Meet Didi and her young friends in this wonderful story that celebrates the joy of reading.

Didi and the Colorful Treasure
By Rukmini Banerji
Once there were some children.
They lived at the edge of a city.
They lived near
a huge garbage dump.
The garbage dump was very big.
It stretched
as far as you could see.
The children did not go to school.
They ran around in the dump
all day.
Some collected plastic bottles.
Others sorted out pieces of cloth.
All of them knew many things
about the garbage.
One day,
Didi came to the dump.
She had a red dupatta.
Didi looked at the children
running around.
Then she looked for a place to sit.
She opened her bag
and took out something.
The children were curious.
They moved a bit closer.
Didi had lots of colorful books.
The books had stories
inside them.
The children moved closer
and closer.
Didi started coming every day.
The children
stopped roaming in the dump
when she came.
They sat with her
and listened to the stories.
Soon they could read some letters
and some words.
Before long
they were reading stories too.
The children decided
to make Didi’s place
look good.
Someone brought a chair
from the dump.
Someone else found
a piece of carpet.
Someone else
brought some curtains.
Soon Didi’s place looked good.
One day Didi did not come.
The next day too
Didi did not come.
The children waited
and waited.
They read the books by themselves.
And they read the books
to each other.
One day
the children found Didi’s address
in a book.
They set off to look for her.
They carried a bag of books.
The children
could read the bus name.
They looked for her road number.
They could do all this
because Didi had taught them.
The children looked for her house.
They looked up and down each lane.
But they could not find it.
Just as they were coming back,
someone saw a red dupatta.
It was hanging on a hook
near a window.
There was Didi lying in bed.
She looked very sick.
Her eyes were sad
and she did not smile.
The doctor had given her medicines.
But somehow
she was not getting better.
The children ran to Didi.
They hugged her
and they kissed her.
They brought her books to her.
Didi sat up
and the children read to her.
Her eyes began to shine
and her smile came back.
Now Didi comes every day again.
And the children do too.
You can see them every evening.
You can hear them laughing.
You can hear them reading.
You can tell
they are having so much fun.
The children,
their Didi and the books.

Story: Rukmini Banerji
Illustrations: Kaveri Gopalakrishnan
Translation: Rukmini Banerji
Narration: Anu Anand
Music: Rajesh Gilbert
Animation: BookBox

This story has been provided for free under the CC-BY license by Pratham Books, which is a not-for-profit children’s books publisher with a mission to see “A book in every child’s hand”. Visit and… to know more. Artwork has been adapted from the original book while the animation, music and narration have all been done by BookBox. This story artwork is originally illustrated by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan.

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