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Reading for fun

chandigarh Updated: Sep 12, 2013 10:35 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

“Stories are very important for everyone, but more so for children as stories help them understand the world, its realities, vital moral values, emotions and feelings,” opines famous children’s author Anushka Ravishankar. The writer-narrator was in Amritsar on Wednesday to spend time with little children at the city’s One Up library and experience centre to share stories from some of her most appreciated books.


Despite it being a busy day for her that involved travel from her hometown Gurgaon, Anushka’s enthusiasm and gusto while communicating with children was palpable. She kept the kids enthralled with her fascinating stories that were accentuated with appropriate facial expressions and excellent communication skills. The special part about her workshop was the comfort level that Anushka shared with children, who were in turn eager to answer her questions.

It was in the early ’90s when she took to writing short stories. Anushka wanted to buy the best storybooks for her daughter, but was not satisfied with the books available in the market. So, she made an effort of penning something of her own, not just for her daughter, but also for other children. Within a short span of time, her stories bagged prizes in one of the competitions that was enough to motivate her to go on writing.

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(Anushka Ravishankar surrounded by children at Amritsar’s One Up library on Wednesday.
Munish Byala/HT)

Finally, in 1997 Anushka’s first book, titled Tiger on a Tree came out, which was published by Tara Books. Today, she is credited for having authored more than 25 books with captivating pictures and illustrations. Many of her books have also been translated to various international languages such as German, French and Italian and hence attained worldwide fame.

Last year, Anushka added another feather to her cap with the launch of her publishing house called Duckbill Books, which operates out of Gurgaon and where she acts in the capacity of the director.

The writer, who says her love for reading has been a constant, offers an advice to those who wish to take up writing. “I read a lot and I am always aware of what’s happening around me wherever I am or wherever I go. This attitude helps me imagine new stories, develop new characters and backgrounds and this must be followed by anyone who wants to adopt my path,” she says, adding that she gets in the shoes of children when writing for them.

However, Anushka is of the opinion that the children’s book industry needs more innovative writers, more stories and more characters. On pointing out that in the present competitive age, parents usually pressurise their children to excel academically and pursue beaten paths such as medicine or engineering, Anishka said, “Pressuring children for anything is very negative for their development.

Let them become what they want as every child is special in one way or the other. Celebration of Children’s Day is meaningful only if we don’t pressurise them and allow them to pursue their talent and passion,” she stressed.

“Never disconnect your children from the world of stories, for stories play a vital role in each child’s life,” Anushka said before signing off.