in the latest addition to the Prince Veera series – A Sliver of Moon and a Shard of Truth.
My nephews are big fans of the Prince Veera series of books. These stories are reimagined folktales from India and the stories are trickster tales where the trickster tricks for the sake of fairness and justice.
But when my nephew asked me for a new book in the series, I wasn’t sure there was going to be one. And then he said, “But if you make Veera go to Raja Apoorva’s kingdom, maybe he can fix problems there.”
Children who read the books know that Raja Apoorva hasn’t been very fair in his dealings when he visited Prince Veera’s Himtuk and hence my nephew’s need to fix the root-cause. His empathy for the people in Peetalpur, the kingdom of Raja Apoorva that might be suffering from his unfair judgements and quick temper.
That was enough to start me off. I pitched four stories set in Peetalpur instead of Himtuk, where Prince Veera and Suku don’t have a reputation yet. Will they be able to offer suggestions, fix problems and bring truce? Will they be able to earn the trust of Raja Apoorva’s court?
In these four stories, we go from a fun-fair filled with tricky situations where they laugh, they joke and Suku even comes close to wrestling to the problems within the royal family and as usual tiffs between neighbours.
Suku goes from “the wrong friend” that Raja Apoorva used to think he was to Honourable Citizen. And we also introduce the feisty Princess Kanti and her adorable daughter Heera who loves Veera. Suku thinks it’s because her name rhymes with Veera’s although Prince Veera would beg to differ.
Through their journey to Peetalpur and their return, each story has inter-linked stories in them because every interaction with Prince Veera and Suku is a test – of their character, their quick-thinking and their integrity.
In this book, I also added a note at the back to explain the context of these stories. Many South Asian parents will recognise the essence of many of the stories I reimagined here. This author’s note gives a glimpse into my inspirations for these stories for younger readers.
Uma Krishnaswamy returns with me in this book with her beautiful art that gives us a glimpse into the ancient stories and yet retain the playfulness of every child.
This book would not have happened without the support of two people – my nephew Isaac who gave me the idea and Mara Bergman, my editor (and an amazing author) who from the beginning loved Prince Veera and Suku and helped me bring their stories to life on the page. A little bird tells me the new title A Sliver of Moon and a Shard of Truth will also come to the US. So watch this space for updates on that.
Here is a video introducing the book with a lot of thank-yous at the end!