QUEEN'S ROAD: This weekend witnessed the launch of Whackylicious, an anthology of 15 child authors, aged between six and 12. It was brought out by Timbuktoo Young Authors, a ‘by kids for kids’ publishing venture founded by Aparna Raman.
“We are one year old. Our aim is to work with kids and mentor them, starting from when they come up with their ideas, right to publishing,” says the founder of the one-year-old firm. Whackylicious has a short story and a poem by each child writer, and ‘they are all a little mad a crazy’, according to Aparna. “I knew that every piece had to be implausible to the adult imagination,” she adds.
So how was it for her, as an adult? “What they came up with was amazing. A seven-year-old boy has started off his story with, ‘I peeled a banana, and inside was a fish’, and the fish goes on to narrate its story. Another poem reads, ‘Bang banga goes the nightingale,’ which it never would, if you ask an adult. So I thought Whackylicious was an appropriate title,” she explains.
Before she gave up her advertising job, Aparna used to do creative writing workshops for children, where they often came up with ideas that they followed up with dedication and dreamed of seeing it in print. Her son too had often come up with comics, and as a parent, Aparna wanted to preserve it.
So she started Timbuktoo Young Authors, where kids can sign up as her clients. “There’s something in it for the kids and the parents as well,” says Aparna who, apart from running the publishing firm, now teaches creative writing to teenagers at a city school.
“I mentor children of ages 10 and above, from outside Bangalore, sometimes even on Skype or through email,” she says.
Timbuktoo will soon go digital, she tells us. “People can download e-books. It’ll help reach out to extended family. We’ve also started doing merchandise, bringing the characters to life through mugs, stuffed toys, cereal bowls and t-shirts,” she says.