Review & Author Blog: You’re Strong With Me / Chitra Soundar

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Today is our stop on the blog tour for You're Strong With Me by Chitra Soundar, which is the third book in the Mother and Baby animal stories published by Lantana Publishing and beautifully illustrated by Poonam Mistry.

Read on for a review of You're Strong With Me followed by an exclusive guest post by author Chitra in which she discusses how she hopes the book will make young children curious to find out more about the wild, about growing up and about how we are all stronger with each other.

Book Title: You're Strong With Me (available here)

Author: Chitra Soundar

Illustrator: Poonam Mistry

Publisher: Lantana

Publication Date: September 2019

Most Suitable For: KS1


This is the third in a series of captivating picture books that marry lyrical and rhythmic stories about animal parent-and-baby relationships with striking artwork inspired by Indian folklore.

In this story, a mother giraffe tenderly guides her child in the best ways to adapt to her grassland habitat. Mother giraffe's gently reassuring words encourage the infant about how to stay aware around other animals and birds, how to stay protected from fire and how to safely drink from a watering hole. Each new danger comes with positive benefits for the animals too, and the mother helps the little one to understand how to interact with the natural world in a way that will equip her to survive independently in her natural habitat as she grows up. The repeated refrain of 'You’re strong with me” is woven through the story and serves to soothe and comfort both the baby giraffe and the reader.

Poonam Mistry's distinctive artwork embodies the deep and earthy colours of the African plains, with both animals and background being formed through intricate pattern design inspired by traditional Indian prints. The images capture the incredible symbiosis of the natural world, with each part perfectly designed to interact in different ways as it grows and changes.

This is a story that is perfect for sharing between a parent and child and would make a really special bedtime story. It would also interest teachers covering topics of habitats, survival and life cycles in KS1 classrooms.

You can order You're Strong With Me online or from your local bookshop or library.


Author Blog

by Chitra Soundar, author of You're Strong With Me

You’re Strong with Me is the third book in the Mother and Baby animal stories published by Lantana Publishing and illustrated by Poonam Mistry.

In the first book my story centered around a tropic thunderstorm. In the second book I touched on environmental topics while telling the story of the bear cubs.

In You’re Strong With Me, I wanted to show how children learn from their parents and their parents take care of them until they grow up. We all need to draw strength from someone until we are ready to stand on our own. But keeping with the ethos of the series, I wanted to go beyond the relationship of the mother and baby giraffe.

a) Mutualism – nature is interdependent. Every animal has a role to play in its ecosystem. In this story, the giraffe discovers the purpose of the oxpecker bird to the giraffe.

b) Survival – living in the wild is no laughing matter for animals. Especially when the summers are hot and it’s a long trek to the nearest watering hole. The forest fires in this story signify many things – for the birds, it’s a source of food. As the fire rages, insects fly away from the fire and birds fly towards the fire catching the insects. After all, every mother wants to feed their young.

c) Cycle of Life - The fire is not just a danger. It is also a way to bring new grass and growth to the land. This not only is good for the animals who live there but also attracts animal herds from other parts of the land. As you learn about the fire, a watchful young reader will notice that the giraffes can close their nostrils to avoid breathing in the smoke.

d) Learning to be careful in the wild – the baby giraffe learns that drinking water from the river is not only awkward but also a risk. Without the herd protecting her, she’ll be risking her life. In the same way, being aware of the sounds of the forest is a skill that the baby giraffe must learn.

I’m hoping children are able to take in the intricate art that Poonam Mistry has created, discovering new things in the various pages during every read. At the same time, I hope the book will make them curious to find out more about the wild, about growing up, about how we are all stronger with each other.

For more from Chitra, visit or follow @csoundar on Twitter.

You're Strong With Me is now available in good bookshops in the UK, USA and Canada. Or buy now from Lantana's website: . For every book purchased on the website, Lantana donates a book to children's hospitals via Read for Good UK.


Many thanks to Chitra for writing our guest post and to the publisher for sending us a review copy.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too!


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