We were talking about doing chapter books for children who were beginning to read by themselves, when Meera tentatively sent us a story she had written, about a little girl called Maya.
We were completely floored by Meera’s writing. It’s rare to find a writer who gets the register so perfectly right, when writing for little children. Not a hint of patronizing, no writing down, and it read like it was written from inside the child’s head. So we did an Oliver Twist, and Meera wrote two more equally charming and delightful stories about the feisty little Maya, which went into the book. This is Meera’s first book for children, but we hope this is just the beginning, because like Oliver Twist, again, we want more!
Priya is one of the most exciting illustrators for children’s books in India today. Her style is distinctive and child-friendly. Her characters always make me smile. She’s brought Meera’s lovely text alive and added so much joy to the book!
Maya is utterly delightful—the person and the book. Meera has captured the nuances of a small person’s point of view and way of thinking so perfectly! Maya is a sharp and resourceful, and her world view is hilarious. Her dilemmas are serious ones, from her perspective, and the way she resolves them is delightful.
When we had thought of the chapter books, this was exactly the kind of book we had imagined—funny, adventurous, with a range of action which was age-appropriate, and a style which took the reader seriously, without any hint of looking down at the child.
We do hope there will be more Maya stories! She is a girl we want to know more about.
Priya Kuriyan is one of the stars of Indian children’s book illustrations. Her depictions of Maya and her sister, and the lovely way in which illustrations talk to the hOle are amazing. Especially delightful are the puppies, guaranteed to increase the ‘oooh’ factor in the book for small readers and their parents.