Monday, May 28, 2007

The Common Crow

The logo of Tulika Books is the ubiquitous Indian crow. It's loud. It lives in cities and villages alike. As the Tulika web site puts it, the crow is a "busy, intelligent bird, with a great sense of family — and an unmissable part of the sights and sounds of India." It's no peacock, and therein lies a message.

Tulika is a small Indian publishing house whose mission is to give children images of India that "show how all parts of this world come together to make it a diverse and dynamic whole, a changing yet changeless continuum." Here managing editor Radhika Menon reflects on Questioning Cultural Stereotypes Through Children's Books.

So we think we're crossing borders in the world of multiculti children's literature, but are we? In thinking about the stories we write, and for whom, perhaps Radhika's right, and it's time to change the metaphor. Here's the Tulika Bookshelf, a list that has achieved significant staying power since the house began in 1996. Maybe the crow offers a lesson in persistence.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Updates and Downloads

Coram Boy, the musical based on Jamila Gavin's Whitbread-winning YA novel, opened last month on Broadway, and garnered 6 Tony nominations. Wish I'd been there, Jamila!

Kimberley Griffiths Little, Anjali Banerjee, and Katia Novet Saint-Lot have launched new blogs. Katia's a student of mine whose picture book about a boy, a book, and the opening of worlds, was recently acquired by Tilbury House. I'm waiting anxiously, in the manner of an auntie, for the final title, and the last word on the protagonist's name. I love it when students' books finds homes.

Great new reviews and interviews for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month at PaperTigers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pooja's Book, Mama's Saris

Luscious and rich and drenched in memory, Pooja Makhijani's gorgeous picture book, Mama's Saris, arrived in my mailbox in the middle of a hectic week. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, and now I can't put it down. Just in time for Mother's Day, try this bonding experience in silk and cotton, zari and pleat and fold. Pooja captures perfectly that childhood longing to grow up, dress up, make believe. A glossary for those who need it, an author's note for the grownups. But young girls will go for the luminous color and the deftly wrapped text, and moms who don't have saris on hand might need to extend their dress-up wardrobes. The art by Elena Gomez shines. Congratulations, Pooja and Elena!