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!

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.

World Pangolin Day 2020

Today is World Pangolin Day – the day that marks the conservation efforts taken worldwide, especially in Asia and Africa to protect pangolins from poachers.

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have just announced some additional radio tagging for Indian and Chinese pangolins living on the subcontinent. Find out more here.

There are 7 different sub-species of Pangolin. Find out more about them and the conservation efforts here.

I first discovered more things about a pangolin when I wanted an animal that was endemic to India to use in my story. And my love for the shy creature was born.

Read You’re Safe With Me to celebrate World Pangolin Day and share the fun facts with everyone.

Get your hands on colouring sheets and puzzles here.

Animal Stories

Animals have been used as a way to tell stories since Panchatantra which was told 2000 years ago. Their natural habitats and habits have been useful in bringing out both stories that are fun and with some lessons hidden in them.

While there are many reasons why we should have more children of colour in stories and not use animals as a substitute, some stories lend themselves to using animal characters. These stories are more fun because of the way animals behave, or their food habits or how they look.

I love writing animal stories just for that reason and it’s not a surprise to me as I grew up listening to tons of stories about animals, animals interacting with humans and trickster tales.

My latest story Tiger Troubles illustrated by Hannah Marks and published by Bloomsbury Education is a fun tale of repetition, funny foods and loads of chants to learn and tell.

Until the book comes out here is a trickster tale from India that you can listen to.