I’ve been meaning to write a post about Anushka Ravishankar ever since I started this blog.
Anushka Ravishankar has a truly original voice. She is one of India’s most successful writers for children with a swag of books to her name. Her books are widely available in Europe and America but, irritatingly, are still not easy to find here in Australia. I brought home half a dozen of her picture books as presents for young relatives but had a hard time parting with some of them as I liked them so much myself. Ravishankar’s use of language is sparkling and full of rhythm and bounce. There is so much fun and good humour in her books you can see why she’s been dubbed the ‘Dr Seuss of India’.
‘To Market, To Market’ and ‘Excuse me, is this India?’ are two of my favourites. They’re published by a very innovative Indian publisher called Tara Books. Web images can’t do justice to the richness of the illustrations. Again, Tara Books aren’t distributed in Australia (at the moment) but if you are in India and want to buy some stylish gifts to bring home, ask for their books at any good bookstore or check out their website to buy from overseas. I probably sound like I’m on their payroll but one of the eye-opening things I’ve learnt in my travels is how our access to good books is often controlled by the wrong people and the wrong ideas about knowledge and art. There are so many interesting writers, artists and great thinkers from all around the world that we never hear about simply because they don’t live in England or America.
I think my favourite Ravishankar title is ‘Moin and the Monster‘, a longer work of junior fiction (published by Penguin) that kept me giggling right up to the end of the book. I hope she writes a sequel. I’d love to read an entire omnibus of stories about Moin and his monster companion. I’d love to see these books in Australian bookstores too. Maybe, if the Indian economic boom continues, someone will wake up to the importance of India and Australia sharing more than just cricket.