I remember donning the hat of Jim Corbett whenever I entered a bookshop. Why you may ask? For it took hours to hunt for creative, illustrated and reader-friendly publications for my daughters much like the famous hunter searching for the man-eating tigers in the Kumaon region. In fact, finding ones launched recently by Mama Suranya Books has always been quite a task. The “why” comes back again? Because not only is the series neatly illustrated and colourful as also multilingual, it aims to connect kids with Indian art and culture.
The stories and drawings in Mama Suranya Books are inspired by India’s iconic trees, birds and animals, its festivals, legends and arts; and the stuff of everyday life in the author’s city of Delhi, like the long, hot summer, the joy of the monsoon, and every North Indian’s love of mangoes. The specialty of the books lies in their artwork, inspired by different Indian folk and classical arts with elements of contemporary cartoon styles. The idea is for the drawings to feel familiar to the kids while at the same time giving them a sense of Indian art.
The idea to start Mama Suranya Books struck the author, Suranya Aiyar, a mother-of-two, while reading books to her kids. With the idea of educating children further in Indian art, Mama Suranya Books takes out folk art colouring books with drawings by practicing master craftsmen. The colouring books currently out are on Rajasthani Phad art with Madhubani colouring books in the pipeline.
“As you will have gathered, Mama Suranya Books is not just about books. We are trying to awaken Indian children to the wonders of India’s arts, legends, music and dance. We believe that the culture of this land is an Indian child’s greatest inheritance and as life changes we have to think of new ways of keeping our children connected with India’s arts and oral traditions,” says Suranya, adding that through these books, storytelling performances, videos and social media projects, Mama Suranya Books is trying to re-introduce some of the things that books and modern education are perhaps leaving out of children’s lives and indeed, all our lives.”
As of now, the books are available in Hindi and English but the publishers plan to roll out translations in other Indian languages as well. They also use digital technology such as the soon-to-be-launched ‘Play Art’ app with folk art-based finger painting activities, an online library of Indian artwork curated specially to appeal to young kids and theatrical presentations that combine their stories with performances by classical dancers, mime artists, puppeteers and Dastangoi to give kids a multifaceted experience of different Indian art forms.
So, my “hunting” seems to have taken a backseat for the time being, with Mama Suranya Books in the shelves. If you too do not want to play the hunter and the hunted in a bookshop, logon to https://mamasuranyabooks.in and get your little angels a treasure today.