Thursday, January 8, 2015

Guest Post by Arundhati Venkatesh

Guest Post by Arundhati Venkatesh

Arundhati Venkatesh is a children's writer, with four books published in 2014 - Junior Kumbhakarna, Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief, Petu Pumpkin Tooth Troubles and Bookasura.
You can write to her at and find out more about her at

I discovered the magical world of picture books with my 2-month-old baby in one of London’s public libraries. Oh what joy! There were so many wonderful books to choose from. This was a world I did not want to leave, ever.

So it was with much trepidation that I picked up a few chapter books when the child turned five. I didn’t think he would be reading them for years though. Well, what do you know? The kid read them in a few months and seemed pretty excited that he had graduated to reading “big books”. It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but I dutifully began scouting for more reading choices. The first few to be enjoyed were Michael Morpurgo’s Mudpuddle Farm, the animal series by Dick King-Smith, Louis Sachar's Marvin Redpost series, books for the younger lot by Anne Fine and Roald Dahl. These were all under 70 pages with large fonts. Most were illustrated and worked perfectly to ease the transition from picture books.

Closer home, there were none of these early chapter books available then*. So the first chapter book by an Indian author that he read was meant for kids much older than five - Moin and the Monster by Anushka Ravishankar. I wasn’t sure he’d get through the hundred-odd pages, but he did and loved it too! Every now and then, he’d come to me giggling, to share bits that he found funny.

Every time I heard his joyous laughter, I’d know he was reading the book again. It remained on the top spot for several months.

Copies were bought and gifted to friends. I’m yet to meet a child who hasn’t loved it. The sequel, Moin the Monster Songster, was read and enjoyed too.

I’d bonded with my baby over picture books. I didn’t think chapter books (or for that matter, anything) could replace them. For one, they were too long. But I realised I was wrong. I enjoyed the banana-gobbling rule-inventing nonsense-singing monster’s antics, and I cherished the conversations with my enthusiastic young reader.

My journey with chapter books had begun. Over the next few years, I read hundreds of them and went on to write a few of my own too!

·         Petu Pumpkin: Tooth Troubles is being launched at a gala event on 10th January at Atta Galatta, Koramangala, Bangalore.
·         Bookasura – The Adventures of Bala and the Book-eating Monster should be in stores next month.

(*The Duckbill hOle books filled this gap in Indian children’s books. They’re short reads with fun themes and delightful illustrations – perfect for beginner readers. The Petu Pumpkin books are part of the hOle series.)


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  2. Thank you Arundhati for taking us through your journey into the world of children's literature. I can so relate to your love affair with picture books transitioning into chapter books.....I am in that transition phase now. To a great extent Duck Bills hole books ( including two of yours) spearheaded that transition in my little one!! Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts on Onestoryaday!!

  3. My pleasure, Divya. Happy to hear that Petu Pumpkin and the hOle books ensured a smooth passage at your home.