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Book Review - Namaste by Dr. Smriti Mathema

Smriti Mathema, MBBS, MD, is a Pediatrician at Kathmandu Medical College with a special interest in preventive and social paediatrics. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, a trained Vaccinologist and an Immunization advocate. She is a Lactation Consultant and runs the Breastfeeding Support Clinic at the hospital.

She is a fellow in Leadership in Global Child Health, IPA-LEAD, GHLI, Yale University. She is an executive member of the Nepal Pediatric Society (NEPAS) and serves as the Chair of the Immunization Committee.

Aside from her medical accolades, Dr Smriti Mathema is a kind, humourous and caring person. She lives in Kathmandu, together with her husband and two kids.

Dr Mathema was at our book launch back in October in Kathmandu. Given her medical background, it was great to have her be a part of our kick-off and now to get her views on our Book - Namaste, illustrated by Karuna Giri.

In her review of the book, she highlights the significant role high-contrast books play in the development of newborns. She primarily talks about three development areas:

  • Visual development: High-contrast books help babies to focus clearly, as what they generally see is mostly blurry. Research has shown that a baby's retina registers the strongest when they see high-contrast colours, sending strong visual signals to the brain leading to brain and visual development. In our book, the Dhaka patterns are good to have a child stare at.

  • Cognitive Development: Children who are introduced to books early are able to build better communication skills with a vast vocabulary. Greeting each of the illustrations with Namaste allows for repetition; this routine is good for children to improve their listening skills and can help with speech development. So even when you go through the book with 1-3-year-olds, it’s a good way to set a routine with them i.e. bedtime routine.

  • Social & emotional development: Spending time with the child by reading and looking at books together helps to build a bond with the child as they listen to your voice. You can use the book to also elaborate and storytelling beyond just saying Namaste. If you have an older sibling, it’s even good for the older one to story tell about what they see in the illustrations. This allows for some sibling bonding as well.

Watch the book review of Namaste by Dr Smriti Mathema and get inspired by the wonderful illustrations by Karuna Giri.

Namaste is one of the very first high-contrast books that introduce Nepal to the little ones and their caretakers with the help of some very Nepali illustrations highlighting plants, animals, and patterns from Nepal. Targeted for 0 – 3 years old’s, this book is illustrated by Karuna Giri.

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