Inspired by India – An event with Nehru Centre

Lantana Publishing and the Nehru Centre had arranged a panel event to discuss two recent books in 2018, created by writers and illustrators of Indian origin.

Poonam Mistry and I talked about our first book together – You’re Safe With Me. Ranjith Singh and Mehrdokht Amini discussed their book Nimesh the Adventurer. The panel was chaired by Alice Curry, publisher and co-founder of Lantana Publishing.

The event started with a short intro about our growing up with photos and a little taste of our Indian influence and in Mehrdokht’s case her Iranian upbringing. We also talked about whether we had started writing and drawing at an early stage.

Alice asked us questions about our books – especially about the setting. While You’re Safe with Me is set in an Indian forest, Nimesh the Adventurer is set in a London neighbourhood similar to Southall. We talked about how creating books for western audiences differ from writing for an Indian audience. We also discussed the benefit or hindrance of labels and being known as “Indian” creators, rather than creators who happen to be Indian.

It was wonderful to see so many friends, well-wishers and industry peers and professionals who attended the event. Apart from signing books, we also had the joy of enjoying the art gallery currently on display at Nehru Centre.

Here is a quick preview of some photos…

The highlight of the evening was of course illustrator Sarah McIntyre drawing us as we spoke. You see above the panel in her artwork. And here below is a very accurate picture of me, in my new sari from India.

Thank you Sarah

An Earth Day Message

Earth Day was founded decades ago in 1970 to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

For me personally Earth Day has always meant the day we celebrate the workings of this planet and get out of its way. As humans, we have exploited its riches, corroded its wealth and in many situations ignored the earth’s reactions to our actions.

As a spiritual Buddhist and a practicing Hindu, I believe that every action we take changes the world in a small way. That action can’t be undone and that action sets off a chain reaction into this world – be that a smile or a plastic I discard.

The other thing I believe is the earth has patterns and intelligent behaviour. It moves with certainty and it knows the steps of the dance. From the tides of the ocean, to the winds of autumn to the thunderstorms that bring torrential rain.

While many natural phenomenon are terrifying – be it a volcano or a forest fire or a thunderstorm, the earth has a reason. And therefore understanding them, having a healthy respect for their powers is an important lesson for all humans.

One of the reasons I wrote You’re Safe With Me was to demystify thunderstorms – not with facts but with imagination and a bit of poetry. They’re not fearful – they have a job to do for this earth. The wind brings seeds from faraway places to plant the forests. Thunder brings clouds full of water. The river eats the shadows of the night and as the night clears, she too is clear and sparkling.

Earth Day is for everyone who wants to do their bit to fix the planet we live on – because this is the only one we’ve got. And this year, 2018 is the year we pledge to rid our lives of plastic. Find out more here about how Earth Day movement across the world this year is mobilising citizens of this world to End Plastic Pollution.

Here are some Earth Day Tips that everyone can follow in their everyday lives.

Check out more here. And do you have other ideas? Tweet them to @csoundar or share them with your friends and family.

Lists, editor’s choice and more

This week has been brilliant so far. I’m recovering from a bout of flu and I need all the good news I can get.

Earlier this week we found out that Pattan’s Pumpkin, published by Candlewick Press in the US has been added to the 2018 Notable Social Studies Book list! It’s an amazing honour and also I’m glad many schools and children will be able to find out more about this wonderful story.

Then a casual glance at last year’s round-ups of books published in the US led me to this wonderful list. The School Library Journal had created a 2017 list of folktales and fairytales and Pattan’s Pumpkin is featured in that too.

And some exciting news about my upcoming title with Lantana Publishing. You’re Safe With Me has won a lot of praise for its wonderful artwork and the stunning design. Fiona Noble has chosen it as her editor’s choice for the 2018 May releases of this year in The Bookseller this week!

You’re Safe With Me is also chosen as an empathy read by Empathy Lab. Find out more here.

And if you have missed this news from before A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice is on the shortlist for the Surrey Libraries Children’s Book Award.

January 2018 – A quick round-up and peek into February

Well, February is already here and I’ve just lifted my head and looked around to see January gone. I usually like January because after all the quiet during Christmas, things start happening again. But it does get colder here in London and this January has gone past in a flash.

What have I been up to then?

First, the most important part of my job – writing the stories I want to tell. I’m working on a number of interesting projects. I’ll share more when I can actually claim victory over the words. They are all in different stages of development.

Second, I’ve been planning interesting events for the rest of February and spring. Find out more here.

Third, I’ve been travelling and meeting some wonderful writers, old friends in Singapore.

I returned to London’s cold weather a week ago and hard at work getting ready for the madness and joy of World Book celebrations. From a day to a week to a month, it is elastic. But we writers of children’s books are available on other days too. Find out more here about that.

Now to some book news!

You’re Safe With Me, my next book that will be out in the UK in May 2018 has been getting wonderful reviews. Check it out here.




Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip came in 5th place in the January HT-Nielsen Rankings in India. We were always very happy for our optimistic farmer.

Farmer Falgu Goes to the Market is now available in the US and in a bi-lingual version in Germany too.

So that’s a wrap for January. February has rolled in and it seems to be a busy month too. I’ll crawl back to the safety of my blog once all the events are done.