The most exciting thing that has happened to me as a mother is the creative urge to write.
First there was the blog…
And now there are the stories.
Children’s Books have always been my absolute favourite delight. It’s one thing I never grew out of and since ‘growing up’ I’ve made them a professional pursuit.
From writing my thesis on children’s books to doing everything I can, in Gaborone, to promote reading in the community: creating a Reading Room at REWA, having a World Book Day picnic, Easter book-hunts, book clubs, teacher trainings… it’s been my mission to help our community raise readers.
I never thought I would write for children though.
And then, as a wise playwright once said, ‘a ministering angel shall my sister be’¹.
This time a year ago, a publisher approached me and asked if I had ever considered writing for children. With an embarrassed yet flattered scoff, I said, “Nope!” and left it at that. As sisters do, I shared this with mine. And my very own ministering angel (Rachna) went and told the publisher that I can, and will in fact, write a story for them to consider.
Not knowing what I would write about, where to start or anything else, six months later, I had a manuscript. Inspired by the magnificent, ivory elephant statue at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport that was established “to raise our collective consciousness about the plight confronting the African elephant”², I wanted to find a creative approach to build Aanavi’s awareness about elephant and rhino conservation.
And thus was imagined, this African adventure with delightfully charming illustrations by Sumedha Sah, Tusky’s story: An Elephant’s Tale, the first in a series of books about animal conservation for young children.
Out next month in India and published by Tota Books (buckets of thanks to Priyanka Malhotra and Puja Sood http://totabooks.in/), the blurb reads:
It’s suddenly very real and nerve-wrackingly exciting to see my name on the front cover. I only hope Aanavi has as much fun reading it as I did writing.
To end on a publicly cringe-worthy note:
I have a heart full of gratitude for my siblings, parents, Aditya and the rest of my family for believing in me and encouraging me to delve into this enchanting world.
²As said by the President of Botswana, Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, at the unveiling of the statue on July 16th 2015.