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லியா? அது நீயா? – New Singapore-authored Tamil Picture Book!

If there are children in your life, you’re sure to have experienced the exasperation that revolves around getting them ready. Somewhere between the ages of 2-4, children start developing a strong sense of self, which includes what they want to wear with little care for social norms. This is superduper for their development (really, it is!) – but as adults, some of us can really struggle to let loose and let be!

 

Librarian at NLB and mother to a 5 year old, Eunice Anthonyraj, took her exasperation and turned it into inspiration – she’s written us a storybook about this, in Tamil! YAY! EliPuli has a quick chat with her. Read on!

 

 

What is the story about and what did you want to convey?

 

The story behind லியா? அது நீயா? is simple and short and targetted at preschoolers. It’s what many parents face – getting children to dress up in what adults consider to be fashionable and matching. This is also my personal struggle with my 5 year old as we regularly disagree on the clothes and accessories she wears. Some of the combinations she chooses are a little too colourful for me and do not match.

 

But in fact, children won’t be children for long and it doesn’t matter what little kids wear. Kids won’t be judged and parents don’t really need to worry much about whether their clothes match. There also isn’t a need to stress over wearing fancy or branded expensive clothes. We need to let children be children and of course, for children to be able to express themselves through their own choices.

 

Another thought I had while writing this is that some parents now dress their children in clothes that are beyond their maturity level. We need to weigh whether this is a good thing as it is important for children to enjoy the phase of innocence and childishness when they are young.

 

 

Was there a particular incident between you and your daughter that made you want to write this story?

 

Hahaha! In fact, this happens quite regularly in my home. Now that she is growing up, she likes to make decisions about her clothes, her hairstyle, and so forth.

 

 

I’m sure there are other parents who feel like they have stories to share. What words of advice do you have for them? Was it simple working with your publisher? 

 

Sometimes it’s good to pen down thoughts or incidents that happen in your everyday lives. They make good stories 🙂 And yes! Working with my publisher, Crimson Earth, was straightforward and simple. Thank you, Vijay! My appreciation also to Mr Arun Mahizhnan for his encouragement and Dr Seetha Lakshmi who helped overlook the manuscript, and to NLB for supporting me through this journey.

 

 

What did your daughter say when she read the book?

 

She could relate to the story very well and above that she was really excited and happy that it had her name on it!

 

 

Where can readers buy or borrow the book from?

 

The book will be available in the libraries soon and is distributed by Crimson Earth Pte Ltd. It will be available for sale at www.vidya.sg.

 

 

As a librarian, what are your thoughts on the state of Tamil children’s stories today?

 

The publishing output of Tamil children’s books is still low and it will be great to have more people coming forth to write children’s books. It will also be wonderful to have more books with localised flavours so that our children can relate to them.

 

 

 

Thank you, Eunice, and congratulations on your debut picture book. We look forward to more writing from you!

Have you read the book? Tell us your feedback in the comments!

 

 

 

All images used with permission from Eunice.

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