Pop over to the children’s section in any bookstore and you’ll be surprised at the volumes stacked there. Packed with charming tales, mysteries, and fantasies, the stories transport us to magical lands. However, as simple as children’s stories look, writing for kids is anything but that.
Deepa Agarwal has written over 50 titles ranging from mystery and adventure novels, ghost stories, fantasy, picture books, biographies, and retold folk tales and myths.
“Inspiration comes from random remarks made by children. My daughters were a great source but now they’ve grown up,” says Deepa, who looks for ideas from her grandchildren, incidents from her own childhood in the hills, and memories of boarding school life.
She understands that connecting with her audience is important. “You have to adopt the child’s eye view, have in depth knowledge of their lives, and the issues important to them.” And after you’ve crafted out the perfect story, you must ensure that it reaches the readers. “The sad fact is that children’s books by indigenous authors are rarely displayed prominently in bookstores, book reviews are few and far between and media interviews rare,” says Deepa, adding that it helps if the author puts up information about the book on Facebook, writes a blog and lets schools know that they’re available for visits.
A prolific author, who has written and published 75 books in s
even short years, Tanya Luther Agarwal writes fantasy story books, comics, knowledge volumes and picture books. Translated in foreign and regional languages, her work has been published by Rupa & Co, Scholastic, Pratham (Read India), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TERI, Scholars Hub, and Brijbasi Art Press.
So how does she ‘think up’ a book? She says, “An idea is like a viral infection! It creeps on you, consumes you and leaves you dysfunctional until you write-it off! Other times it comes from an interaction or an observation and lingers in your thoughts for days, weeks or months.”
“I dabble with different genres, both fact and fiction,” says Benita Sen, a well-known journalist and children’s author.
“I write at two levels: for the child and the parent who often shares the reading experience with the child. So, there are puns and word plays that may seem simple to the child but can mean something more to the adult,” she explains.