Akbar’s India: Growing up and becoming a great emperor

by | Jun 12, 2020 | Book Review, Non-Fiction

Akbar’s India - Cover

Book Details

Akbar’s India: Growing up and becoming a great emperor
Marcia Thompson. London: Balestier Press
, pb, 9 781 911 221 258, 2019, £12.99, 56pp.
Non-fiction, 7+ years


Akbar’s India explores the story of Akbar’s life and reign through a series of eight miniature paintings made during his lifetime and under his direction, all now in collections around the world.

Closer looking at the paintings allows the reader to work out and visualise what life was like and what was important to Akbar, what he has selected for inclusion in each image. 

The book is written to encourage an interactive response from the child reader. Each picture is shown as a full-page illustration and then the facing page identifies images from the painting for the reader to find in the main painting. By so doing, the reader engages with the drama and events so beautifully and finely portrayed. The book is organised into separate chapters on childhood, growing up, fighting for the Empire, the city, religion and the production of books for the empire. The last section of the book gives further and more detailed follow-up information.

Marcia Thompson explains that the book grew out of an assisted reading programme she worked on in a culturally diverse London school. She found that Akbar’s story was immensely popular and that using the miniatures (and in school, these can be projected on to a whiteboard) really enriched the work.

A very useful and stimulating resource.


Review by Pam Dix