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Book Review - Kanna Panna

Book Review - Kanna Panna

Book Review – Kanna Panna


Enter the world of inclusion and diversity with “Kanna Panna” written by Zai Whitaker, illustrated by Niloufer Wadia and published by Tulika Publishers.


What is the book about

The book introduces us to the visually impaired, and also possibly neuro-atypical protagonist Kanna who goes on a vacation with his mother’s sister’s family and discovers that his strength lies in his being different from others.

Kanna narrates the story in a very matter of fact manner. He is a silent child, used to hearing orders from his parents and not talking much because words tumble and rhyme in his head when he thinks. Is he different? Will people make fun of him if he speaks? He just doesn’t want to know.

Until one time, when he goes on a vacation with his aunt’s family... A chance visit to a famous cave, a power cut, and the failure of generators is all it takes for Kanna to become the hero of this tale. Kanna is cool and collected as he leads them all out of the caves in the darkness, and as he realizes his unique strength, he cannot stop talking. Witness his transformation from the silent boy who doesn’t talk, to the boy who cannot stop talking and rhyming in this beautiful book.


What we liked about the book

The matter of fact narration, the rumbling and tumbling thoughts inside Kanna’s head, his rising confidence and the arc that his story takes from the meek silent child, to the chatterbox who makes an instant friend, all this and more makes Kanna Panna a must read book. Kanna Panna gently touches upon neuro diversity without making it the hero of the story. Here, Kanna, the individual, is the hero, and not his visual impairment or neuro diversity. And THAT is the real way these stories must be told.

Publisher’s Age Recommendation – 5+ years

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Sudipta Das - January 16, 2020

Who is Panna in the story Kanna Panna?

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