Open Book, open Mind! Learning Life Skills...

The adorable little model for my blog post today is my nephew Ajay. Ajay lives in the US and he’s busy reading all about how to be a big brother—an essential skill, especially as he prepares to welcome his new sibling into the world soon!

Most of us equate books with education or improving our general knowledge. But as Ajay demonstrates, books can serve a far more important function—they can influence the way we think, feel and react to different situations. And that’s why children must ideally be exposed to reading at an early age, when their minds are a fertile ground for good habits.

When my own son was 3 years old, I remember a time when he was well and truly addicted to chocolate. Candy bars, toffees, chocolate flavored cakes and cookies—anything that had chocolate in it would be munched away in minutes!

For years, I’ve reported on health news and I was painfully aware of how powerfully addictive sugar could be, but I watched helplessly as doting relatives, a sister with a sweet tooth, frequent birthday parties in pre-school, visitors who came bearing gifts (of the sweet kind)—in short, the whole universe conspired to fuel this crazy craving for chocolate.

No amount of lecturing, coaxing, pleading or cajoling could get him to stop. I was always afraid that cavities would weaken his milk teeth and that chocolate would replace the healthier foods in his diet. I couldn’t be the Chocolate Policewoman forever and yet, it upset and frustrated me that I couldn’t set things right.

Fortunately, when I was at my wit’s end, I stumbled across this delightful interactive ebook about Princess Chocolate by Allen Plenderleith (God bless him, by the way!).

You can download it here:

Princess Chocolate is an imaginative tale of a young princess who is so enamoured by chocolate that she even brushes her teeth with it. She eats chocolate vegetables, chocolate coated everything! My son was horrified when she accepts magical chocolate from a witch and eats so much that she turns bright green. And I know this because he kept glancing at himself in the mirror for days, just to check if he had an emerald tinge too (ah, vanity)!