• Monday, July 15, 2024

Interview with Pranav Kumar Singh, Editor of Anthology 'When Mommy was a Little Girl'


on Jan 27, 2022
When Mommy was a little girl

Pranav Kumar Singh is the Publisher of the Ponytale Books. He has edited the anthology ‘When Mommy Was a Little Girl’.  

Anthology ‘When Mommy Was a Little Girl’ captures the fifteen Mommies from different parts of India are here to tell you the stories of what they did when they were ‘little girls’ - of the fun they had, the pranks they played, their love-hate relationship with their siblings, and how they troubled their parents and much more.

 

Frontlist:  How did you get the idea to come up with the ‘When Mommy Was a Little Girl’ anthology?

Pranav: When Mommy Was a Little Girl is our tribute to the cult classic Alexander Raskin’s When Daddy Was a Little Boy. Written in 1966, Raskin’s book became an all-time favorite book for readers growing up in India. The book was about a young girl Sasha’s telling her stories of when her daddy was a little boy, as big as herself when Sasha fell ill. And, then Sasha feigned illness to listen to her Daddy’s antics when he was a ‘little boy’. Many children of yesterday still treasure their copy of When Daddy Was a Little Boy and the book evokes a lot of nostalgia among the readers.

It was while working on this book, my daughter suggested that I should publish a book about Mommies when they were ‘little girls’. The idea excited me to the core. The task was challenging but decided to give it a shot.

Frontlist: This book has the sweet contribution of 15 authors. How did you find these childhood stories of each author?

Pranav: We reached out to some authors who, we felt, could live up to writing about the theme of the book and also called for expression of interest on our social media. The response was overwhelming. We shared a framework within which the stories had to be written and the contributions that poured in convinced us that When Mommy Was a Little Girl would be read by the young and the grown-ups alike and would become a book for the family, become a conversation starter!  

We had far more number of submissions than the fifteen that finally made it to When Mommy Was a Little Girl. All contributors were given a set of guidelines: an incident from the time when they were little girls, the content should be generic, relatable to the child of today and have an universal appeal.

Unlike the Raskin book that had an author narrating incidents from his life and that of other ‘little Daddies, our anthology was designed to have multiple voices, each representing the theme of when a Mommy was a ‘little girl’. Thankfully, most of the contributors understood the theme and came back with stories that fitted well. We simply wove them together by suggesting the opening and ending of the story and asking them to call their parents as their children would call them in their mother tongue. These added to a subtle dimension for the readers.

So, in essence, When Mommy Was a Little Girl is commissioned on one part and crowd-sourced on the other. All-in-all, it was the theme that excited everyone and I guess the passion it generated resulted in what you have in hand.

 

Frontlist:  The illustrations of ‘When Mommy was a little girl’ are very evocative and irresistible. How did Abhilasha Khatri make it possible to illustrate such cute pictures that speak up to each story?

Pranav: I came across the work of Abhilasha Khatri through the recommendation of a non-publishing friend and instantly took to liking her work. I decided to use her unique talent in one of our books: the eyes of her drawings are very evocative and expressive! The fact that she had not published any black & white illustrations also added to the advantage. When contributions for When Mommy Was a Little Girl started coming in and the first round of edits had woven them into the theme, we decided it was time to get Abhilasha involved.

Since, When Mommy Was a Little Girl had multiple voices, the visual representation of the stories had to give a unified look through the book.

Our brief to Abhilasha was simple: focus on the little Mommy; the dominant element from the incident of the story; keep the diversity alive; and unite the ‘little Mommies’ though the expressions, especially of their eyes. And, what has emerged is an absolute delight, be it in terms of the cover or the inside illustrations (in monochrome) of each of the stories of When Mommy Was a Little Girl. You have to see it and we feel you’ll love them. The blend has been perfect and illustrations simply add to the ‘wow’ factor of the book.

 

Frontlist: How was your experience working with the authors?

Pranav: This title without have been possible without the contributors! Working with all the contributors of When Mommy Was a Little Girl was a very fulfilling experience. I think the theme of the book was such that it has excited the interest of the authors who were commissioned and those who chose to become a part of this book.

 

Frontlist: How important is it for every child to have a mother figure in their life?

Pranav: Can you think of life without Mommy?

 

Frontlist: What is the most significant thing you missed about your childhood when you see the faces of children?

Pranav: I think the context of the childhood of today is completely different from what it was in our times. I believe we were better endowed and had a more holistic context than the children of today!

 

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