Anuradha Varma

Varma is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee

Articles By Anuradha Varma

This potter’s pet pig is the star of his debut children’s book

In Rohit Kulkarni’s The Pottering Pig, Lalita, the naughty pet pig of potter Mini Singh is always in trouble. Is she just being pig-headed? We spoke to the author about the book and his chilled out, good-natured pet, who he believes is far more intelligent than any dog.

‘In a tech world, the Gita can help kids navigate the journey of life’

"In today’s world, kids are bombarded constantly by the technological advances we have made. Our main character Dev uses meditation to master himself, which in turn enables him to defeat the various characters and challenges that he faces in our adventure story."

‘Taking kids to a temple, church or mosque shows them how all religions are equal’

History and travel are two great teachers.  History tells us about who we are and where we come from. It teaches us lessons and inspires us. And what could be a better way to learn about our heritage than travelling to these wonderful monuments? It’s so much more interesting for children to be able to see, smell and get a sense of a place by visiting it, rather than just reading about it. It’s fun and learning happens only when children are having fun.

‘Parents can spend Rs 200 on a cup of coffee, but hesitate when buying a children’s book’

If we look at the entire population, an average child under eight in the UK has six books outside of his/her school books. In India, understandably because of poverty, illiteracy etc, the figure would be lower. But can you believe it is less than one book per 100 children? We have a long way to go.

Puu, a children’s book on manual scavenging, was born of ‘anger’

"The reason we used flowers is because the Tamil word Puu (meaning flowers) sounds a lot like an English word that means something completely different. It was the perfect metaphor."

‘Storytelling is about passing on our imagination to children’

"I strongly feel that our values and cultural heritage are passed from one generation to another through stories."

‘Ninja Nani is about back-flipping grandmas and clueless parents’

"We do often tend to forget that our seniors were once pesky children, unruly teenagers, and conflicted young adults too."

Meet blogger Deenaz Raisinghani, the Backpacking Mama

Varma is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee

Children’s book Miss Laya’s Fantastic Motorbike started as a phone story

In small towns in India, we still see many women commuting on cycles and mopeds. Chandra, the character in Miss Laya's Fantastic Motorbike Does Not Like Fruits is based on a single mother who is a farmer, and rides a moped.

Transgender author Vivek Shraya: Allow kids to be gender creative

"I think children’s books are definitely an entry point into having a conversation with children about gender and difference more broadly."

International Literacy Day: Give kids happiness homework, says Andy Cope

"If your child is enjoying school, please tell their teacher. A simple, ‘Thanks for doing such a terrific job,’ will make their day."

Janmashtami 2018: ‘Krishna is real, wholesome and lovable’

"Which modern tale can boast characters of the stature of mythological ones—the gods incarnate, the mighty kings, the learned sages, and the fearsome demons?"

‘Why don’t we gift kitchen sets to boys or cricket sets to girls?’

"When my son was about two years old, his favourite colours were pink and blue. Soon after he started play school, he came home and declared that he no longer wanted to use anything pink since it was a 'girl' colour."

Ahimsa is a tool for children to change the world: Supriya Kelkar

"I want young readers to question who is being included in narratives and who is being marginalised. And I want them to know they have a very powerful tool within them that they can use any time to change the world: Ahimsa."

Aparna Jain: It’s fine to talk about gender and violence with kids

If you believe you are someone who is inclusive, you make LGBTQIA stories part of a child’s normal. You can start as early as you want. Why not? Isn’t it the new normal? Shouldn’t it be?

Mom blogger Lakshmi Iyer on adopting and raising white twins

US-based blogger Lakshmi Iyer talks about being an adoptive mother to white twins, alongside her own biological child, and how the family deals with issue of race.

Income tax refund: It’s a slow, agonising process

The current government’s penchant for everything shiny and new, such as the Rs. 2000 currency notes is a nightmare when it comes to accessing your IT refund.

Sridevi: Get past the gossip, celebrate the magic

As we mourn the passing of Sridevi and celebrate her life by rewinding to songs like Hawa Hawai while in office, listening to other hits on the radio on the commute to work, there’s also the tantalising lure of gossip.

10 things Indians find weird about Hollywood movies

Hollywood, how many times are you going to blow up Los Angeles? Every time there’s an alien invasion or a threat from the skies, whether it’s Skyline, Independence Day or Alien, it’s usually Los Angeles.

Ryan murder case: It’s time to teach kids empathy

Kids need nurturing, a feeling of connectedness and a safe zone where they can discuss their problems and, most importantly, feelings. But, for that, one needs to put away the mobile phone and learn to talk emotions with a child.