Sona Sharma is coming soon!

I wrote my first story for Sona Sharma in 2015 – she came fully formed on the page along with her Grandfather whom she calls Thatha (Grandpa in Tamil) and Elephant, best friend and imaginary friend all rolled into one.

Published by Walker Books,
Illustrated by Jen Khatun

Although I loved Sona in her first story I wasn’t sure a quietly funny family story will appeal. My first confidence in the story came later that year when I was doing my MA at Bath Spa University. I had a 1-1 session with our Professor – the most amazing David Almond. I had sent in the first few pages of Sona for him to read and he loved it.

It gave me the boost of confidence I required to send the story to my editor at Walker Books, Mara Bergman. Mara loved Sona – but we decided she needed a bigger story, a story that shows off her charm, her humour and also her love for her family.

That story became SONA SHARMA – VERY BEST BIG SISTER. Loosely based on my growing up in Chennai, and set in a contemporary Chennai in a loving family like mine and a fun cast of characters in Sona’s world – her school friends, teacher, her auto-rickshaw driver and Mum’s best friend Mullai – they all help Sona become the VERY BEST BIG SISTER to her baby sister.

Illustrated by Jen Khatun

Sona Sharma is currently available to pre-order and will be out in the world on 3rd September. Beautifully illustrated by Jen Khatun, the stories showcase one family in Chennai and a little girl who has the fears of any first-born child like me – will my family love me less when the new baby comes?

Illustrated by Jen Khatun

Amma, Sona’s mum explains to her that families have loads of love to go around and Appa, her dad explains that they will be poor only when they run out of love.

With the help of Elephant, gentle proverbs of Paatti, her grandmother and the wisdom and stories of her grandfather and the no-nonsense street smart of their auto-rickshaw driver, Sona learns to love her little baby sister.

Illustrated by Jen Khatun

Get hold of a copy now and find out who the President is, who Miss Rao is and how Sona finds a name for her little baby sister.

Illustrated by Jen Khatun

Sona Sharma will be visiting a number of UK blog sites during the month of September. Don’t forget to follow the bloggers to find out more about her mission to becoming the Very Best Big Sister.

SONA SHARMA – Very Best Big Sister – Blog Tour

Here is a little peek into the book!

The Empathy of Friends

When I started writing Tiger Troubles (soon to be out in bookshops, so brilliantly illustrated by Hannah Marks and wonderfully produced by Bloomsbury Education), I first of all wanted to write a circular story. I had listened to my grandmother tell stories that formed a chain – the story went from one character to another and coming back a full circle.

Then that story slowly transformed into a story of friendship – especially about friends who don’t let down each other.

When Sloth Bear falls on Tiger in this story, he blames the Elephant. But Elephant needn’t have shown his face or accepted his mistake. But he did, because he didn’t want his friend to get into trouble.

As the story unravels, we find that every friend in this forest has the courage to own up, not to let their friends down and look at the situation from their friend’s point of view.

They not only felt bad about what had happened, but also acted on their feelings and owned their mistake despite knowing that Tiger loved to eat.

For me, this story is about unconscious empathy that children have – they know what they are feeling and they don’t want their friends to be in trouble. But the story doesn’t teach a lesson by schooling the kids, but by hilarious accidents, alliterative food and the little tiger solving the puzzle one step at a time!

Empathy is the jam inside this story doughnut. Empathy is the jam that makes us all sweet. If we can’t be filled with jam, what kind of doughnuts are we really?

June is the month of Jungle!

In the deep dark jungles in India, daytime is naptime. Animals were resting, napping and sleeping. But like most young children Sloth Bear didn’t want to sleep. Sloth Bear sets off a series of events that disturb Porcupine, confuse Crocodile, and scare Elephant.

But when Tiger arrives on the scene, things get worse! Because Tiger loves to eat.

Tiger Troubles is a circular story of friendship, taking responsibility, the power of truth and the power of play.

From nap time to play time to yawn time, it’s a story recognisable in all our homes. It’s a great story to read-aloud! Young readers would love to have a go!

The illustrations by Hannah Marks will make you laugh, Tiger’s love for food will make you gasp and how the story unfolds will tie you up in knots!!

Isolation Inspirations!

Social distancing, isolation. quarantine – all these were words that we didn’t use in 2019. But here we are, home-schooling, working from home and finding new ways to keep ourselves occupied.

So I got together with my poetry group 
and created a book of poems - 
about staying indoors, washing hands, 
home-school and so much more. 

These poems were all written during the period of staying indoors, to amuse ourselves and to bring cheer to others. It is also more than that. As writers and poets, our feelings are often expressed in words and while we worked, talked to our families, went for our permitted jog or shopping, we also wrote about what we are going through.

The four of us who got together are:

Margaret Bateson-Hill – https://www.margaretbateson-hill.co.uk/

Dom Conlon – https://domconlon.com/

Mo O’Hara – https://moohara.co.uk/ 

Chitra Soundar – http://www.chitrasoundar.com/ 

And that’s what creative artists do. Reflect the world around them and help all of us look at our situation from a different perspective

Download the book of poems here!

We hope you enjoy reading these poems. If you wish to recite them on video and share with the world, do let us know too. Our social media contacts are available at the end of the book.

Let’s hope for a better world where we unite against all kinds of evil, not just a virus.

Want to write your own poems? Here is an activity to help you.

Farmer Falgu Stays At Home

Farmer Falgu books are all about going away on trips, to the market, to a festival or to fly kites.

But in this current situation, we can fight the virus that is wreaking havoc only by staying at home. So Farmer Falgu sets an example by staying at home with his family.

So along with the wonderful team at Karadi Tales headed by Shobha Viswanath, we bring you a free edition of Farmer Falgu Stays At Home to encourage all Farmer Falgu fans to be patient and stay at home.

Read the story on video here!

Read and listen to the story here!

Scroll down to find the e-book Farmer Falgu Stays At Home

We wish everyone a healthy spring and summer and we look forward to finding out how you spent your time at home.

Get loads of activities that relate to the Farmer Falgu series.