Over the last few decades, children’s publishing in India has moved away from formulaic narratives to a diverse set of genres. The monopoly of fantasy, adventure or mythological tales is fast disappearing to pave the way for more unconventional and intellectually stimulating stories. Indian authors have been substantial in introducing more ground-oriented and edgy material into the children’s publishing world. While competition from Western classics remains a matter of concern, a greater acceptance by parents to expose their children to real stories is sustaining these new efforts. Women writers, in particular, have been instrumental in understanding the nuances of writing for children and producing masterpieces that can get your child hooked. Here is a list of 7 women writers who have transformed the landscape of children’s books in India:
Talking about what it’s like to write for children, popular author Sudha Murthy told SheThePeople.TV during an event, “I try to become their age. The world is so different through their eyes.” Murthy’s popular children’s books include Grandma’s Bag Of Stories, The Serpent’s Revenge, The Magic of The Lost Temple, The Bird With Golden Wings, The Magic Drum, How I Taught My Grandmother To Read and Other Stories. “If you tell children morals directly, they don’t like it. But you can hide meanings in stories,” she said.
Ravishankar, who has co-founded Duckbill along with Sayoni Basu, is a much loved writer. Her picture books and illustrative novels soon penetrated the Western-dominated children’s book market to become national hits. She has written many books for children between the age of five and eight. Her most famous books are Song of the Bookworm, Catch that Crocodile, The Moin and The Monster series, Phiss Phuss Boom and the Zain and Ana Series. A few of her books, like Catch that Crocodile!, Elephants Never Forget and Tiger on a Tree, were inspired by real-life events.
Apart from story books, Vyas has introduced children to information-oriented general knowledge and fun activity modules through her extensive work. She has been known to combine knowledge with interactivity to capture the attention of children. The Adventures of Toto The Auto, Fun Foods of India are some of her impressive books. Her book, Your Turn Now, was a compilation of stories that would inspire children to be better human beings.
As a kid, Menon was an avid reader of foreign authors like Enid Blyton. Now, she is the founder of Tulika books which publishes books and short stories for children. The publication house is not just restricted to books in English and Hindi, but also has publications in languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. Her book, Line And Circle, is widely acclaimed. It encourages children to recognise forms through lines and circles and observe them all around them.
Viswanath’s series Karadi Tales, which became immensely popular, was one of the first audio books to be released in India. She has been a constant advocate on re-establishing Indian writings for children and providing them with context and clarity. Her much acclaimed books include When the Earth Lost its Shapes and Little Vinayak. She has written over 25 books for her Karadi Tales Company and has also been conferred with Special Mention in the prestigious White Ravens catalogue 2006.
Founder of the Tara Books publishing company, Gita Wolf is considered one of the most brilliant writers of children’s books in the country. Several of her children’s books have won major international awards, including the BolognaRagazzi New Horizons Award. Having written over 30 children’s books, she has been exploring different concepts and ideas in her writings. Her pathbreaking books include Trash! On Ragpicker Children and Recycling, The Very Hungry Lion, The Enduring Ark and Do!
An IT professional, Venkatesh was moved profoundly by the world of children’s literature which ultimately dragged her into the world of writing. According to her, most of the characters and plot lines in her books are derived from her childhood experiences which make them even more relatable for the kids. Her novels include Junior Kumbhkarna, Tiffin Thief and Bookasura- The Adventures of Bala and the Book Eating Monster.
Nimisha Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV