Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author of international bestseller,
Palace of Illusion
Mistress of spices
released her book
, an adventurous tale about the magical conch. Here she opens about her latest book, Shadowland and children's literature.
Do you think that literary works have a didactic purpose?
Different writers have different opinions. Some write for entertainment and some for ideas. Shadowland is an adventure in an environmentally devastated world. Each book of the brotherhood of the conch has a message. The messages must be given carefully so that the books can be enjoyed. Through Shadowland I want to blur the cultural boundaries.
Do you think that children are exploring the world of books more than ever before?
Some children books Like the Harry Potter Series are very popular, so yes. Even Internet has helped to create awareness in children. In fact, I was surprised to see so many children in the Jaipur Literary Festival. I have been visiting various schools in Jaipur and Delhi and have found that children are excited and enthusiastic to meet me and inquire about the books. In Delhi specifically I went to Vasant Valley School, Kids there asked for signed copies!!
Are fantasy and folklore a medium to instruct children?
In children there is a natural love for magic. They are close to fantasy and fairytales and so are adults. But my book Victory songs, a historical novel set in India during independence is prescribed in many schools as a text. Children want to relate themselves to realistic adventures too. Indian folklores like Mahabharata- even my book Palace of Illusion is a re telling of Mahabharata through Draupadi's point of view. In fact I am thinking of writing a story of Sita now.
Seeing the dominance of reality shows that encourage the participation of children, is it important to have fantasy series for kids?
It would be nice, but literary shows have a higher quality...something that uses imagination differently. When we see a reality show we become a passive observer but imaginative shows motivates you to think. But it is better to have children doing something else than watching TV only. Books help us to go to different times and world and values and they give a certain message. The best thing about reading is you never get bored of it.