Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sreedevi Gopakumar on Meddling with Magic to Get Mangoes - 7th story of the 'Weave-a-Story' campaign

The 7th story of our ‘Weave-a-Story’ campaign is up on StoryWeaver and it is the perfect mix of holiday time fun, mangoes and magic. Presenting 'Mangoes for Moidootty' by Sreedevi Gopakumar - the first Community Story that has found its way into the 'Weave-a-Story' campaign. 

Malu and Moidootty resort to magic to get juicy mangoes. But meddling with magic is dangerous business and soon they have to fend off the dreaded Aamasura! And who comes to their rescue, but their grandmother.

We're really excited about this story because this is exactly what StoryWeaver is about - collaboration and creativity. The story is Sreedevi’s first attempt at children's writing and she had a rollicking time spinning a tale around Greystroke’s whimsical illustrations.When the story was first published on StoryWeaver, it was an instant hit, drawing in all sorts of happy noises. Apart from this being a delightful tale, it is also easy to translate this into other languages and that’s why we're super eager that this story be part of this campaign which has had its focus on translations. 

We had a chat with Sreedevi and here is a little behind-the-scenes story into this budding author’s life.

You wrote a story based on Greystroke's illustrations. What was your experience of weaving a story around these illustrations?

This was my first attempt at creating a story around a set of illustrations, and I found it challenging and fun. Greystroke’s artwork is gorgeous! It was a pleasure to play around with them. I have not read the stories that these images were originally created for, so I was free to interpret them to a certain degree.

Your story 'Mangoes for Moidootty' is one of the most read books on StoryWeaver. How do you feel about that?

Astounded and incredibly chuffed!

You have been an active part of the Pratham Books community. Tell us a little about what that means to you and what has motivated you.

My love for picture books and storytelling is fairly recent, and I have my 3 yr old son to thank for it. I have been following Pratham Books closely over the past year or so and have enjoyed participating in various contests like Pratham Books Summer Reads. I also chose Pratham Books for my first proper story telling session in a school. As a mother – son duo exploring the world of picture books, these initiatives by Pratham Books as well as the fantastic quality of their books are invaluable.

As a child, what did you enjoy reading?

I used to read just about anything I could get my hands on, but mostly Enid Blyton-s, Amar Chitra Katha-s and Tinkle. Picture books were unheard of then, sadly.

What do you do and where do you go when desperately need inspiration to write? Yes, we are asking you to spill your secrets.

As is the case with most mothers of preschoolers, I can only work when my son is at school. Which means I have approximately 2.5 hrs every day to myself. I am fiercely protective of this tiny pocket of my day and try to cram as much into it as possible. So whenever I can, I write maniacally with one eye on the clock. So far inspiration hasn’t been a problem. But finding the time to sit down and write something I’m happy with is proving to be an uphill task. Hopefully I’ll get better at it.

We hope you - our generous community - will help us spread this story far and wide by translating it into many, many languages. We do believe that this will inspire more people from the StoryWeaver community to write awesome children's stories. Translation on StoryWeaver is super easy. Here are a few tips to get you started! And here is a video tutorial that will help you jump right into it. We can't wait for Malu and Moidootty to meet and make friends with millions of children across the world.

(Psst : if you are wondering how Moidootty is pronounced, Sreedevi tells us it is 'Moyi-dhooo-tti')

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