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Imran Mishra, 12, never took a liking to the Enid Blyton books. “Out of some kind of nostalgia, I tried to get him to read the books I grew up with and loved," says his mother, Samina Mishra. “They didn’t work for him at all," she says. The Delhi-based documentary film-maker then tried a different tack: she introduced a variety of books to Imran, from stories by Anushka Ravishankar and Ranjit Lal to titles by foreign authors like David Almond.

They stuck—like superglue.

This year, Samina was on the jury of the Parents and Kids Choice Awards organized by RivoKids, an online community for parents and children, that had parents and children nominating and voting across five categories on what today’s tots and teens find engaging. And judging by the results—which were announced on 8 May on their website—while classics by Blyton, Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond are still popular choices, many parents and children are also exploring works by new authors and content developers.

RivoKids co-founder Ritu Uberoy says the motivation really was to pool recommendations on good content—online and offline—for children in the 0-5, 5-10 and 10-15 age groups. Uberoy says RivoKids received 1,000 nominations and some 5,000 votes from parents and children across the categories. Sure enough, such a crowdsourced list held some surprises for the organizers and jury.

“When I read Jash Sen’s The Wordkeepers, I knew my 10-year-old would love it," says Uberoy. According to her what makes it such a find is also that it’s not the typical title most parents would reach for at a book store—whether it’s because the author’s name is unfamiliar to most parents or that they like to go by the safe old choices when picking titles for their children.

Icky, Yucky, Mucky
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Icky, Yucky, Mucky

“It’s a hilarious story about the most disgusting royal family in the world," Roy says. A “ghastly" king with terrible table manners marries a princess who’s equally casual in her habits, and they have a child who turns out quite mucky—Roy says the story works because it packs in the “gooeyness and general yuckiness that children love", and is not preachy though it talks about acceptable behaviour and hygiene.

Jury member and children’s books illustrator Priya Kuriyan says close as she is to the developments in the children’s literature category, she too discovered something new through the awards. “Rupaiya Paisa Series—The Money Managers was a series I didn’t know Pratham had done," she says.

Other award categories like popular YouTube videos, websites and mobile apps didn’t offer parents a similar choice to fall back on options they grew up to like—and learn from. Of course, there were some well-known names in the top-ranking games. Like Cut the Rope, the game with the wonderfully clean interface, and where the protagonist who looks like a cross between The Grinch and a green frog makes the most pitiful face if you cut the rope at the wrong time and drop his candy instead of plopping it right in his mouth. But there were also some new finds.

Moshi Monsters
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Moshi Monsters

Another popular game on the list, Subway Surfers, builds the story of three graffiti artists skateboarding their way through rail tunnels and crossings as they run from the police. Imran, who just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of The Lane which he found “intense", says he plays this game often—sometimes on the way to school. He says his top score of 4.6 million is nothing compared with his friends. “Some of them have made 10 million points," he says.

To see the complete list of award winner, visit www.rivokids.com/pkca

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