Feb 6, 2014
This has been both a delightful and a tear-jerker of a day in equal measure. The Unboy Boyand The Susu Pals got launched at Bombay’s Kitab Khana as part of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2014. A genius of a writer, film maker, social commentator, artist, and also the illustrator of The Unboy Boy, and the brilliant story teller Preeti Shekhawat came together to give the kids a rollicking time at the launch.
While I sit here in Lagos thousands of miles away from the scene of action, a most awesome set of people pulled it off in style and managed to convince me that these books are no longer just my babies! That explains the delight and the weeping with joy bit! Thank you Sangeeta Mehta Bhansali, Lubaina Bandukwala, Gautam Benegal and Preeti Shekhawat for making it possible! Some snapshots of the event at the end of this post. But before that, this other thing that left me at a loss of words in the most thrilling and satisfying of ways:
This review of The Susu Pals by Renee and her children at one of the most popular review blogs in kidlit, Mother Daughter & Son Book Reviews:
My children have grown up devouring (besides the Indian books) picture books created in the UK and the US. And we have shared countless moments of pleasure and delight poring over many of these. Not once did it occur to us in all these years that we were reading books from ‘some other culture’. These books have always spoken the universal language of love, bonhomie, trust, bonding, fears, anxieties, fun or trouble and insecurities that every child is familiar with, regardless of where she or he is growing up. Can the houses or the fields or the people looking different on the pages of the book take away these elements that kids identify with? I’d always believed, no. And it is with this belief that I have created my picture books. Thank you, Renee, for helping me stick on with my conviction.
And now, for the part in Renee’s review that made me cry bucket loads!: her response to an Amazon review of this book with a 2 rating (the same review appears on Goodreads too). That review broke a big part of my morale last week when I first saw it. But I was (still am) more than overwhelmed today to see Renee’s public response to it and am finding myself fumbling for words! Perhaps I’ll be in a calmer frame of mind in a day or two to add more here!
Please do head over to Renee’s website and check out all the fabulous books that get featured and the discussions they trigger.
And now, for some images (courtesy Sangeeta) from this afternoon’s launch: