Stories and storytelling—that’s what Good Picks is all about. For this round, let’s begin with the tellers of the stories. What makes them tick? Anthony Horowitz spills some of his secrets to Bijal Vachcharajani. Horowitz is best known for his Alex Rider series, one that was apparently born out of a need to be “completely different” from the magical world of J.K. Rowling.
While Horowitz feels that Roald Dahl created the modern children’s book, while Rowling made children’s books mainstream, there is a school of thought that believes strict demarcation of books as “for children” and “for adults” shuts each group of readers out of the other’s literary imaginations. Shohini Sengupta talks about the perils of classification, making adults lose out on good reads, and the “utter contempt with which we treat children’s books”.
There are armies of elves—okay, some of them are human beings—behind the production of the thousands of children’s books every year. They comprise publishers, editors, proofreaders, designers, assistants, and makers of tea and coffee. Those of use in close proximity to children’s publishing have the privilege of interacting with them, but otherwise they go pretty much go unheralded. But oh, the stories they could tell! Earlier this year, Publishers Weekly asked various children’s publishers to share the lessons they learnt from their mentors. One that will probably resonate with most of us: “Never put the address into a difficult email until you’re done writing it!”
There are, of course, many ways to tell stories, and words and pictures are just one combination. Daniel Miyares, writer and illustrator, author of many picture books, writes about his process. “That space between what the written words are saying and what the pictures are showing,” he says, “is where all the power and wonder are hidden.” And this power he talks about—it can propel a new generation of storytellers into being.
And finally, we round up with some news from the Indian kidlit frontier—Speaking Tiger Books and HarperCollins India have both launched new children’s imprints, Talking Cub and HarperCollins Children’s Books respectively. Neha Bhat speaks to the publishers of these imprints—Sudeshna Shome Ghosh and Tina Narang—to find out what plans they have up their sleeves.