Progressively Challenging Hindi Literature for the Novice Hindi Reader
November 11, 2013 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for Hindi books that progressively increase in difficulty. I'm a Hindi speaker that learned from my parents conversationally, but I have no grasp of the Devanagari script. I thought I could teach myself the script by rote, then work my way up through books of increasing difficulty similar to how I have read books in grade school in the USA.

I learned to speak and understand Hindi at a very basic level from my parents, but I never learned the Devanagari script. As a result, I have no grasp of Hindi literature and no literacy when I travel. I was hoping to fix that by teaching myself Devanagari after this semester of college, and hopefully picking up some books to work through with the help of a Hindi English dictionary.

I'm thinking of some way to read books at various grade levels; all the searching I've done for Hindi books has turned up "learn Hindi!" style offerings, but I'm more interested in the sort of thing I'd have read in a Hindi Literature class in India; analogous to something like the following English class reading list:

1st grade: See Spot Run
2nd-4rd grade: Ramona Quimby, Age 8? I don't remember these years, oddly.
5th grade: Nothing But The Truth
6th grade: Where the Red Fern Grows
7th grade: The Crucible
8th grade: The Scarlet Letter
9th grade: Inferno
10th grade: Flowers for Algernon
11th grade: Othello
12th grade: Heart of Darkness

And so on; progressively more difficult / nuanced books for me to chomp through.

I'd prefer non-religious books, and prose as opposed to poetry. In a perfect world designed for me, I'd be able to buy the books on Google Play Books, but that's not at all a restriction, just a preference.

I found This previous question on Ask MeFi but it asked only about buying any books, but didn't cover what books one would buy, besides the Harry Potter book set (Which I'm considering...)

Thanks, MeFi.
posted by brocrastinator to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in the same boat, brocrastinator. I'm a really slow Devanagari reader and this weekend I almost posted the same question as you! I've been gathering resources as I come up with a list of books to purchase.

Childrens books:
- has bilingual (and even trilingual) books, and Hindi-only books
- has number of books as well, and they're organized by level

Other books:
Maybe you've already checked, but you can search Amazon by language and find the Hindi books (albeit with imperfect sorting--a few non-Hindi books pop up). And then you can filter down to categories you're interested in.

I'm not sure where you live, but some public libraries have excellent language collections, and I've been at libraries that have Hindi books for young children, tweens, teens and adults. Some librarians there might be able to help determine a specific book order. (I'm not near such a library right now or I'd go ask for the both of us! I will in December though and I'll memail you then if this thread is closed.) I also recommend talking to your local Hindi language teacher(s) to see if they have any recommendations.

- comprehensive list from grades kindergarten to grade 12, and a few books for teachers; from the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)

- PDF stories you can download to your mobile device; there are a couple poems in there, I think

- also, if you run google searches for "hindi books for class n" (without quotation marks, and also sub class number in for n), it often results in links to pdf books, booklists, or even picture books! You can work your way through the grades that way, too.

Feel free to memail me. Good luck!
posted by mayurasana at 10:54 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have someone traveling to India, a 'Baal Shiksha' series would fit your needs perfectly. They can both teach you devanagari and build vocabulary at the same time.

Until then, the Rhimjhim series from NCERT is what you might be looking for.
Select grade level(I-X) and subject (Hindi) and you're set for a few months at least.

Feel free to memail me too. Hindi isn't my mother tongue but I'm sure I can answer any questions you might have. ( Upto 12th grade level.)
posted by savitarka at 10:55 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

NCERT is fantastic. So is the CIE A-level Hindi series.

Feel free to memail me too. I'm a native Hindi speaker.
posted by lotusmish at 11:12 PM on November 12, 2013

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