Exclusive look into the author session with Richa Jha!
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- Shreya Upadhyay
- May 18, 2022
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Being a part of the GetLitt! Student Editorial Council has been an exhilarating and exciting experience so far. We have all learnt so much over the course of these 5 weeks and have got to explore the world of literature and content creation firsthand. When I first learnt about the program, one of the most exciting aspects that stuck out to me right away was the opportunity to meet published authors and illustrators. So, it came as no surprise that our first author session with Richa Jha surpassed all our expectations!
Richa Jha, is a children’s author whose picture books have won many awards. She is also the founder and publisher of Pickle Yolk Books. This is why she was going to help us all dive into the world of picture books.
One would think that creating a picture book is the simplest thing in the world, they have minimal text and simple storylines. I had the same opinion. I had never really given much thought to picture books, even though I have been exposed to them since before I could even talk. Picture books were the foundation for my love of reading and writing, and the author session gave me a completely different perspective and a newfound appreciation for them.
Richa Jha’s session was the last part of GSEC’s third week module, which was all about long form reviews. When the day finally came, we all read a few of her books, everything flowed so effortlessly that it seemed like such a simple and straightforward thing to write. On meeting her, she immediately began her presentation with over a 100 slides! Ms Jha dissected several picture books, explaining (and fawning over) the writing, stylistic choices and illustrations. It was very enlightening and enjoyable to hear everything she had to say about every little detail in her favourite books. Then, she gave us a few tips for writing and reviewing a picture book.. It was very inspiring to see her passion for picture books. It opened our eyes to this different category of literature that I, for one, did not know much about at all.
Thanks to the session I personally, realised that picture books are a delicate balance of pictures and text. A good picture book has very few words in order to maintain simplicity and to make the illustrations shine. The drawings are meant to be the medium through which the setting, characters’ emotions, actions and even thoughts are conveyed. This makes it essential to have clear and expressive illustrations. My main takeaways were that the characters in the illustrations should be the primary focus. Your eyes should be drawn to them immediately. Through those images, you should understand their emotions, thoughts and actions. One of the most fascinating parts was learning about how the words used are so deliberate. Their only purpose is to supplement the pictures.
Once you start looking at picture books through this lens, you’ll find magic in every picture and word. They tell such insightful stories and share important messages, all through simple drawings. Ms Jha explained how picture books aren’t just for children, and after learning about the process behind them and reading so many to review for GSEC, I completely agree. The beauty of picture books lies in their ability to talk about complex issues in a way that kids understand and adults can appreciate too.
I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to pick up a picture book and read between the lines to see the importance of each page and if you don’t want to spend your time obsessively dissecting every page of the book, simply read it and appreciate the story and pretty pictures.
I’d like to share a few of my favourite picture books on GetLitt!, scroll down and click the image of the book cover to read it now!
Red, by Sagar Kolwankar
The Poop Book, by Sujatha Padmanabhan & Tejaswini Apte Rahm
The Weightlifting Princess, By Sowmya Rajendran
Manu Mixes Clay and Sunshine, by Bulbul Sharma
Ammu and the Sparrows, by Vinitha R
You can read all this picture books and over 800+ more on GetLitt! today. Head to www.getlitt.co/library to explore all these lovely stories.
Read: 10 Young Adult Books That Are So Good, You Have To Read them Again!
Read more: 10 Indian Picture Books for Kids 4 and Under
I’m Shreya Upadhyay, a student in the ninth grade. When I’m not studying, my hobbies include reading, writing, and crocheting. I’m the kind of person who can read anything, fiction or nonfiction. I love fantasy novels like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Lunar Chronicles. I also enjoy writing poetry and experimenting with different forms of poetry and writing. I love to learn new things and when I decide to do something, I will not stop till I get it done. Earlier this year, I decided to learn how to crochet. After following a few Youtube tutorials, I really got into it and now I always have a project to work on. I also like to play the piano and basketball. I love cats and dogs as well :) Shreya Upadhyay is part of the GetLitt! Editorial Student Council, a 10-week, literary initiative aimed at getting students actively involved in reading, writing, and editing.