Talking about how to use chapter books to encourage reading. A list of my favourite funny books and the three ‘diverse ‘ books that every library must have.
Chatting about how I started writing, whether books for children should touch upon the harsh realities of life and the marketing of children’s books.
“One of the best times I had was with the children in a school in Chennai. They had made me a bottle of ‘Wondergro Supersonic Hair Tonic.” (from my book Mystery of The Secret Hair-Oil Formula) and drawn a picture of the formula from the book. Seeing how delighted I was, they felt it was wise to caution me not to actually use the hair oil because it was made from food colouring. That was really memorable.”
“Asha Nehemiah has lived, studied and worked in 8 different cities and small towns including one where the postman delivered letters which had nothing more than the person’s name on the envelope!”
“Asha Nehemiah is some kind of a magician. She has written so many books for children across so many age groups, that its difficult to slot her into a children’s book author or a tween book author or a young adults book author. She writes with a kind of flair which reminds you of so many things you have read in your childhood and yet with a kind of freshness which makes you want to change the pages of the books quickly.”
Asha always keeps a notepad handy to scribble down any idea that might catch her fancy. “I get ideas from everywhere — while travelling, conversing with interesting people or overhearing snatches of conversation, which often leads to a story emerging naturally.”
VM: I absolutely love the crazy concoctions that you have dreamed up from Aunt Malu’s workshop and would personally love a can of each of those magical paints. Who needs TV and surround sound when they can just opt for these paints! Did your love of baking contribute to the most exotic ingredients that go into making Aunt Malu’s herbal products?
AN: Psst, I do have a secret stash of some of these concoctions and if you’re up to some adventure, I could share a bottle or two with you! Ha, ha. More seriously, I do love the idea of putting strange things together with unexpected results. I also love the idea of mundane commonplace things behaving in bizarre and surprising ways. Yes, I love baking but have yet to include some of the exotic ingredients Aunt Malu uses like: pineapple prickles and whispery onions skins.
Talking about encouraging children to read.
“Children today have many more options for entertainment than ever before: TV, movies, internet, games, apps! So if I want a child to read my book, it had better be as entertaining as any of her other choices – ideally it should offer a child something more satisfying.”
“Meet Asha Nehemiah. This popular Bangalore based writer is the author of a melange of wacky, quirky, and hilarious stories for elementary and middle school children.”