CHENNAI: Loud whispers of kids aged four to six filled the air at Tulika Publishers. It was the grand opening ceremony of the store, marked by the launch of The Colour Thief. The book was launched by Sandhya Rao, a famous children book writer through a storytelling session. The book, written by Stephen Aitken and Sylvia Sikunder, is the story of a giant who stole all the colours of the ocean, land, and mountains. The illustrations in the book are by Sandhya Prabhat. “Sandhya’s illustrations add a perspective, colour, and texture to the story,” said Stephen, co-author of the book.
Unlike other children’s book, the story of The Colour Thief doesn’t commit to a local place and time. “We are both interested in stories that speak to the higher side of human nature—compassion, kindness, and oneness. These attributes are universal in nature, not limited to a particular culture or rooted in a specific time. It gives the stories depth and appeals to a broad readership,” said the authors.
Sandhya, who had launched the book on behalf of the authors, read out the book, keeping the children in rapt attention. She guffawed like the giant in the story. “Every story has its own breakpoints, which needs to be supplemented with actions and voice modulation. In this book, the giant made my work easy as I had to supplement his character with a laugh, and a grumpy, hoarse voice,” she said.
Sandhya described the colours by using scarves that had different shades. “I use a tool to depict a large hole on the ground where the giant dumps all colours,” she said. How difficult is it to keep the young audience hooked to the story? “They give me a chance to become a kid all over again. For a storyteller, it is important to feel the pulse of their audience,” she shared. After the session, the kids were asked to draw and colour any picture of their choice.
Jayanti who attended the function with her daughter and her granddaughter said, “Sessions like these build a reading habit among children. Books by Tulika have always helped kids to associate with their surroundings better.”
Talking about the new store, Aneesha from Tulika Publishers, said, “It was difficult for us to accommodate people and showcase our entire collection in our old office.” The new store has books for sale on the ground floor, and its office on the first floor. “We wanted our new store in Abhiramapuram. Also, having our office attached to the store would be easier for us to guide our customers,,” she said.
The event was also attended by other in-house writers and illustrators. “Books by Tulika Publishers can be read by anyone of any age group. They deal with various topics like social issues, daily life, traffic jam,” said Nancy Raj, an illustrator with Tulika. The new store also plans to host different workshops, storytelling sessions, and meet-ups.
Story telling session
Sandhya, who had launched the book on behalf of the authors, read out the book, keeping the children in rapt attention. She often guffawed like the giant in the story.