcement by Happy the Dog

My Dear Human,

Bow-wow! This is to inform you that my important book is going to be published soon on Amazon. It’s called Happy’s Hairy Tale – The Corona Cut.

I am the main character and it is my story of dealing with changes in my life due to the Coronavirus.

It will be published in both print as well as ebook version. And the good news is – the ebook version will be Free, Free, Free for a limited number of days. Do not forget to download a copy and leave a review, it will help the mom a lot.

Kids in my neighborhood adore me and are waiting for my book. I am sure your child will love my book too.

So, follow this blog and wait for the second announcement that will follow.

Love Bark,

Happy Singh

Coming Soon – Happy’s Hairy Tale – The Corona Cut

I am delighted to share a little about my upcoming children’s ebook – Happy’s Hairy Tale – The Corona Cut.

This funny dog book encourages children to accept change and find good things in new situations. The book will help kids connect to the current world scenario and help them realize – change brings opportunity! It is an inspiring and funny bedtime read for kids between 5 – 10 years old.

Blurb – Happy, the dog, loves his fancy hairstyle and hates any kind of change in life. But then, Coronavirus happens, and life changes in many ways. Happy’s favorite dog parlor closes due to the pandemic lockdown, making him anxious about his locks.

Worse still, Dad suddenly decides to cut his hair at home! Happy thinks the experiment will fail and he resists the change. What will happen to Happy’s amazing hair? Will his friends laugh at his Corona Cut? This delightful tale is all about adapting to the ‘new normal’.

I am sure it will inspire and entertain the little readers. My kids are excited about the book since it is based on Happy, our dog. I hope to release it soon on my Amazon Author Central Page. I will need your support and best wishes.

Small Things# 28 – Did you know about the urban legend Siren Head?

As severe thunderstorms moved through the Twin Cities, there were damaging winds and heavy rainfall in our area. The wind whistled eerily and I remarked – “What kind of sound is that?”

“Well, that is ‘Siren Head’,” replied the little one knowingly.

“Who is Siren Head?” I asked.

And subsequently, I got some great information on the subject from the older one. Turned out this thing, a creature called Siren Head is a part of internet folklore.

The Siren Head has two sirens on his head that makes horrible sounds.

He looks really tall and skinny but he is strong.

He kills people and uses their voices.

There is another creature called Long Horse, who tries to scare you away you so that you get saved from Siren Head.

Long Horse is actually nice but he behaves oddly.

They are called urban legends by the young generation.

I googled and found that all of the information given by kids were true.

Apparently, these characters were created by a Canadian Horror artist Trevor Henderson. According to this website, Siren Head was created in 2018 and has rose to fame since then.

Now, I thought this was interesting. There have been folklores, fairy tales, book characters and now…internet folklore!!! Characters created by artists, gamers and you-tubers.

It is really great how our world is changing so quickly. We had the ‘scary legend of Murkatwa’ when we were kids and lived in a small town in India.

Murkatwa was believed to cut heads of those kids and people who ventured out during hot summer afternoons. Apparently, it was a ploy to keep kids indoor.

Siren Head and Long Horse look interesting too. And so nicely adapted from the old folklores. A salute to creativity, then and now!

Now, whenever the wind would whistle, I will remember – Well, that’s Siren Head.

Know more about the Siren Head here, if you love folklores like I do!

(Images courtesy Google)

Small Things#27 – Did you know mummies wrap toilet papers around them?

Here are some cool thoughts on mummies by a five year old. The little one has read a book on Epic.com called ‘The Mummy’s Curse’ and has been telling some great stories about them.

  1. So, if you are buying too many toilet papers, beware of the mummy’s curse! Mummies wrap toilet paper to hide their dead faces and may get mad if they don’t find toilet papers in stores.
  2. Did you know mummies can easily take their brains out through their noses?

  3. Mummies live in cool triangles called pyramids and do not like to be disturbed at all. So, let them rest in peace.

  4. Mummies eat foods like mummy soup, mummy macaroni to keep their bodies strong.

  5. Mummies have dead pets and the dogs and cats have toilet papers wrapped around them too.

Mummies are ‘dead’ but they like to ‘live’ like that…

I keep nodding while listening to such stories. There is no logic, no fact but abundance of vivid, vibrant and wondrous imagination.

A five minute chat with a little child is all we need for magical creativity because…

“Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination…”

The mummy stories have started again… so got to go! You all take care…

(Images courtesy Google)

A gift for kids – Short Bedtime Story of Nidra Devi

Here is what happens when the Goddess of Sleep, falls asleep herself! How will she wake up? Who will save the world? Read this free 5-minutes tale in this blog to know more.

‘Nidra Devi Goes to Sleep’ is a present for your little ones from my side for being good at home and bravely coping with the ‘new normal’ like a superhero.

    Nidra Devi Goes to Sleep

As a child, everyone must have known Nidra Devi. But as grownups, we have all forgotten about her and her stories.

She is the goddess of sleep! Just thinking about her makes us YAWN and yearn for sweet slumber in a cozy bed.

She arrives in the moment juuust before we sleep, carrying a bucket full of dreams that she pours on our eyelids. And our eyes close, voice slurs, bodies relax, and we begin to breathe rhythmically zzz… She is very tiny, soft, light, and feathery. Her presence is as soothing as cold breeze during hot summertime.

She is somewhat like tooth fairy but very, very shy. No one has seen her; some kids have tried but they could not. She does not like being seen, I believe.

This is the story of the night when Nidra Devi fell asleep, herself.  Wait, what, how??? Well, that night was different. Something strange had happened. It was not normal. People were tossing and turning in their beds. Even animals and birds were awake. And magical creatures like fairies, hobbits, elves wondered – Where was Nidra Devi?

Well, our dear Nidra Devi had an accident. That evening, when she was flying down from the sky, her tiny wings flapped in the strong wind and she accidentally toppled the dream bucket over herself.

Some of the dreams went into her eyes, and in her drowsy state she landed on Earth. Nearby, there was a dark underground cave and she was so sleepy that she went inside to sleep.

Meanwhile, every being on the Earth was awake. Animals howled, birds chirped, babies wailed, kids cried, and grownups were cranky without sleep. It was a terrible night. But the second night was even worst because Nidra Devi kept sleeping.

Life became terrible after that.  There were no lullabies for babies, no sweet dreams for children and no relaxation for anyone. Tired people began to walk like zombies.  Everyone was worried but no sleep came. Unaware of the chaos in the world, Nidra Devi slept on for six days in that underground cave.

She saw scary dreams of hollow-eyed people and kids crying for comfort but just could not wake up. It seemed like too much dream liquid had gone into her eyes.

All the demi-gods were worried. How to wake up Nidra Devi? Who could reach that dark, underground cave quickly? Who would save the world?

On the seventh day, one Tiny Ray of Light, offered to wake up Nidra Devi and save the world. “You are small and insignificant, how will you wake her up,” the demi-gods laughed at him. “Oh, I can! I travel faster than anything else. And a ray of light can reach the darkest place and make a difference,” he said.

The demi-gods did not believe him but gave him a chance because really no one could travel as quickly as light.

So, the Tiny Ray of Light wore his brightest costume and emerged from the Sun. Piercing the darkest corners of the earth, and getting reflected from shiny surfaces, he found a crevice in the cave, where Nidra Devi slept.

He entered through the crevice like a little superhero, and at once, the dark cave lit up. Finally, Nidra Devi woke up with a start.

“Oh, I have been sleeping and the world is in chaos. Thank you for waking me up or else horrible things would have happened. You are a little super-hero! I will call you – Superhero Ray. You saved the world!” Nidra Devi said gratefully and flew out of the cave to do her duty. The demi-gods applauded, and everyone thanked the Tiny Ray of Light.

That night, tired and gloomy people of the Earth became hopeful again. Nidra Devi worked extra hard to pour sweet dreams on everyone. With big yawns, slurring voices and heavy bodies, people went to bed early. Everyone slept very peacefully after seven days of chaos. And Nidra Devi created funny dream-videos of Superhero Ray, especially for kids.

And the Tiny Ray of Light felt proud of himself. He never knew he could make that BIG a difference! He became famous as Superhero Ray because he had illuminated the world!

(Images based on drawings by Adiraj Singh.)

Small Things#26 – Distance learning on the go!

The third trimester in the U.S. schools is from April to June, when education is in full swing but this year, Covid 19 has changed everything.

Educators are scampering for smooth running of distance learning programs to complete the courses. Their efforts are laudable in reaching out to every student through apps like Seesaw, Starfall and Epic.

But really, onus is now on parents to coordinate and make sure that kids are doing their tasks rather than exploring stuff on the tablets and iPads – the devices that were once banned at homes.

At my place, the distance learning was a little haphazard with mixed up activities and responses in the first week but this week it is better. I believe, homeschooling kids would be tough for working parents (working from home due to coronavirus) who might have to to balance work while making sure the kids are doing their job in between meal times and other duties.

Parenting and distance learning are now going side by side. Task it is, but it’s for the sake of our kids, right? So, I am thankful and have started getting a hang of how homeschooling works.

Teachers post activities on the Seesaw app and communicate through emails while students are expected to respond and answer. There is also a timetable that divides the time to what they are expected to do every 30 minutes. It is hard to enforce the time table at home, so it is made flexible and that is a relief.

Also, the principal and teachers are posting some videos to make it all look normal to the kids. And they are asking for feedback and help to make it work. Great effort!

There are a few glitches which we need to handle because I believe this distance learning will last till the end of the term or may be more than that.

As for me, I am learning to handle my third graders math problems in the way he has been taught (which is so different from what I learned decades ago).

It should be remembered that there are no prescribed text books or answer copies in the U.S. Students do not carry books and notebooks to school. It is all hands on learning, which is different from how I studied.

I am also learning to manage the learning apps with my kindergartner. I am trying to make it all work. I guess, the distance learning is also educating me, in a different way.

Education is a shared commitment among students, educators and parents. In the current scenario, I feel, enthusiastic involvement of parents is required more than ever. “Children are the priority, change is the reality, collaboration is the strategy.”

The great thing is – We are in this together!

Images courtesy Google