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!!
2019 was an eventful year. It started in Chennai, India with my parents and took me on a journey to festivals and conferences across the world.
I was in Houston to participate in Texas Book Festival, then at SCBWI Europolitan Conference as a keynote speaker and had a quick stopover in Dubai for the Emirates Festival. Each festival gave me different perspectives on reading, stories and more. I met children from many different backgrounds, writers with aspirations and passion to tell new stories and although journeys are tiring and routine-breaking, they bring new energy into the writing.
I had six new books come out in 2019, that I’ve been working since 2017 and 2018. They were all different and challenged me in new ways.
I took on new challenges like writing a theatre show that I performed with a wonderful friend. I was part of a theatre devising group and we performed to an audience of five. I was briefly on BBC talking about diversity in children’s books.
I visited many schools, met with teachers and librarians across the world, told stories, inspired new tales with young people of all ages.
2020 is gearing up to be a busy year too. I can already reveal the cover of two new books that I wrote which will be published. Here is a quick glimpse – I’ll be posting more info soon. Watch this space.
While fake news, nationalism and climate crisis threatens goodwill and existence of our planet, this is a time for stories – to imagine a better life, to mine for wisdom from lessons learnt in the past and sculpt a new world for our future generations.
I wish you all a wonderful 2020 in which hope reigns despair and acceptance wins over hatred.
It all began when the librarian Tanya Efthymiou of Chestnuts Primary and I tweeted to each other about a school launch for the next book. It would be fantastic to share the new book You’re Snug With Me with children and parents, and teachers, we thought.
And the idea was born and we took it to the wonderful team at Lantana Publishing who embraced it with wholehearted support.
Then we decided on a date that worked for everyone, we designed an invitation, we planned the day and it all came together wonderfully yesterday.
First I met with Reception and Y1 children before the big event in the evening. Then we decorated the hall with the help of amazing library helpers who had read the book and wanted to be part of the launch.
Y6 had done a project on plastics and the ocean and had used art work inspired from both You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug with Me. It was brilliant to see how the books transcend from the confines of its form and reaches the readers.
As the bell rang for the final time that afternoon, parents and children started filing in.
We started with a storytelling from the book in which children joined in enthusiastically and then Alice Curry, publisher of Lantana Publishing spoke about books for under-represented children and why reading the 1% was so important.
Then it was party time – colouring in masks and colouring sheets kindly given to us by the illustrator Poonam Mistry, who couldn’t make it to the launch (we missed you!). I signed loads of books for parents and children, the school and the library too.
What a surprise, I had an author friend Paul May who came to celebrate the launch with me too!
All in all, a wonderful way to celebrate the publication of a new book. My heartfelt thanks to everyone at Chestnuts Primary School who came to the event, helped us make it a success. A special Woot-Woot to the head-teacher Mrs Katie Horwood and librarian Tanya Efthymiou who hosted us.
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.