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Monday, November 5, 2018

Starting... THE TULIKA BOOK CLUB!



We’ve had a slew of new in our fiction list, with the total now hitting half-century! It’s boom-time in general for children’s fiction and time too, we thought, to get some cosy, critical conversations going among those who read it. So here it is – the Tulika Book Club! Starting with eight-to twelve-year-olds, we hope to eventually have sessions for tinies, tweens and teens… to make their hearts beat for books. With readings, word games, language play and some writerly dabbling by the young ones themselves, the sessions will be facilitated by Tulika author and acclaimed writer Sandhya Rao. Here’s what’s on her mind.



1.      Why do you think young readers need a Book Club?

For the same reason that adults want book clubs: to spend time talking about books and how much they love to read and what new books they've discovered, and what new ideas these books have thrown up, and to argue about their favourite books and characters and share with each other why they love books and reading so much. In the process, make those who are not such avid readers feel jealous of all the fun they're having and be tempted to read books themselves and give themselves a chance to fall in love with the different worlds that books create. 

2.       What approach will you take for the Book Club?

Open interactions, and gentle encouragement to read and discover for oneself. Together, discover how vast and interconnected the world of books is, and how closely intertwined with life.

3.       How different is the Book Club from an activity centre?

Reading is not an activity, it's a way of life. So, we will either revel in this way of life or create pathways to it. Reading will be approached through reading, not any other activity. And sharing the passion. Here, everyone's the same, we all will learn about books and characters and worlds from each other. Reading happens everywhere, all the time: it doesn't require time and space, only a mindset. It exists in itself and for itself.


4.       Is the book club for voracious readers or light readers?

The book club is for everybody. Different people read at different speeds and levels. All that it requires is the desire to read, a curiosity about books.

5.       Will books from other publishers be covered in the Book Club?

Yes of course. Books know no barriers. A good book is a good book and it's wonderful that so many publishers all over the world are creating great books.

6.       What preparation should parents do to send their children to the Tulika Book Club?

Just let their children read. Give them access to books. And maybe read books themselves, also the books their children recommend. Basically, chill. And if they're very keen, they're welcome to sit in on occasion.

7.       Is there any preparation required for the children to do before they attend the Book Club?

Just be aware that this is about books and reading. So, yes, they should be ready to meet new books and authors and be willing to make time to read. So, it's a mindset thing. But, not to worry. No preparation is required. It's not a test or anything. It's a space to share.

The Tulika Book Club will meet twice a month, on Saturdays between 4 and 5.30 pm at the Tulika Bookstore, Alwarpet. Sign up now! Write to reachus@tulikabooks.com.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

‘Shabana and The Baby Goat’ is here! Q and A with the writer Samina Mishra


The adorable, Shabana and the Baby Goat written by Samina Mishra and Roshini Pochont is hot off the press! The sweet story about a girl and her goat. We took this opportunity to talk to Samina Mishra about her book, her world of writing, films and more.

What draws you to children’s writing?

I think children make sense of the world through stories and I want to share my understanding of the world, my experience of the world with them. So I tell them stories, in words and pictures and sound.

When did Shabana and Kajri appear in your imagination? How long did it take for you get the story together?

I love baby goats - I’ve written one more story featuring a goat, The Goat that Got Away. Shabana and Kajri came together in my head one late afternoon as I was thinking about how we need more stories for children set in villages, stories that are not about villages but about things that all children experience. How they play, how they make friends, what they feel, the trouble they get into – things that children who don’t live in villages will also recognise.

Were there any characters in the story that were influenced by people from real life?

I think everything we create has something of our real life in it. We draw from the world around us. So, there are traces of people I have encountered in all the characters I create. And of course, there are names taken from real life.


You are a filmmaker and writer. How does making films connect with writing for children? Are there points of intersection which impact either of them?

I think working in film has made me think more visually and it has also made me more open to experimenting with the form of storytelling. My last book, My Sweet Home, was a lot like making a film – bringing in different points of view, how sometimes it is images that push the narrative and sometimes it is the text. 

Some writers say they are writers and some say that they are rewriters. Which of them are you?

Sometimes, like with Shabana and the Baby Goat, the story just comes in one go. But then you work at the words and make the story better – tighter, more rhythmic. And sometimes, the story is a struggle - you know what you want to say but how do you turn that into an engaging story… So I guess I am both writer and rewriter.

Which children’s books are your favourite and why?

Can I please just direct you to this link?
One of the books in that list is an old Tulika favourite!

Is there a special place where you write books? Tell us a bit about it.

Nope. I have written in many different places – at home, in a library, on a holiday in the hills.

When not making films or writing books, what do you do?

I teach. And I turn into a witch when my students don’t turn in their submissions!

What does a typical day look like for you? When do you write in a day?

I teach three days in a week and those days begin very early. I am very disciplined on those days - I teach, I give feedback on my students’ work, I eat lunch at 12.45! But on the other days, there is no typical. It depends on what other projects I am working on. And no, I am not a disciplined writer who writes everyday – sadly.

What book/s are you working on now?

I am staring out of a window and thinking of a film idea that involves the window and the tree outside it. So, not a book at the moment.


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Samina Mishra
Photo credit - Zishaan A Latif / zishaanalatif.com



Samina Mishra is a documentary filmmaker, writer and teacher based in New Delhi. She has a special interest in media for and about children, and in the ways that the arts can be included in education. She believes that stories help children make sense of the world.



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

‘Shabana and The Baby Goat’ is here! Q and A with the illustrator Roshini Pochont


The adorable picture book Shabana and the Baby Goat written by Samina Mishra and illustrated by Roshini Pochont is here today – hot off the press! We spoke to the illustrator Roshini about her experience working on picture books and more.

 

What draws you to illustrating for children?

I love imagining a story from a child's perspective, and figuring out how it can be told in the simplest and most engaging way. It's also good fun to add in details that kids will get drawn to.
Also, while I enjoy all forms of illustration, my go-to style is a cartoon-y one that lends itself to children's illustration, so that works in my favour as well!

How did you feel when you were asked to illustrate Shabana and the Baby Goat?

This is my first children's book and I couldn't have asked for a better one. It was a great experience to visualise Samina's story because of all the funny situations Kajri (the baby goat) finds herself in, and the adorable friendship between her and Shabana.

How did you arrive at the style that is finally seen in the book?

I tried a few different styles like a collage of different textures and a painterly look before deciding on the final pastel effect. The decision was based on valuable feedback from my colleagues about what would work well with a light-hearted story like this one.

What considerations guide the process of illustrating a book?

The main thing I had in mind was to do justice to the lively, mischievous nature of the story, and to have the art complement Samina's text well. The process also taught me how to come up with unique ways of composing a spread, finding a suitable illustration style, and what details to include or exclude from an illustration for children.



Which illustrators’ work do you admire and why?

I'm constantly inspired by the work of Shaun Tan, Oliver Jeffers, Melissa Sweet, Priya Kuriyan, Prabha Mallya, Rajiv Eipe and Isabelle Arsenault. I love artists who employ a lot of mixed media in their illustration, as I'm always looking to try new styles.

Which children’s books are your favourites and why?

I grew up with the standard classics that have hence become my favourites: illustrated fairy tales, Enid Blyton's books, the Harry Potter series, and pop-up books. I think the first books we read are the ones that really stay with us through life, and it's probably why I ended up in children's books! 

What do you do when you are not illustrating?

I'm usually reading, sketching, or snacking. I also occasionally dabble in crafts like crochet and weaving.

What book/s are you working on now?

I'm working on my second book for Tulika.

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Roshini Pochont is an illustrator and graphic designer with a love for beautiful books and all things handmade. She collects picture books and hopes to open a library of them soon.