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2023 You've Been Swell

Ever since I began sharing my work on social media and on my blog, the world opened out for me. 

It was something that I didn’t expect. Its like the old maxim,

Give to the world and the world will give back to you. 

There was a whole lot of new opportunities that came my way. Which meant a whole lot of sharing and a whole lot of learning. 

It was a year peppered with a whole lot of travel, both on the personal front as well as professionally.

There were two big projects that I worked on over a few months each.

One was a huge library curation project of a 1000 books. While I’ve worked on library curation regularly, this one was a huge requirement and very specific. The school sent me themes and guidelines with regard to curriculum connections, themes they were working on, genres and more. Each day I could add after much research just 10 or 12 books to the list. Some days even less. I needed to ensure that they were appropriate in content, reading level and suited the theme. Checking availability in India, ISBN and other nitty-gritties, added curveballs that I didn’t expect.

I learnt that I love researching, reading and finding books for the requirements that schools send me. I love the challenge of being able to actually curate each and every one of the books on the list…I think I found myself a superpower. 

It was hard work, mind bogglingly, eyes-burningly, heart-soaring-proudly so!

My second huge project was very new to me. It involved the curation of stories, writers and tellers for a storytelling app. 

Sure I have my own little bank of favourite stories which I love to narrate orally, but this project again was very specific. Required loads of reading, books as well as online resources. I found a team of writers to rewrite and narrators who could record these stories. 

I was thrilled with the connections made as I worked on it, the response once it was handed in and the fact that I’d worked on something completely new and interesting for me. 

Always grateful for the work I am privileged to do, with my schools, Abacus Montessori and Redwood Montessori. I’ve realised that it brings me deep contentment and satisfaction. Over 20 years of storytelling, 15 of those within a school setting.

I've realised that my hands-on work with children from grades 2-12, all through the school year, gives me valuable insights into how children and teachers respond to books and stories.

It is this experience that I take to my workshops with teachers, librarians and parents, my curated book lists. I love these opportunities to share my learnings from over the years.

I’ve been thrilled with the response from schools who have been more open to my style of storytelling workshops for children….a longer 1.5 hour session, meant for children of grade 4/5 and upwards.

I’ve long held that the magic in stories extend beyond the telling, and in the response.

My themed creative sessions bring me joy when I see the deep, thoughtful, imaginative response of the children, many of who I’m interacting with for the first time.

In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct professional development workshops for Liferarians, Green Literature Festival and a few schools around the country, working with state board, CBSE, ICSE and IGCSE teachers.

Be part of panel discussions for the Parag Honour List present at a Children’s Literature conference, and more.

On social media, without a doubt, my most responsive post was to my criticism of the book review culture in Indian kid lit...I’ve ruffled some feathers, but I’ve earned plenty of respect and even friendships. 9 months later, the conversation is still buzzing...and I know that we all care about how our little kidlit industry is shaping up.

But more than anything it’s the wonderful interactions and friendships I’ve made through @mythaunty on Instagram and through this blog.

Thank you to all of you who have been following me me over the years and to those who have only just begun...I hope that my posts echo with you in some way.

I love my little community of bookish many of you I turn to for advice,

some of you reach out to me ..we share, we learn....

To more connection, learning and sharing in 2024

Thank you’ve been a swell one!

I'm going into 2024 with an exciting project on the anvil. I'll be working with someone else on a project that I've been toying with for a while, an idea that I'm deeply passionate about. I see it taking me through 2024 and into 2025.

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