THE MIDDLE is a White Raven 2020, woohoo! We are celebrating, and how!
The #WhiteRaven is one of the most celebrated catalogues unveiled annually at the Frankfurt Book Fair by the International Youth Library (Munich) on the 200 titles across 36 languages and 56 countries that make a noteworthy contribution to children’s and youth literature every year.
This is how the lovely White Raven citation reads for the book:

“Azma is an avid reader. She eats and breathes books. They make her mind wander and leave her with hundreds of unanswered questions, questions that scare her, especially after nightfall, when »those creatures of the night« roam around the darkness. Richa Jha, committed author and publisher, has crafted a quiet, thought-provoking story about a young girl, hungry for knowledge, who struggles with a growing uneasiness. Spanish artist Eva Sánchez Gómez, who has illustrated more than thirty books so far, takes the short, philosophical text and transforms it into dream-like, partly sinister pencil illustrations. Azma’s everyday world, rendered in black and white, gets increasingly swamped with large areas of yellow that signify the fascinating world of imagination and its scary creatures that come crowding into the girl’s bedroom. Can her own creativity help Azma face her fears? An atmo-spheric read about exploring the world with the help of stories and about the liberating power of writing.”

Congratulations Eva Sanchez Gomez and Richa Jha! Congratulations also to Abhishek Jha who co-designed this book and put it all together!

A Book Community That Gives

A Book Community That Gives

There is something extraordinary about the children’s book community. We are crazy, all, we have an infinite capacity to indulge and surprise, and we are full of empathy.

But above all, we are family.

Yes, that’s right, we are family in a way that no other set of disparate individuals ever do manage to come together as, perhaps, once outside of their school and college years. There are peals of laughter when even five of us get together, there are songs where a croak wouldn’t dare to come out, and there are hugs warm enough to drive away every blue that could be weighing us down.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, to see the way India’s kidlitworld has come together during these tough times to be a virtual presence in the children’s Covid-19 home-locked days. From free books online (Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle’s entire catalogue until mid April on their App; the featured pic accompanying this blog post is from ACK’s same campaign) to author readings to storytellings to drama to children-led poetry and art, there’s a virtual nanny (an extremely engaging, creative, fun one at that) waiting right there to give children an immersive online experience unlike any before.

While Pickle Yolk Books is using these weeks to reassess many, many things, I have been observing, absorbing, following the love that’s just there. Tune in, and you’ll feel it.

I’m not sure if it can be pinned down to any one definitive start to this, but two events stand out – the Delhi Storyteller’s Tribe’s decision to move their Seven Voyages of Sindbad from a physical location to making it an online jambooree, and, Bijal Vaccharajani, the award-winning author, editor, friend and Indian Kidlit-flagbearer extraordinaire, floating the idea of a daily read-aloud by authors and showcasing by illustrators through the 21-day lockdown. The little brainstorming threw up the crackling hashtag #ThodaReadingCorona (Roopal Kewalaya, doffing my hat) and the series was off in no time. The videos are posted individually by the creators on their personal social media handles and collated by author Tanu Shree Singh on the fabulous Facebook Group she manages, The Reading Raccoons – Discovering Children’s Literature) apart from being posted on an authors/ illustrators only group Forever Young.

Every day throws up something fresh, something inspiring. A big delight – and my personal favourite – has been a peep into the soul-lifting creativity and funkiness that goes behind the illustration process. Kripa Bhatia and Shamika Chaves, we need more!  

The Indian Express did an informative piece on it (read it here). And as one parent pointed out, it is lovely to put a face to the authors they and their children have been reading all along.

Bijal’s (along with Aparna Kapur) other idea of Indian kidlit Pictionary for book titles that soon caught on with cool ones from author and book devourer Timira Gupta too is like the dollops of meethi chatni I dunk my street chaat with; nothing can quite match its sublimity. I hope it finds more traction.  

I have also been savouring the daily entries by children pouring in for author and film maker Samina Mishra’s The Magic Key Centre for Arts and Childhood as part of its Lockdown Art series for children between 8 and 15 years. Daily prompts and format (words, illustrations, photographs and more) are put out and the entries are later collated and shared on its Facebook Page.

There’s so much more that’s happening all around. Mompresso will be hosting a daily reading by authors in association with Penguin and Crossword Bookstores. Express Parenting’s #ExpressParentingReadAlouds series along the same lines has started this week. I’ll keep adding more as they fall on my radar. It’s a priceless minefield getting readied for posterity through this lockdown and we owe our deepest gratitude to every creative person stepping up and volunteering to be a part of it.

I am keeping this post more open-ended, and have therefore kept away from taking any bytes from the creators themselves. But I want to leave everyone with some questions that come to mind. Feel free to plug in your thoughts as part of the comments:

What prompts us kidlit people to be the way we are? Are we thinking about our own children or those in our families and friend circles, or about our readers or the readers of tomorrow when coming together for such community acts of love? Is it mutual support, or common challenges and goals, or something else that keeps us afloat together through tough times? What makes some of us take to these ideas more readily than the others? How does it feel to be a part of the Indian Kidlit world?  

Looking forward to hearing from everyone. Until the next blog post in a few days, hugs going out to all from this fly on the wall. I’ll soon try and post a link to all the #ThodaReadingCorona videos here below so that they are all together at one place. Do drop me a line if there are other initiatives that I’ve missed mentioning; I’ll add them.  

We are nominated for Children’s Publisher of the Year

We are chuffed to see Pickle Yolk Books being nominated for the #KSPAwards2018 in the best children’s publisher category! 🎉🥳 If you’ve enjoyed reading our books, do vote for us here at this link:

Family Unplug Station

Family Unplug Station

Our title THE MANIC PANIC was part of the Toka Explorer Box for the month of February. This box is for Toka Box’s subscribers in the 6 to 8 age group in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore.  
The fabulous team at Toka Box usually puts together the box with an immersive STEAM activity and pairs well with the featured book. Look at what a funky, creative family unplug station they have crafted to go with The Manic Panic! This station is where the devices and screens in the house can find a home during family time. Children’s motor and 3-D skills gets used too when they make this station. For a more detailed peek at the box, this is the link to the contents of the box here.

Toka Box, we are both chuffed and thankful for this!

Our Jaipur Book Mark Debut

Our Jaipur Book Mark Debut

This was our first time at Jaipur BookMark and we have returned with priceless nuggets to rethink our publishing dreams and goals.

In an interesting session presented by French Institute in India, Deepa Agarwal, Laurence Faron, Manisha Chaudhry and our founder and publisher Richa Jha, in conversation with Naveen Kishore, discuss challenges in making children’s books visible and accessible to young readers as well as marketing strategies for overcoming them.

Richa Jha and Sumanta Dey  win the Crossword Book Award for MACHHER JHOL

Richa Jha and Sumanta Dey win the Crossword Book Award for MACHHER JHOL

What a stupendous win this is for us, the first time ever in the Award’s history that a picture book has won the Children’s category. Author Richa Jha and Illustrator Sumanta Dey jointly won the much-coveted Jury Award for Children’s Writing.

Our team is still savouring the beautifully worded citation by the Jury. Namita GokhaleDeepak DalalMeenakshi Reddy Madhavan as we extend our warmest gratitude. Crossword Bookstores Ltd., thank you for this memorable evening. The mood at the Kemps Corner Crossoword was electrifying.
Our heartiest congratulations to the brilliant shortlisted authors Siddhartha Sarma, Bijal Vachhrajani, Venita Coelho and Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar.

MACHHER JHOL is on the Parag Honour List 2020

We are so thrilled and honoured to see our MACHHER JHOL on the inaugural Parag Honour List 2020! Our heartiest congratulations to the book’s author Richa Jha, illustrator Sumanta Dey and designer Abhishek Jha. Parag, thank you!

Parag Honour List is a curated collection of outstanding books in English and Hindi for children and young adults by Parag Initiative of Tata Trusts. This list, published annually, comprises noteworthy books of the year with brief information about each title. It has been created with careful screening and multiple reviews by experts in the children’s literature sector. The list aims to promote access to a comprehensive, curated list of good quality children’s literature that librarians, teachers, parents, and children can refer to and read. With large number of books being published each year, it is hoped that Honour’s list will support the process of curation for users.

Parag Honour List was first launched in January 2020 at the New Delhi World Book Fair. We received books from 25+ publishers on various themes for the age group 0-16 years. The books comprised of original writings in the category of picture books, young readers and young adults, both in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Eva Sánchez Gómez launches and THE MIDDLE at Bookaroo, Delhi

Eva Sánchez Gómez launches and THE MIDDLE at Bookaroo, Delhi

Our lovely THE MIDDLE moments from its special Bookaroolitfest launch this weekend at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. We were thrilled and honoured to have Mr. Ignacio Victoria Hamilton from the Embass of Spain, Mr. Marti Bassets Claret from the Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi and MR. Ramon Moncho Torres from the EFE News Agency with us on this happy occasion. This brief launch was followed by a brilliant session by the fabulous Eva Sánchez Gómez with these children.

MACHHER JHOL is on the FICCI Book award Shortlist

MACHHER JHOL is on the FICCI Book award Shortlist

We haven’t stopped celebrating our nomination at this prestigious FEDERATION OF INDIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (FICCI) PUBLISHING AWARD, second year in a row! MACHHER JHOL does us proud again.
We congratulate Illustrator Sumanta Dey, designer Abhishek Jha and author Richa Jha for this. All the best to us!

We had a lovely time at the Frankfurt Book Fair

We had a lovely time at the Frankfurt Book Fair