Criticspace: First and foremost, I would like to extend my congratulations to you for publication of “In Search Of a New Home In Space” How have the readers responded to the book so far?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: The response has been great. Getting very good feedback from the parents and children. Happy about it.
Criticspace: Would it be fair to call “In Search Of a New Home in Space” the next step in the development of children’s literature?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: “In search of a New Home in Space” not only conveys a great message, but also helps children learn unique aspects of all the planets in the solar system through a fun-filled story narrative. This book helps them learn new vocabulary and easily transfers them into the world of fantasy. Hence, I definitely believe that this book would surely contribute towards the development of children’s literature in a positive way.
Criticspace: At present, very little is being written in the genre of children’s literature? What could be the probable reason for that?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: As adults it takes a lot of insight to understand the perspectives of a child’s mind i.e., their interests, likes, dislikes which does require considerable amount of homework. This could be one of the reasons.
Criticspace: How was the journey of writing “In Search Of a New Home in Space”? Did you talk to any kids and tell them the story you had in mind before penning it down?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: Oh Yes!! “In search of a new home in space” just emerged one night during regular narration of bedtime stories. My son enjoyed it a lot. Later I had a chance to also narrate it to my niece (6 yrs. old) and nephew (4 yrs. old) and all the three liked it so much that they regularly demanded me to narrate it. That is when I thought of writing my debut children story book – Eureka moment. At each and every step, I mandatory took my son’s approval to finalize the illustrations and the content of the book. I believe that it is definitely the best part of this entire process for both of us.
Criticspace: If you have read any children’s writing of present-day, what would you say about it?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: As with any other field, I definitely feel that children’s literature has also changed with time. Many story books written during present-day not only are educative, but also provide children the pleasure of reading them.
Criticspace: As per your experience in writing “In Search Of a New Home in Space”, what could be the other possible themes on which books for children can be written?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: In this book, I have tried keeping the theme around aliens, space and family….all of which are pretty close to a child’s heart. Other themes could be on friends, their regular day to day activities, animals, forests…the list is endless…
Criticspace: Your writing has given a solid introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect a work of fiction from you in the future? Or more of children’s books? Please share about your future projects.
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: I am happy that I was able to have a good review for my debut children’s book. I would definitely want to publish more children’s book, mostly under the category of fiction, as it would give me immense satisfaction. Currently, I am still at an initial stage of my future project which would be based on the theme of “forest and its importance”.
Criticspace: Have you enjoyed reading any children’s writers in your childhood? Did their work inspire you to write?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: To be very frank my exposure to children’s story book started only after my son was born. But the experience was great and hence got hooked to it. To mention a few, Eric Carle’s “ A very Hungry Caterpillar”, story books from “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom”, Helen Stephen’s “How to hide a Lion” are definitely the top in the list of the books that have inspired me. Not only the children’s story books, but also a lot of animated movies and marvel movies have influenced me.
Criticspace: If you had to get the attention of a child to “In Search Of a New Home in Space” without showing the book or the cover, what details would you give?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: I would introduce them to the book saying that “It is a book of fantasy in space with a friendly alien taking you on a fun-filled journey”
Criticspace: Do you think conversion of everything into cartoon form is a good idea keeping in mind the cognitive development of the young ones?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: I feel that it depends on the age group to which the book caters to. The cognitive development of children changes pretty fast year by year and hence it becomes very important to strike a proper balance between the illustrations and the content of the book, if we are targeting a wide age group
Criticspace: How easy or difficult was it for you to keep the content short and focused when so much more could be written about the solar system?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: I did decide on the category of the age group who would be happy to read my book at the beginning. This was constantly there in my mind when I wrote the content or created the illustrations for the book. “In search of a New Home in Space” would be well suited for children between 3 yrs. to 9 yrs. While the younger ones could be narrated the story and introduced to the concepts by the elder ones in the family, the older ones would enjoy reading it by themselves.
Criticspace: On the basis of your experience of writing “In Search Of a New Home in Space,” what advice would you like to give the writers who intend to try their hand in this genre?
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: I would say that the key to writing a children’s book would be to be a child by heart.
Criticspace: I thank you very much for giving your time and answering the questions. I hope that there will be a lot coming from your pen in the future. All the best.
Dr. Smitha Chandrashekarappa: Thank you very much. Happy to be a part of it.