It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to one of our beloved creators – Subhadra Sen Gupta, who authored many books for us over the years. Back in 2013 she answered some fun filled questions from young readers about her creative process and how she always knew she wanted to be a writer. Subhadra was passionate about bringing history to life for young readers, and her enthusiasm shone through in the books that she wrote for children.
Sandhya Taksale, Senior Editor at Pratham Books shares her personal memories of Subhadra.
What a lovely, talented person Subhadra was! She loved writing for children and children loved her. She had a long association with Pratham Books. My memory of her goes back to 2014, when Subhadra won Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar for English writing for children, along with Madhuri Purandare for Marathi. The announcement brought all of us at Pratham Books boundless joy, and also gave us the opportunity to organise a ‘Meet the Authors’ session with both Subhadra and Madhuri when they came to Bangalore for the award ceremony. On a cool November afternoon at Lightroom Bookstore, readers and book lovers listened and interacted with both of them.
It was such a treat listening to Subhadra share her views on children’s literature. I remember clearly, the warmth in her voice and the passion that she had for children’s books. Among other things she said, “I write to a child’s face and if my writing is getting solemn or moralistic, the face spits at me. Seriously, if you listen to children, which I do all the time, they’ll tell you what they like or dislike and they can be brutally honest, thank god. Kids never say a book is nice, they have opinions!”
I found myself wholeheartedly agreeing with her. And if you read Subhadra’s books, you can see it for yourself. While Subhadra worked with many formats, she was amazing at historical fiction. She would often say, “History is not just of kings and warriors but it is of people and about how they lived.” And her storybooks brought alive history through this lens for children.
She had an excellent sense of humor, which shines through in all her books. Readers adored her for her engaging stories.
Subhadra, we will miss you dearly. Thank you for the stories and the memories.
Join us on a trip down memory lane, with some of the books Subhadra wrote for Pratham Books over the years.
Mahatma Gandhi and his followers have decided to march to Dandi to protest against the unfair salt tax imposed by the British. 9-year-old Dhani who lives at the Sabarmati Ashram wants to go too. This tale captures the spirit behind the momentous event that inspired millions of Indians to join the struggle for Independence.
Raza’s father Rahmat Khan is the royal tailor to none other than the great Mughal emperor Akbar. When they go to the palace to deliver the Emperor’s new summer clothes, Raza realizes that the emperor is not completely satisfied with his father’s designs. Raza wants desperately to help his father. But what can a little boy do?
Kasturba Gandhi was no ordinary woman. She had a strong identity, courage and tremendous willpower and she sacrificed a lot for her country. She was a friend and trusted companion of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji’s biographer, Louis Fischer wrote about her, “Being herself and being at the same time a shadow of the Mahatma made her a remarkable woman.” Read about this amazing woman who walked shoulder to shoulder with one of the most prominent leaders of the world during the most turbulent times of this peninsula.
Basava and his sister Sundari live in the port-town of Mamallapuram during the Pallava period. Their father, a sailor, has not returned from his voyage to Kamboja and the children are worried. When they go to the port to find out if anyone there has information about their father’s ship, they realise to their dismay that the foreign sailors there don’t speak a word of their language! What are they going to do now?