Ajay and the Jaipur Moon by Varsha Shah – at a glance
The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Friendship, betrayal, greed, loyalty, understanding.
Children’s book title: Ajay and the Jaipur Moon.
Children’s author: Varsha Shah.
Children’s illustrator: Sònia Albert.
Genre: Fiction, action, adventure, school-based story.
Published by: Chicken House.
Recommended for children aged: 8-12 year olds.
First published: Paperback April 2023.
This children’s book is ideal for: Showing how friendships can make even the most timid of us stronger, braver, and more at peace with ourselves. It also shows how just because someone’s reputation precedes them it doesn’t mean it is accurate or shouldn’t be challenged.
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Ajay has become just what he dreamt of, a journalist at his own newspaper. Still living with his friends on the local railways he is finding it an expensive enterprise, and without a printing press, every copy of The Mumbai Sun has to be handwritten.
When one of India’s best-known entrepreneurs announces a meteor is hurtling towards Jaipur, and offers a reward for the first person to locate it, Ajay knows he has to act. Getting the travel money together is a challenge resulting in enormous sacrifice but as the five friends head towards the crash site their excitement rises.
The loyalty of the friends is tested, but Ajay’s optimism, his understanding of himself, and his relationships with others shine brightly throughout. Learning more about what true friendship means he also sees the results of greed and self-importance and how it makes some ignore everything except their own personal gain.
As The Mumbai Sun and its employees prepare their exclusive story they begin to suspect things are not as clear-cut as they first appeared. With the individual dreams of Ajay and his friends on the line will they have the courage and opportunity to tell the world what is actually about to happen or will they and their newspaper have a very short shelf life?
This is an exciting and beautifully written and illustrated book for children aged eight and upwards. It could be the starting point for discussions about what friendship means to them and how they relate to each other’s varying interests and future plans.
The narrative of children taking on big business and ruthless wealthy people who want to win no matter the cost will allow students to consider their own feelings about adults in positions of power, such as politicians, influencers and sports stars. This story will also prompt pupils to think about whether they could cope with being responsible for their own survival and living without adult supervision.
- The sequel to Times/Chicken House Competition winner, Ajay and the Mumbai Sun.
- Read a sample chapter.
Many thanks to Chicken House for the review copy.
If you like Ajay and the Jaipur Moon by Varsha Shah you might also like: our reviews of Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer by Jeffrey Boakye, Vita and the Gladiator by Ally Sherrick, Xanthe & the Ruby Crown by Jasbinder Bilan, Once Upon a Fever by Angharad Walker, Our Beautiful Game by Lou Kuenzler, Another Twist in the Tale by Catherine Bruton and The Girl Who Learned All the Languages of the World by Ieva Flamingo.
Browse our list of books for KS2