MilkRice – review by Dilhara Attygalla

As a child back then I grew up on a diet of Enid Blytons. They were fun to read, always had the best adventures (and the best food!) but in retrospect always a little removed from my reality. It’s good to know that today there are books like Milk Rice, with stories a lot more close to home, written by Sri Lankan authors.
Milk Rice is a collection of nine short stories written by a variety of authors- new and established- appealing to kids from the age of 9 to 12. What I appreciate most about these stories is that they respect a child’s intelligence and awareness. They were well-written, and most of them dealt with pertinent themes like war, ethnic conflict, and social inequality – realities children on this island in their own way, know only too well.
Almost all the stories had a moral at the end. At times the moral was clear cut as in the case of Lal Medawattegedera’s story A Cat, a Rat and a Snake about non-violence and mutual respect. At times the lessons at the end are more subtle. The opening story Meetings by Faith Rathnayake is one such example that talks about the way we value things in life. Even Metamorphosis by Lolita Subasinghe was a simple story, about the respect for life. I especially liked its understated and poignant ending. One of my favorites in the collection was a story titled Josehp’s Letter by Simon Harris. It almost flowed like a film and was tragic and inspiring at the same time and explored not just a bitter reality like child soldiers, but also ideals like cross-border friendships and doing what you can to make a difference in the lives of people.
Milk Rice is a wonderful gift to give a child- a gift in more ways than one.
Available at all bookshops and on the website:

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