2019 proved to be a bountiful one for young readers as children’s books in every genre – adventure, mythology, science, and environment hit the bookshelves this year. This December, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co. Ltd (est. 1897), a Godrej group company with a presence across 14 diverse businesses collaborated with renowned children’s book author Katie Bagli to launch a fact-cum-fictional book on mangroves – ‘Many Secrets of Mangroves’. A nature lover, Katie Baglihas several published titles to her credit and is known for setting her stories among the Indian wildlife and nature. The author of the books ‘On the Wild Side’ and ‘The Zoo Around You’ spoke to EducationWorld about her latest offering.
Why are stories a good way to connect with children?
Children always want to hear stories. Once you hear a story you enjoy, you won’t forget it. I believe it is the best way to reach out to children and impart what you want to teach them.
What are your views about ‘environment’ and ‘nature’ as a genre for children’s books?
While there are books being written about our environment and nature, a lot more definitely needs to be written on it. Currently, there are many books that focus on issues like bullying, etc. that children face. However, we need to barrage children with stories on the importance of protecting our nature and the part they can play in doing so. Given that there is very little awareness about preserving our wildlife and nature even amongst most adults in the country, we need to influence young minds with the right values.
Tell us about your new book, ‘Many Secrets of Mangroves’.
This is not the first book on the Indian landscape but hardly anyone has written about mangroves and their role in our lives. ‘Many Secrets of Mangroves’ weaves facts with an interesting story of two children who along with their father sail along the Malabar coast and find themselves in an enchanting new world of mangroves. Their time there makes them aware of mangroves being ‘green forts’protecting coastal life and the various food, medicine, and fruits we get thanks to these mangroves.
As an author of children’s books, are there any dos and don’ts you keep in mind while writing?
Yes, there are a few that I follow. As a writer, I need to bring myself down to my reader’s level of imagination and thought process. Also one cannot be preachy with today’s readers however young. Thus any information that needs to be passed on has to be very discreet. In the book, I have tried to retain an interest in mangroves through fun and interactive worksheets at the end of every chapter.