Children need to invest their energy in what they like
Says Lavanya Karthik, author and illustrator of popular children’s books like ‘Ninja Nani’, Mad Mummy Mix Up and ‘The Lion’s Feast’ amongst others…
When Lavanya Karthik decided to bid adieu to her high profile corporate job after 15 years, a creative world was beckoning her.
A Mumbai-based writer-illustrator of children's books and chapters and comics, she says writing and drawing were her first passion and getting back to the well-nurtured art turned out to be a natural choice for her.
An architect, who completed her Masters in Environmental Planning, Lavanya worked as an environmental consultant in a private firm at Mumbai.
However, she has been into full-time writing and illustrating for the past eight years. When she was eight-year-old, her first work was published in Children's World magazine.
A couple of years later, she also bagged a gold medal in an international writing contest for the story she presented. Apparently, writing became an integral part of her life ever since.
When she came to the Visakhapatnam to present a session at the second edition of the Vizag Junior Literary Fest, she insisted that parents should allow children to invest their energy in what they like.
"As parents, we need to change the way we expect our children to aim for a cookie-cutter line of work. Because by the time you come out of the school, over a dozen years have already been spent.
Getting clarity on what you want to do next plays an imperative role for the rest of your life. Children should be given freedom and space to figure out what connects them well as the career they choose should be passion-driven," she emphasises.
For aspiring writers, the writer-illustrator says that opportunities are galore and suggests them to work hard and follow their own style.
"The creative world is extremely rewarding and satisfying in its own way. One should consider the process of writing, a pleasure.
Also, it is important to write what pleases you rather than what impresses others. When your work pleases you, it eventually stands out," avers the 47-year-old writer.
Lavanya feels that books are the best way to deliver a message. Most of her books are laced with humour, highlighting issues on breaking stereotypes, focusing on inclusiveness, and so on.
She has also bagged Children First Award for 'Neel on Wheels' and Children's Choice Awards at Peek a Book Festival of Children's Literature for her works 'Ninja Nani' and 'Mad Mummy Mix Up'.
After publishing 14 children's books and a bunch of chapter books, Lavanya says that a couple of projects are in the pipeline next year.
About challenges faced as a writer, Lavanya says that getting the publisher for the books is one of the main challenges to overcome with.
However, in the present scenario, she finds a lot of opportunities both for writers as well as illustrators. "Thanks to the digital media, it helps us connect with the remote audience to improve our reach," she adds.
She emphasizes setting up more libraries to nudge children to pick up a reading habit. "Given the high rentals and space constraint in Mumbai, alternative arrangements should be made in schools to ensure 'library class' goes beyond weekly once regimen as it paves the way for exploring the creative world," Lavanya suggests.
Drawn by the beauty of Visakhapatnam, Lavanya finds the city's beaches much cleaner and beautiful compared to Mumbai.