WITH A TINT OF ROSE | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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WITH A TINT OF ROSE

She has the ability to take children to a world unknown. With just her words and rather visual hand movements, he weaves stories for children’s young minds to decipher. She is Anita Roy, who has been contributing fervently to the field of children’s literature.

chandigarh Updated: Mar 09, 2014 13:30 IST
Navleen Kaur Lakhi

She has the ability to take children to a world unknown. With just her words and rather visual hand movements, he weaves stories for children’s young minds to decipher. She is Anita Roy, who has been contributing fervently to the field of children’s literature.


Currently the senior editor of Delhi-based Zubaan — an independent, feminist publishing house — Anita heads Young Zubaan that prints publishing books for children and young adults. As she visits Chandigarh to be a part of the announcement of Chandigarh’s first Children’s Literature Fest, we end up quizzing her about the journey of Young Zubaan.

Anita, who was raised in England, moved to India 20 years ago and conceptualised Young Zubaan a decade ago. “In 2004, Young Zubaan was born, when there was a huge dearth of quality books for children. When I looked at the kind of books available in India, I discovered a lot of stereotypes, where the father is always at work and the mother is always in the kitchen. We thought that Indian kids deserved much more; children were supposed to be told that books are like ice cream, not karelas (bitter gourd),” says Anita, who worked as a senior commissioning editor at the Oxford University Press and as the editorial director at Dorling Kindersley before making Young Zubaan happen.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2014/1/Anita%20Roy_compressed.jpgTalking about how things took shape, she shares, "We held a meeting in Delhi Eight years ago, which was attended by 25 people, about what exactly needed to be done. Eventually, five major points were listed out, which included the need of a children’s literature festival and a guidebook to tell them what exactly they should read. From coming up with a book called 101 Indian Children’s Book We Love to Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival, which is in sixth year, to Jumpstart Festival for adults on children’s publishing, which is also in it’s sixth year — all these projects saw the light of the day."

In the past decade, Anita has witnessed a major change in the industry. “I have been lucky to be a part of the industry around this time. Publishers are now willing to take risks. Even writers are open to off-beat stories. Bibliodiversity is just like biodiversity — it’s healthy to grow in an environment where kids are provided with books other than Ruskin Bond and mythology.”

Coming to what characters a good children’s book should have, Anita says, “Stories should be told in a way that is appropriate for your target audience. Then, there has to be an emotional connection with the characters for a story to be engaging.”

Next on Anita’s cards is the release of her next book that revolves around a dead school.

She has the ability to take children to a world unknown. With just her words and rather visual hand movements, he weaves stories for children’s young minds to decipher. She is Anita Roy, who has been contributing fervently to the field of children’s literature.