Monday, December 14, 2015

Princess Easy Pleasy Book Launch at Bookaroo - Festival of Children's Literature in Pune

Our picture book 'Princess Easy Pleasy' written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan was launched at the Bookaroo - Festival of Children's Literature in Pune earlier this month. Children were amused and filled with laughter as Natasha and Priya shared how Princess Easy Pleasy drives the royal packer up the wall with her quirks that are as seasonal as her royal vacation. Princess Easy Pleasy is a story of a princess who is impossible to please, especially while on vacation. What will her parents, the Royal Highnesses do? Will they insist she have a go at things or will their packing list grow longer each time they travel? Will she ever learn to be open-minded and look at experiences differently? Read the book and find out what happens. 

Princess Easy Pleasy uses humour, and a riot of colours to encourage children to embrace varied experiences, be adventurous and travel light! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

In the Spotlight: Annie Besant

How did The Dragon's Toothache come about? 
I have always wanted to meet a dragon! So I had a few story lines in which I met a dragon and we became book-reading buddies / worst enemies fighting over who gets to read Tinkle first / best friends who think nothing of scratching each other's backs. Well, I finally met my dragon in the form of the worst toothache ever one day. To make myself feel better, I wrote this story of a dragon with a toothache, who needs help—bad! 

Tell us a little about your first book with Karadi—Whimsy
It came to me while I was trying to brush my cat’s teeth with one hand and drink pudding out of a cup with the other! Ha ha ha . . . how I wish I had been really doing that! But that’s how much fun I had writing Whimsy. There was something very endearing and non-conforming about the story when I thought of it. Here are these two crazy creatures, completely mismatched and yet they have this great love story.
At its core, Whimsy was meant to show the quirkiness of Ms Fox and Ms Whimsy. In a way, it reflects our own quirkiness too . . . the odd traits and characteristics that are unique to each person. At my storytelling sessions, children have responded very positively to this book and they say the sweetest of things—one boy told me he wanted to have a large handkerchief like Mr Prat. Moreover, parents have reached out to me to let me know that their kids read and re-read the book multiple times.
Interestingly, this book has been misread. I’ve had people tell me it’s anti-feminist—they are uncomfortable with the fact that Ms Fox seeks marriage. I’ve even had the odd comment that it’s racist! Whimsy was meant to be neither. Ms Fox knows what she wants and is active in her pursuit of Mr Prat. I don’t think marriage precludes feminism or that feminism precludes marriage. The book was simply meant to be whimsical. 

Take us through your mind's maze. When does an idea generally occur to you? At work? In bed? Or while daydreaming? What do you do when that happens? 
Ideas have always made themselves comfortable in my mind regardless of what I have thought about them. Hmph! They waltz in as and when they wish . . . they are no sticklers for schedule, I tell you. However, the wonderful host that I am, I plonk myself next to them on the couch and nibble a marie biscuit or two as they unburden themselves to me. I take quick notes, of course . . . most often on any available scrap of paper . . . even toilet tissue will do. I chew on them a bit (the notes, not the toilet paper) and if it's something I can't use right away, I file them away for later.  

What is your favourite sound from The Dragon's Toothache
The sound of the dragon snoring! Phzzz . . . Graaa . . . who would have thought a dragon would snore like that! 

It is important for children to read—read a lot. Your thoughts?  
Why is it important for children to eat? Why is it important for children to play? It’s important because there is no growth without it. Reading challenges children to look beyond who they are, to look beyond what they know. And reading is a relationship that will survive anything.   
I think kids read a lot more when there was no one to tell them why they had to read and what they had to read. I remember growing up reading everything I could find with no one to monitor my reading habit . . . and maybe that’s why I stuck with it longer. 

What would you do if you bump into a dragon? 
Hope to God that it doesn't have a toothache! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chennai Book launch: The Dragon's Toothache

If you're a regular visitor here, there is a good chance that you've heard all the noise we have been making about our new book. We're pleased to announce the book launch of The Dragon’s Toothache!

Event Details

Date: September 5, 2015
Time: 11 am to 12 pm
Address: No 11, 3rd Avenue, Indira Nagar, Chennai 600 020
Phone: 044 4211 6417 / 044 2443 3544

Should you be in Chennai, do join us for the launch. Feel free to pass the invitation along to anybody who might be interested. We look forward to seeing you!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

In the Spotlight: Say Hello to Rayika!

When, where and why did you start illustrating?
I started drawing when I was two. My kindergarten teacher still takes complete credit for discovering my creative side. Apparently, my smiley-faced, googly-eyed frog, perched on an oversized mushroom won her heart.
Professionally, I started illustrating when I was in college – first for a project and then for Pratham Books. It gave me an avenue to combine both my interests – storytelling and drawing. Giving shape to characters and words is such a rewarding process! You combine your imagination with that of the author’s and weave this magical journey that had absolutely no existence.

Do you remember your first illustration? Have you kept it in-between a book or under the mattress? May we see it?
I don't, but it's a well-remembered family anecdote. For my first school interview, the two-year-old Oshkosh B'gosh dungaree wearing  little girl was asked to draw a flower. I did, but proceeded to colour it black. When asked by the interviewers why I had coloured a flower black, I said 'load-shedding' (interruption of electricity supply). The first preserved artwork I have (courtesy my super-encouraging family) is from an art competition I had won when I was five. 

"The first preserved artwork I have from 
an art competition I won when I was 5."  

Who are your idols?
Children's book illustrators I admire are Oliver Jeffers, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Quentin Blake and Bruno Munari. But, honestly, it's a never-ending list. I think I'm the only non-parent who spends so much time with children's books! 
My other idol – my grandmother. Helping her out with alpanas (rice powder floor decors used in Bengali pujas) as a child, is what shaped my current style and sense of aesthetics. 

The Dragon’s Toothache is a fantastic book, visually. Take us through the visualization process you followed for this project.
I think what made the book alive for me was the process of creating the characters. The journey started first with the little girl, and then the dragon, followed by the characters interacting with one another and everybody else. I made up stories while I drew them – reasons for why she wore a ghagra-like skirt, how she had a collection of matching bangles, everything! 

Rayika's illustrations

The next big challenge was understanding the anatomy of mythical characters like dragons! How does one imagine the inside of something that doesn't exist?! So, I took inspiration from creatures similar to dragons – dinosaurs, elephants, whatever I could find, including my favourite animation How to Train a Dragon.  
The interaction that followed with the characters and the scenes came organically after that. 

What would you do if you bumped into a dragon (not necessarily with a toothache)?
I've always wanted a dragon as a pet! I have one – Maximillian (lovingly called Max). He's a mixture of all the dragons I've ever made/seen. And he's adorable!

Is that Max? 

This question seems to trouble most illustrators: what is your favourite colour?
Clearly you don't expect an actual answer for this! I will tell you this though – my wardrobe is divided into hues of clothes based on my mood. So I have a set of happy clothes – shades of yellows, oranges, blues; dull clothes – greys and browns; and neutral clothes (everything that don’t fit into the other colour categories). J  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Release: The Dragon's Toothache

What could be stranger (or more exciting) than bumping into a dragon on your way back from school? How about bumping into a dragon who desperately needs your help?!

We have heard of damsels in need of rescuing from dangerous dragons. We have heard of knights riding majestic dragons to save a village. Skip through the pages of 'The Dragon's Toothache' and go on an adventure when our brave heroine takes on a challenge, makes new friends and goes on a fun adventure. Does she manage to help the dragon? Does she get gobbled up?

Annie Besant’s quirky tale coupled with Rayika Sen’s fantastic illustrations will have you giggling in no time.

Karadi Tip: Avail a 10% discount on the first twenty orders. Hurry and order your copy here:

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for exciting Fall Release updates from across the seas.

Here is a little sneak peek:

Snippets from Karadi Headquarters

We invited Annie to celebrate the right way - with cake!

Say hello to Annie.

Say hello to Rayika.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

ALA 2015 was a blast!

The Karadi USA team huddled for our first team meeting in Fremont, California — with a bunch of files, papers and pens ready for the many copious notes we went on to take. The trip to San Francisco held many firsts for our team, exhibiting at the ALA being one of them!

The ALA 2015 Conference was held at Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition hall in San Francisco. The Conference was spread across three buildings, each with a direction to its name. Jokes apart, the events were well-organized and clearly marked out; even those of us who were fresh off the boat didn’t take too long to get our ‘bearings’ (pun fully intended) right.
Registrations and Exhibit Hall Badges awaited us in the North Hall. Across the street, South Hall was where all the action was—at least as far as we were concerned. We were among the Small Press Tables. For neighbours, we had Scholastic, Chronicle Books, Live in a Story (lovely set-up!), and what seemed like a corridor each of Harper Collins and Penguin / Random House. We had the cafeteria right at our elbows for unlimited access to coffee and sandwiches.
We were among the first to arrive in our section—and we quickly found out why. It took us a little under two hours to set up Table #3341. Puppets, parrots and elephants were all part of the predominantly yellow decorations at our stall. We spent some time exploring the conference halls, and ended up getting some great tips from industry veterans on how to go about the ALA Conference.

The first person we spoke to was familiar with Karadi Tales. For a team looking to build brand awareness, what could be more exciting?! Marge Lock-Wouters of BiFolkal Productions gave us quick tips on how to go about the conference since this was the first time Karadi Tales was exhibiting anywhere in the US. We also got some practical tips from the ‘Mother Goose on a Loose’ team about ‘small budget’ table set-up options (getting to know that there is a Target store right around the corner made us breathe a giant sigh of relief). Marge also gave us a generous shout-out on her blog that evening -
In the past, these presses and publishers were often relegated to the last two or three rows at the end of the exhibit floor. But this year at ALA, there is a welcome change. The small press tables can be found at the end of rows - rows that put them next door to some of the biggest names in publishing, ILS systems and other national vendors. You won't have to go far to find a first time exhibitor like Karadi Tales, a publisher in India who has two books recently honored by the South Asia Book Awards - The Rumour won the Young People's Award in 2013 and in 2015 A Pair of Twins was on SABA's Highly Commended list. The books that are on exhibit from this publisher are delightful and easily open up our collections to needed diversity.
Once that was done, we took a break to go for a stroll around Fisherman’s Wharf, and got back just in time for the opening ceremony.
We spent the next three days making sure we did our share of spreading the word. Almost as well as our Karadi Bear would have spread his favourite honey over a hot and crispy piece of toast—or so we’d like to think!

For other first-timers,
Here’s what we had on hand:
Our ALA Schedule
Samples of Karadi Tales’ picture books
Karadi Tales US catalogues (Suraj, we want a couple of our India catalogues for the next time!)
Karadi Tales audiobooks’ catalogues
The Very Hungry Caterpillar—tactile (our personal favourite!) and bilingual versions
And most importantly, decorations

A Few Tips
  • Prepare for the conference in advance (2 months ahead would be a good place to start)
  • Book your tickets sooner than that if you are travelling overseas
  • Carry a journal 
  • Drink a lot of water!
  • Carry a few extra stands, markers and other things—you never know, whether you will need them or whether someone else might
  • Help and seek help—remember that not everyone knows about your work
  • Business casual ranges all the way from casual to full-on business gear—that looked as confusing as it sounds. There were canvas shoes walking the same aisle as shiny business Oxfords and stylish pumps. Checking to see what goes with your organization’s ‘look’ would be a good idea. Otherwise, just wear what you think fits the bill, and rock it!

Contributors: Aditi Chandrasekhar and Roopa Suresh

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Welcome, Suraj!

Join us in welcoming our new editor. 

Suraj J. Menon is an editor who was born and raised in Bangalore. Having dabbled in several fields over the years, he found his true calling when a child asked him to narrate a story. He can smell good food, bad grammar and fine stories from miles away. He loves children’s books, cassettes, colours, films and the rain. He also has a very low standard of humour and loves to laugh at everything.

We wish you the very best, Suraj!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Fox and the Crow - Book Launch

The Fox and the Crow was launched at the Jaipur Lit Fest today. There was a panel discussion with the author, Manasi Subramaniam our publishing director, Shobha Viswanath, and editor and publisher, Sayoni Basu. Here are some pictures from the event.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Karadi Tales at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Our widely acclaimed title - The Fox and the Crow - will be launched as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 23. If you are attending the festival, do not miss out on this session.