Today I am posting an interview I did with Pooja Sardana, children’s book author and one of the creators of the PictureBookTree website. When you join Picture Book Tree, you can read any book listed on the website and you have unlimited access for a whole year for only one dollar! You can print the books out or you can read them online. There is also a page called “Magic Box” where there are coloring pages and other activities. Picture Book Tree is a great place for younger kids (Ages 4+) to read books online. You can also track what you read by organizing the books into a reading list and check which books you have already read. The site is very easy to use and young kids should be able to navigate it with a little help from Moms or Dads. The stories tell about nice characters like Benji in Mr. Might Meets His Hero (my favorite). The books have nice messages about things like how nice life is, being respectful, having good friends, and helping out. The illustrations are colorful and very nice to look at. You can even read a sample book, “I Love You Mommy” at the website (click on the book to go there)!
I read on your website that you got the idea to write books for other people because you used to make picture books for your son, Aman, and he really enjoyed them. How did you get the idea to turn it into The Picture Book Tree and the interactive website?
It is a very interesting incident how this whole thing shaped up. One day, I went out with my friend to buy some books for his son. The bookshop was filled with children books but the books were quiet expensive. With heavy heart, she could only pick two. On our way back, I thought, why not gift her my picture books? I could always make more for Aman. I came back home, wrapped the books in a beautiful gift wrap and gave it to her. Her son just loved the books even more than what she has bought for him. I was narrating this incident to my husband and he said, “Children books should not be sold in a bookstore. They should grow on a tree, where every parent and kid can climb and pick as many as they wish. Children should not be denied the joy of reading because they or their parents cannot afford it.” And that was it. With the help of my husband, we planted this seed, which has grown into PictureBookTree now. This tree wish to serve all parents and children across the globe with its fruits of love, care, and affection in the form of short and beautiful stories about caring, sharing, love, and growing up.
You write and illustrate your own books. Where do you get your ideas for the books? Do you ever start with a drawing or illustration first and then make a story out of it?
The ideas are nothing new. They are the same good things which every parent wants their kids to know, learn and experience. And like any parent I as well wanted Aman to understand the importance of giving, loving and sharing things. Respecting the nature and the world he lives in. Being sensitive towards other fellow beings, animals, and our natural resources. I did not want to preach him that this is right or wrong but my idea was to make him aware, make him enjoy loving, giving and other values and not do it for the sake of doing it, so I thought of these stories, which were a great way to make him understand the love we can spread around us.
Regarding making the books, I usually start with a story and then the illustrations follow. However, my new book, ‘How do I Look’ which is due for release this month, started with the illustrations and then parallelly I started writing the story for the same.
The option to read the books online or print them out is very nice. How many books have you written and how often are books added to The Picture Book Tree website?
There are 8 books which have been digitized and are available on The PictureBookTree. 5 more books are due for release this month and early next month. Around 15 books are in the pre-production stage right now and are planned for release by October-November. Lots of parents are writing to us and sharing the stories they use at home and tell their kids. So our tree of stories is growing and we hope by end of this year this tree will have lots of stories for parents and children.
Your books have great messages like sharing, friendship, love and just enjoying life. The illustrations are bright and detailed. What age reader are you writing your books for and what do you hope others gain from your books?
Thank you for the compliment 🙂 I am glad you liked them. Most of the books are for 4 years and above. None of the stories actually teaches you anything, it simply points at the beautiful side of the life we are blessed with, and the moment a kid looks there, the book has served its purpose. I believe the only thing we need to do with these young adults :), whom we call kids, is make them aware, make them aware of these beautiful feelings like caring, sharing, love, and friendship. That is all we need to do and then rest happens on its own as they are beautiful gentle souls and connect to love much more easily than we do.
*Thank you for letting my readers know about PictureBookTree Mrs. Sardana!*
Categories: Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading