They say a picture is worth a thousand words and nothing proves it better than children’s author Richa Jha’s picture books. She introduces worldviews like death, gender and parenting to children through her illustrations.
One of her books The Manic Panic talks about parents who are addicted to the internet. And writing the book took Richa Jha on a journey homeward. More from the our conversation below as the author was on her third trip to Vizag.
You’ve returned to Vizag after many years, what’s changed?
In terms of development everything has changed but Vizag still exudes the same kind of warmth that it did last time – on both my earlier trips – The sea is just as marvellous – the people are just as warm.
What got you into writing?
It was the kind of books I wanted to see getting written for children. If I did not see them (books) in the market then I thought okay I’ll do it myself.
Your last book – The Manic Panic touched upon parents’ internet addiction and not spending enough time with their kids, how do you balance screen time and family time at home?
I wish I did – in fact the reason I wrote the book was because I saw that problem in me. I saw that it was a genuine problem which needed to be addressed – not just for myself but a whole lot of parents who like me are facing this issue so often. Screen addiction in any form is now so real in our lives – no matter how much we want to take ourselves away from it.
So The Manic Panic was autobiographical then?
It was more on the lines of self realization way before my children started taking about it [internet addiction].
Have you written a story based on your childhood?
My first book the Susu Pals is a lot to do about how I bonded with my cousin.
How long did it take to compile The Manic Panic?
This book was in the making for the last five years.
Any future projects?
There are several projects I am working on. One is about a girl who is a voracious reader and is writing her own book and becoming a writer. There’s another which deals about migrant labours who are displaced – this is also for children. Many other stores are there in the pipeline.
You were a blogger too, if you could spare more time – would you focus on print or blogging?
Print – any day. Digital is an acquired medium for me maybe because I didn’t grow up with it compared to the children who do so now. They connect naturally with digital writing.
About the author
Richa Jha is an Indian author and a picture book enthusiast. She publishes her picture books in English under her PICKLE YOLK BOOKS imprint. Her website SNUGGLE WITH PICTURE BOOKS is the only online platform in India dedicated to picture books.