FIRST, MY REVIEW:
Meera has had a frustrating day, where she feels her friend has been bossing her around.
When she gets home, her Dadaji (grandfather) gently guides her through her frustration as he engages her to help make Aloo Paratha. You can almost smell the food as they work.
The author's descriptions are wonderful and the story is truly engaging. It includes the recipe so you can try it at home, making this a very well rounded way to introduce your child to another culture and new foods as well as learning to be humble and accept that sometimes we need to be taught.
It also includes discussion questions and a small glossary for words that may be new to you. An excellent addition to home or classroom with wonderful content and beautiful illustrations!
I was lucky enough to get to speak with the author and here is what I learned! In the author's own words:
Well, I did an online course in early childhood education from Penn Foster. It was quite an experience for me. I love being around children, and I wanted to learn more about them. I have also worked on and off in preschool settings. But mostly I have been a homemaker.
I discovered I loved to write stories. But I truly started writing for kids when my daughter was born. I used to make up all these stories to keep her entertained.
"Meera Makes Aloo Paratha" is my first children's picture book that has been published. I also wrote a few short stories that were published in a few children's magazines in India.
My inspiration has always been my children and their friends. Watching them navigate their childhood has been quite a learning experience.
While watching kids around me, I notice that the most common problem they face is that everyone wants to be a leader. That is one of the biggest childhood struggles...no one wants to be the follower.
Meera's problem is similar - as in she wants to be the teacher - or should I say, she doesn't always want to be the student! I started with this premise, and decided to bring in Dadaji to be the rescuer.
I have watched my children interacting with their grandparents. What I found is that grandparents have both wisdom and patience to handle their grandchildren. I felt that it would set a perfect example of how the two generations can work together to solve a problem.
There are definitely more Meera/Dadaji situations coming up. I never planned for this to work out as a series. But sometimes the characters speak for themselves.
My editor, Aditi Wardhan Singh referred Noor to me. (Noor Alshalabi is Sangeetha's illustrator) I checked out her Instagram profile and I was hooked. Her illustration style was just what I was looking for and I trusted my instincts. But the day she sent me character sketches of Meera and Dadaji, I knew that I had made the right choice.
As far as guiding her is concerned, the only thing I told her was that Meera must wear glasses. The rest she kind of gave her own spin. I wanted the story to be her true guidance. Once the illustrations came in, if I felt something seemed off, I'd communicate to her and she was prompt in making those changes. There were some changes made from time to time, and Noor was pretty accommodating about it.
The initial part of editing was tough for me. Just like other authors, I struggled with it. But as our editing sessions progressed, the changes were lesser and I found my story sounding so much better.
My editor, Aditi Wardhan Singh was super patient with me. She encouraged me every step of the way. We actually met online and hit it off from the beginning. It helped that we both are good friends along with colleagues.
As you can probably sense from the story, I am big with conversations. If there is one thing that I want my readers to take away from my book, it is that talking about things is always helpful.
Talk with your friends, family, teachers or anyone else you feel comfortable with. There is no problem on earth that can't be solved with just a little bit of conversation. At least talking about it can be a good starting point.
I'm currently working on a middle grade chapter book titled "According To Dhruv". I'm also working on a couple of other Meera and Dadaji related stories. Story telling is my passion. I'm constantly experimenting on my writing style.
I would like to thank Sangeetha for her time and for allowing me to read and review her book in my blog. All images were used with the author's permission.
Her purchase links are on the buttons below.
Apologies for a prolonged silence!
I have gratefully recovered from my eye surgery and returned to my home and husband--from whom I was separated for TOO LONG!
We enjoyed a quiet holiday season with good friends and phone calls to our assorted sons who are scattered around the globe. We then took a much needed "us time" break to reconnect and relax and enjoy the beautiful island of St. Lucia.
I am now back and getting started on my projects for 2024. These include a couple of new books which will be releasing mid year, completing paperwork for some more award applications that have been sent to me, and working on my new project.
I am going to embark in 2024 on helping to raise awareness of other children's book creators--both illustrators and authors--and have lined up some fabulous people to work with on this. Starting in February make sure you stay tuned to my social media and YouTube for some interviews, reviews, and fun reading times!
I really look forward to this new project and connecting with my fellow authors. It's all about being able to introduce you and your children to new authors, and wonderful books. It's all about sharing a love of reading and making life long readers out of the next generation. So stay tuned!
I will also post links and other resources as the year progresses!
Welcome to 2024 and happy reading!