Manya very badly wants to be Shere Khan in her school play. The Jungle Book is her favourite film and she knows all the lines. She’s sure to be a superb Shere Khan. But not everyone thinks so. Her classmate Rajat is always making fun of her stammer. Her English teacher thinks it’s risky to let her get on stage, and her principal agrees. The more anxious Manya gets, the worse her stammer becomes. Will Manya lose her dream role?


  • Manya Learns to Roar is an uplifting chapter book, powered by a protagonist who knows her own mind and doesn’t let her stammering get in the way of her dreams. At the best of times, her disability does not hold her back, but when the whole school is counting on her and the pressure to perform is inexorable, will she let them down?
  • Manya has a tremendous, positive attitude, and her strengths are her humour and her imagination. The author Shruthi Rao uses this to great effect in the storytelling. Usually bullying stories always end with the victim speaking in the bully’s language to be heard. But in this one, when Manya finally addresses the bully, she uses a wonderful medium that is her strength.
  • Priya Kuriyan’s lovely illustrations add extra humour to the story. The way Manya’s secret code is incorporated in the book is bound to thrill readers.
  • This book was one of the winners of the Children First competition organised by Duckbill Books and Tata Trust’s Parag initiative in 2016. The contest aimed to encourage books that feature children with disabilities.
  • Manya appears to have many allies (her friend, her teacher), which is a good thing, but once too often other people end up speaking for her.
  • A typo on the back cover slightly mars what is otherwise a lovely chapter book.


An inspiring chapter book about being yourself, and why that can be enough.


Author: Shruthi Rao
Illustrator: Priya Kuriyan
Language: English
Page Extent: 80 pages
Price: Rs. 199.00
ISBN: 978-93-83331–57-4
Publisher: Duckbill, 2017
Subject category: Fiction/Chapter book/Disability/Bullying
Age-group: 8+

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