Happy Book Birthday!
When we were asked to be part of this blog tour, we were delighted. Keen to get it into the hands of children, I gave 'You're Safe With Me' to my Book Group who were instantly captivated by it. They had so much to say and so many ideas about it that we decided they were the best people to pose the questions- and they had many of them! So this interview has been conducted by my Book Group- children from age 7 to age 11, who organised themselves and edited and re-phrased their initial ideas until they were happy. My only interference was to limit the number of their questions. Chitra Soundar then very kindly agreed to answer them.
How do you get the ideas for a book?
Ideas for different books come from different places. This particular story came to me because I wanted to tell a story about thunderstorms. And I wanted to write a story about an elephant.
Why did you choose to write such a comforting story?
I grew up as a child in Chennai, which is a coastal city and storms were very loud and scary. But I grew to like them and I wanted other children not to be afraid of it. I still love watching a storm through the window and I thought if children understood why there is thunder and lightning, maybe they wouldn’t be afraid anymore.
Why did you choose to write it about animals and what made you choose these particular animals?
I wanted to set the story in a forest because I wanted an elephant in the story. The rest of the animals I chose because they are animals in an Indian forest. That way everyone will know more about other animals from India.
Did you choose your illustrator?
Lantana Publishing, the publisher of the book chose the illustrator. In fact they chose the illustrator and then found my story for her to illustrate.
What do you think of the style of illustration they chose?
The style is beautiful, isn’t it? I think it would have taken her a long time to do. I think it would make a great colouring book too. My nephew and I loved finding the little dragonflies in the pages that were part of the detailed drawings.
We think their pictures are inspired by African or Aboriginal art? Is this the case?
I think the drawings are inspired by Indian folk art. Poonam says in her own words, “Being brought up surrounded by Indian culture, fabrics, Indian artwork and ornaments have heavily influenced my work.”
How many books have you written?
I have written over 30 books for children. Seven of them are published in the UK, some in the US and India and across the world.
How long have you been writing books for children?
I’ve been writing for children since 2003 when I lived in Singapore. That makes it 15 years this year and I’m surprised it’s been a long time.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I read a lot when I was a child. I think two books captured my imagination:
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
The Kasiranga Trails by Arup Kumar Dutta
The first one as you know is full of characters, magic and lively imagination. The second book is an adventure story about a rescue of a rhino from poachers set in the Kasiranga National Park in India.
Many thanks to Chitra for answering the children's questions and to Lantana Publishing for asking us to be involved in the Blog Tour. . 'You're Safe With Me' is a beautiful book and you can find out more about it and its creators on the rest of the tour.
You're Safe With Me Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Poonam Mistry
Lantana Publishing ISBN: 978-1911373292