Hello and Happy Monday! Welcome to Kid Lit Love where a new release children’s book is featured on Mondays with an author and/or illustrator interview. Today we feature A GIFT FOR AMMA by Meera Sriram and Mariona Cabassa, published by Barefoot Books, August 21, 2020.
Title: A GIFT FOR AMMA: Market Day in India
In this #OwnVoices book, a girl explores the vibrant rainbow of delights in a southern Indian street market as she searches for a gift for her amma (mother). Endnotes explain all the items on sale and introduce readers to markets around the world.
Release Date: AUG 21, 2020 (US), AUG 28, 2020 (UK)
Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S in 1999. An electrical engineer in the past, she now enjoys writing for children, leading early literacy initiatives, and advocating for diverse bookshelves. Meera is the author of picture books The Yellow Suitcase and A Gift For Amma. She has also co-authored several kids’ books in India. Meera believes in the transformative power of stories and likes to write about people, places, and experiences less visible in children’s literature. For more information, please visit: http://www.meerasriram.com
Meera, Welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your book with us!
1. Tell us about the inspiration for your book.
I grew up in a bustling city in India (home to about 10 million people today!). It is hot, noisy, and packed with people, buildings, traffic, markets, and hawkers everywhere. However, I find that all the clutter and chaos make the city throb with life! As a child, I was enthralled by the beautiful mosaic of sights, colors, sounds, foods, textures, and action every time I stepped out to the street. They made a busy place like an outdoor market even more interesting and dynamic. While there are many books on colors, and colors of India, I wanted to explore a narrative that captured the vibrancy and at the same time opened a slightly wider window into the culture of India for very young kids, as concept books set outside the U.S. are still rare.
Thanks, Meera. In contrast, I grew up on a mountainside, just outside the city of Vancouver (now home to 2.5 million people). The city seemed busy, full of people and chaos to me at the time. So for me, I have to imagine that multiplied by five! I think young children from North America will benefit from learning about a new culture through your book.
2. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
I’ll share something I often tell myself – always write from the heart and be honest with the story you want to tell. Not what is trending, not what is easy to write or read or understand, not what everyone wants you to write. It’s great if the story also does any or all of the above. The core intention is believing in the importance of the story I want to tell, whatever it may be. This belief is what helps with the writing and when rejection hits hard.
I would agree, Meera. I think readers want an honest story, full of heart.
3. What part of being a writer do you love most?
This is a tough one to answer because I love so many things! I particularly love it when a child identifies with something in the story, an emotion or experience or any story element, and makes a personal connection. It gives me the feeling that the story has made it home – fuels and keeps me going as a writer.
Oh my, I love that too! The connection with the reader is what it is all about!
Thanks again, Meera. Congratulations on your book!
Thanks to the readers for stopping by this week. I’ve got more great new kit lit releases coming up so I hope you’ll stop by again!!
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