CHENNAI: Malar is your girl next door. She’s a kid you would come across every day. She does not confine to the social norms of being a ‘perfect child’ — she’s adamant and has a learning disability. Malar’s Big House is about a small girl trying to build a castle with tumblers. The book was authored by architect and historian Thirupurasundari Sevvel. The story is inspired from one of her storytelling sessions.
“I have picked this one out of the 15 other stories. Each chapter revolves around a topic — Punnagai (hair), Natpe (friendship), Mazhai (rain) and a lot more. These are penned down from my experience with special children on a daily basis. Every storytelling session of mine will have a character named Malar or Ezhil. They’re special,” says the author-cum-secretary of Madras Literary society.
The characters in the book are sketched and illustrated in a way that any child would find it relevant. There are pictures of objects in different shapes and sizes in her book.
We ask her if it was a conscious effort, and Thirupurasundari explains, “My profession has nothing to do with the elements I have used. This is one way of teaching kids dimensions instead of complicating the concepts. Malar learns the sense of place and spatial cognition through her attempts at building a castle. She attempts, fails, and repeats by arranging glasses in all possible combinations.”
Thirupurasundari says she has received numerous voice notes from kids who are able to associate with Malar. “I feel elated. I am grateful to my guest editor Karishma Mahbubani and illustrator Ankitha Kini for shaping the book,” she shares.
Speaking about Pratham books, an open source platform, she says, “Anybody can access the book and even translate it. My book has already been translated into French. It will be available in Tamil and Hindi soon.” She is working on more children’s book, and believes that reading inclusive books at a young age will help in imbibing an open-minded perspective.
To read, visit: storyweaver.org.in/stories /61982-malar-s-big-house