Since I started this blog, the question that I get asked the most is recommendations for good urdu books for children and how to find them, in and outside Pakistan. I’m happy to finally answer this question (#urdumombooklist).
These are all based on my personal opinion and experiences. Do give your feedback and ideas. While this post concentrates on books, I will be sharing more resources to teach your children urdu through apps, videos and other electronic media (so stay tuned!)
Book reading is a great way to pass on the love of urdu to your children. Read to them, inspire their imagination and increase their vocabulary. If you’re craving to get your hands on some great urdu books, read on for my recommendations.
I love the Bookgroup books for their creativity, visual appeal and simple messages. I have yet to pick a book I didn’t like. It would be difficult to choose a favorite from their amazing titles but if I had to, we love “dum dum dola”, “Shaan aur Shair”, “Khait se Mandi” and “paon paon paon”.
Age Group: The books start from age 3 and go all the way upto 16.
How to Buy:
- If you’re in Pakistan, you can buy these books from Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad, Liberty Books in Lahore and Karachi and many major stores in big cities.
- They do have a website that they are working on updating: http://www.urdubooksforchildren.com/ Once the website is ready you will be able to order books in Pakistan and internationally (make sure to keep an eye on shipping cost). There will also be an option to download PDFs of the books and print yourself, so great for people outside Pakistan. Right now you can have a look at the website to see the titles. They are arranged by age, so quite helpful.
- If you’re outside Pakistan, stay tuned for the website above to get updated so that you can order the books or download them. For right now, you can ask a relative or friend in Pakistan to buy these books for you and post them. Make sure to buy them lots of chocolates in return!
2.Oxford University Press Books
Oxford University Press has one of the best collections for Urdu Books. Their selection is amazing, covering stories, history and urdu learning support material. Their books with urdu poems and rhymes come with CDs also. Did I say the books are amazing? Yes, buy them!
Age Group: The books start from age 2.5 going all the way to late teens
How to Buy:
- The stores are in all major cities of Pakistan. Complete list here (select Bookshops/Offices from the left hand side menu). I have been to the store in Islamabad at Centaurus Mall and it’s beautiful with lots of comfortable seating.
- The website link is here: https://oup.com.pk/children-sbooks/urdu-readers-and-fiction.html
- The website can be used to browse books, check prices and order books in Pakistan and internationally! The complete ordering process is here. Do confirm shipping cost for international orders. International shipping process seems a bit tricky. Do let me know if you have tried it. I used “cash on delivery” to get books delivered to my mother’s house in Islamabad and it was quite efficient and simple.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are reading books published by ferozsons. The store in Rawalpindi was one of my most favorite places as a kid, because my parents would take us there on the first of every month to buy books. It was lovely to find Ferozsons still publishing books though I couldn’t find their store in Rawalpindi.
Age Group: The books that I found were for children age 3 – 12
How to Buy:
- Ferozsons books are available at big stores in Pakistan like Saeed Book Bank and Liberty Books. Complete list of Ferozsons book stores is here.
- The website http://www.ferozsons.com.pk is not working properly and I will update here when I hear back from them
- The website claims that they deliver worldwide.
Dheere Bolo books have lovely illustrations, teach good manners and introduce children to a word of kindness, love and beauty. It’s the soft urdu I want to pass onto my kids. Some of their books with songs come with CDs also. I love all their books. My kids especially adore “Aalia Chalia” and “Subah ko Murgha Bola”.
Age Group: 2 to 10
How to Buy:
- The best way to order Dheere Bolo books is through email (email@example.com) or their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DheereBolo/. They do cash on delivery for Islamabad. For other cities and international orders, message them on facebook or the email address. They are extremely prompt. They did confirm that they ship internationally.
- The complete list of books and pricing can also be requested via email/message
5.Gogi Studio Books
Nigar Nazar of Gogi Studios is a household name in Pakistan. We have all grown up reading her Gogi cartoons pointing to issues in our society in her particular light and humorous way. I was beyond excited to find her urdu books on my last trip to Pakistan. You need to buy these books for your children for the amazing topics such as morality, civic sense, importance of education and women rights. Actually many adults could use these books too. All of them are our favorite! Get the whole book set (in pictures above). “Koray ka jinn” comes with a fun game also. The sales of these books support many educational outreach programs in Pakistan. You can also buy books that will be distributed on your behalf in the rural or in need areas of Pakistan.
Age Group: 3 – 100+
How to Buy:
- The website http://www.gogistudios.com/ has details of the book sets, the pricing and the various social work projects Gogi Studios supports. To order email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . You can order for delivery in Pakistan or internationally!
Maqbool books has been publishing books since 1954 and I got a chance to buy some of their new ones in Pakistan. My children and I love “Bee Barfi” and “Chohay Ke Dawat”
Age Group: 5-15
How to Buy:
- If you’re in Pakistan you can find the books in major book stores like Saeed Book Bank or liberty books.
- The website www.maqboolbooks.com.pk is being updated to handle online orders. Till then you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for orders in Pakistan or internationally (Be sure to check about shipping cost).
7.Bilingual Books by Caravan Books
Since most of us are raising bilingual kids it’s always great to find bilingual (english/urdu) books especially of well-known english classics such as “Hansel and Gretel”, “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” etc. I would like to point out that some of these books have small printing errors. But if an adult is reading with a child, you can correct them.
Age Group: The books are organized in 4 levels and appropriate from children for age 3 – 12.
How to Buy:
- I was able to buy these books in Islamabad at Saeed Book Bank and the book store on the first floor of Centaurus Mall. I’m sure you will be able to find them in other stores too.
- I have been trying to contact the publisher to find out about international deliveries and will update here as soon as I find out.
8.JBD Press Books
The JBD Press story books I found in Islamabad were beautifully illustrated and had interesting moral lessons at the end. We have the “Nani Amma ke kahaniyan” and “Aladdin aur jaddoo ka chirag” that we like.
- I bought these books from Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad. You can check other big stores too.
- They do have a website: www.jbdjunior.com and I have emailed them to find about international orders and more urdu books selections.
Kitaab World is a website that has a collection of urdu books for children for delivery currently in the US. You can check out their selection here: https://kitaabworld.com/collections/urdu. I haven’t checked out their books yet so can’t review them. If you have read any of them, do let me know! Some of the titles seem very interesting.
I wanted to write a special note about board books because most of us prefer board books for children under 3. Milet Publishing has board books for children under 3 and they are available on amazon and Kitaab World (point 9). I have found some of Milet Publishing books to be nice like the one about opposites but some of them don’t have great translations (e.g. see below, having Car, Bus and Train isn’t probably the best idea since they are the same in both urdu and english). So be careful when you buy these ones. My experience has been mixed. They are great board books though for small kids.
I also found some board books about “alif bey pay” in different book stores in Pakistan and recently at “Al Noor Grocery” in NE Calgary. The one at Al Noor is published by Rabia Book House and a decent one. Al Noor tells me that they will be stocking more urdu books in the coming months. I will keep you updated.
I wanted to share a few more ideas about giving your children (and yourself) access to urdu books. Nothing like reading urdu books with your children to pass on the love of the language.
Create your own
As I mentioned above, I have struggled with finding great urdu board books so I have done the next best thing: create my own. Take a regular english book and add urdu translations to each page through sticky tags! Simple.
If you’re outside Pakistan, check your local library for urdu books for children. If they don’t have them, you can share the titles I mentioned in this post with the administration and request them to order in the books.
Calgary Public Library has some great bilingual (Urdu/English) books at all branches in the city. You can also search online here.
The books are amazing and for various age groups. We especially love Dear Zoo (Urdu/English).
I have been told by some of my readers that other public libraries in Canada also carry bilingual (urdu/english) books. Let me know if yours does in Canada or elsewhere in the world and I will add here for the benefit of all.
Check with your parents where your old books are so that you can pass on to your children. Ask around. A friend or relative might have older kids and willing to pass on their books. I have found some great treasures this way.
A word about amazon
Amazon is a great resource to buy books and they do carry urdu titles for children. However it’s difficult for me to recommend a book if I haven’t read it myself. I do know that some regional amazon sites carry “Dear Zoo” (Urdu/English) and it’s a great board book. They also carry Milet Publishing books and I have shared my thoughts on them above.
I will keep updating this post with latest and updated information about urdu books for children.
If you’re a publisher or urdu book writer and want to get in touch, get details here
I have been reading some of these books and sharing them via live videos on my facebook page. Do check them on the wall (search #urdumombooklist, #readwithurdumom).
While this post concentrated on books, I will be sharing more resources including magazines, apps, toys, flash cards, videos etc for fun urdu learning in future posts.
I would love it if you help me spread the love of urdu and book reading by sharing this post with your friends and family! Thank you/Shukriya.