Parenting isn’t easy! Of the many challenges that it presents, one of the most critical one is teaching children good values and morals without being too preachy. Himadri Jain, a debutant author of children’s picture books, aims to make this easy for parents through creative storytelling of her books. Her authorial debut was announced by Swara Bhaskar and Lisa Ray to their respective Instagram communities. In a talk with Storiyaan, Himadri tells us about the joy of books, perils of parenting and what inspired her to write.
Questions and answers
Reading plays an important role in one’s life. How do you think parents can inculcate the habit of reading in their children?
Parents must walk the talk and have a reading routine of their own before they sermon their children. If children see their parents reading for joy and entertainment, it will encourage them to explore the world of books. Reading should not always have an outcome like learning. It should be treated like a hobby which is perused for leisure. Making reading a part of the bedtime routine, is a great way to get started. Catch them young and read to children every day. This will surely get them hooked to reading for life.
Children are easily distracted, it is difficult to grasp their attention. According to you, what is the ideal way to hold a child’s attention and make them learn in an interesting way?
First of all, as parents we must all embrace the fact that children and adults alike are prone to distractions. Focus is a skill which is acquired over time through constant practice. When we ask our children to focus, there is a big possibility that they don’t really know what it means.
When I want my son to focus, I ask him to imagine that everything is dark and he has a magic light helmet on his head which illuminates only the task at hand. This helps his visualise the concept of focus. As new age parents, we have to be constantly creative and intwine learning into our children’s everyday play and activities.
Your book is a story of three friends - Sea, Pen, and Pob. What values are you trying to pass onto to children with your story?
My first book, Pob’s Furoblem is centered around the idea of sharing and thoughtfulness. Sea, Pen and Pob are three best friends and often are unable to spend time with each other because of Pob’s thick fur. The story explores how Sea and Pen think of a way to solve this problem and hence make more time for each other.
What kind of techniques and elements have you used to make your book memorable for young reader?
Pob’s Furoblem is a picture book, so there is a lot of emphasis on the visual aspect of the book. The illustrations are colourful and detailed and are meant to intrigue young readers. The narrative is a fun and easy rhyme which children love to read over and over again.
Parenting can be very exhaustive at times and parents need a break as well. How do you think they can do so without feeling guilty about neglecting their children?
I think the sense of taking a break comes because we view parenting as a job and responsibility. If, however we alter our perception and instead treat it as a source of inspiration, the need to escape will vanish. Every moment that I spend with my son, I consciously remind myself that this is a privilege and not just my responsibility. Being mindful about the fact that I have chosen this for myself, brings me a deeper sense of purpose and endearment. Escapism, escapes me then J
The title of your book is ‘Pob’s Furoblem’. What does it exactly mean and what is the book about?
It’s a play on words! ‘Problem’ has been changed to ‘Fur-oblem’ as the book is about the problem that Pob’s fur causes. Pob is a polar bear with a thick mane and a rather small hairdryer. It takes him too long to dry out his fur and this eats into his playtime with his best friends – Pen (a Galapagos penguin) and Sea (A Harper seal). How the characters get creative and solve this problem is what the book is all about.
Can you describe the characters of your book? Are they inspired by people in real life or are they a figment of your imagination?
It’s a mix of both. The inspiration comes from my childhood gang of three. Neha, Priti and me have been besties for 25 years, give or take. The characters Sea, Pen & Pob are really us and their stories are our stories. Pob is the wise one just like Neha, Sea is the “These are my peeps”, Priti and Pen of course is the super enthusiastic, short in stature, me.