Lata and I reach the venue well ahead of time and are impressed with the wonderful arrangements made by the school management. We are happy to hear that the 4th grade students have a course on writing a novel and are eager to meet Lata as this is their first interaction with an author and they are eager to get first hand tips!
Lata reads from her book “Laxman's Questions” as all children listen to Lata's impeccable English in pin-drop silence. One would think the kids were rather silent, but just as Lata asked if anyone had a question we saw a room full of hands go up in the air. The first question itself saw all 90 students get divided over their response - Is this book fiction or non-fiction?
Children were curious to know how Lata became a children's book author. And the story was quite cute! Lata's nephew gautam who stayed in the US had made Lata promise him that she would write stories for him. Thats what got Lata started. The bright students then came to the next question – Why did she choose this topic for the story and Lata took the kids back many many years when Bangalore was not so developed and from her room window she saw children climbing tamarind trees and kids riding bullock carts. It was this experience that she wanted to familiarize Gautam with and thereby developed the plot of “Laxman's Questions”.
Why did you decide to become an author? How many days did you take to write the story? How did you choose which questions to add in the story? The questions continued and we were not complaining!
About the author:
Lata Mani is a historian and cultural critic who began writing children’s stories at the request of her nephew Gautam. Her first two books for children, The Tamarind Tree and The Spider’s Web were published by Tulika Books in 2009. She has also authored the book Laxman's Questions, published by Pratham Books.
About the book:
Laxman’s head was full of questions: Why did seeing a bird fly make him happy? Did the birds who saw him feel just as happy? Read this book to see if you have such questions too.
Pratham Books -BLF outreach:
This session was conducted as part of an outreach program preceding the Bangalore Literature Festival. Pratham Books took the excitement of books right into the schools across the city. Pratham Books reached out to schools that were part of the Deccan Herald Newspaper in Education (DHNIE) program and also to Government and community libraries through Akshara Foundation.