As you all know, the family has been preparing for the arrival of our 6th little bundle of joy. In the process of prepping, we have found ourselves craving a deeper outlet to teach our little ones about our South Asian culture and heritage through pictures and stories that would relate to them! In the midst of our search emerged the amazing Bharat Babies.
Bharat Babies is a company that is committed to producing developmentally appropriate children’s books that tell stories of India’s heritage and will grow with the child all the way from birth to elementary school. They are launching their very fist book, Hanuman and the Orange Sun. This tale follows Harini, a bright, young girl who is learning the story of the Hindu deity, Hanuman Dada, for the very first time. “When Hanuman Dada was a baby,” Harini’s mother tells her, “he saw the sun in the sky and, thinking it was an orange, jumped up to take a bite…” The rest of the book explores the story and takes its young readers on a journey with Harini and her mother’s tale.
Bharat Babies is in the midst of a pre-order campaign for this flagship book, Hanuman and the Orange Sun and are looking for the support of our South Asian community to bring this project alive! We are so incredibly excited and humbled to share an exclusive Runways and Rattles interview with Sailaja Joshi, the founder and creator of Bharat Babies! And as a token of appreciation, Bharat Babies will be giving away a Limited Edition Print and a Reserved Copy of Hanuman and the Orange Sun to a lucky winner! See details below on how to enter the giveaway!
Tell our readers a little bit about the formation of Bharat Babies. What does the name mean to you? What was the inspiration behind forming the company?
Bharat Babies was an idea that was launched during my frantic search to fill my baby registry of books that in some way reflected my cultural heritage. What I saw as I searched were lots of books, but none of them were geared towards babies, few were for young toddlers, and often time most had some pretty egregious errors. And so, I decided to fill that need and the company was born. It was in chatting with my younger sister that the name Bharat Babies came to be. The name now has become synonymous with my shift into motherhood and the change I made in my own career path. The company itself is filled with my trusted friends and family. After all, these were the few people who were willing to work for nothing once I came up with the idea. I’m so grateful for their service and cannot wait for the day that we are profitable so I can finally pay them!
Who is the author of the books? Tell us more about him/her.
The author of the books is my dear friend Amy McDonald Maranville. When I was dreaming up Bharat Babies, she was one of the first people I chatted with about it and she gave me the real push to get the company started. She has a Master’s in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and it was this degree combined with her love of books that really made her an amazing choice as our author. I remember receiving the first manuscript for Hanuman and the Orange Sun and being in tears, realizing that Amy had made my little dream come true. She is an incredibly talented author and we are so lucky to have her on our staff!
What is Bharat Babies’ message to kids in America and across the world?
Our message is about bringing diversity to the children’s book landscape. Allowing children of not only Indian heritage, but those across the globe, to learn the stories of India from a young age. So much of what is understood about India is from such a skewed perspective. Our goal is to help alleviate those misunderstandings while providing children with pluralistic books about different faiths and cultures.
Who is your target audience? Is it only kids or their parents as well? Is it South Asians or Non-South Asians also?
Our target audience is mainly parents of the Indian Diaspora though we certainly want their children to fall in love with our characters and stories. But, I would not say our stories are limited to an Indian audience. In fact, during our pre-order campaign a large number of our orders have come from a Non-South Asian audience. I think there are many parents out there, both South Asian and Non-South Asia, who realize the need to provide their children with diverse books that reflect the realities of the world.
What kind of topics do the Bharat Babies books cover?
Everything about India! I’m so excited because in the creation of Bharat Babies we realized that there was a real need to tell the stories of Hinduism, but also Islam, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. So, one of our goals is to cultivate those stories and present them in such a way that they are developmentally appropriate for our audience. In addition, we plan on telling stories of historical figures of India, such a Gandhi, along side some fiction tale.
How else are you involved in your community in raising South Asian awareness? What type of promotions can we expect from Bharat Babies?
Prior to motherhood, and even now really, I was deeply involved in the Hindu Youth community. I work closely a couple of organization managing their weekly groups and even yearly camps and meetings. I love working within the Hindu Youth community and I think of this work as simply an extension of that activism. In terms of how Bharat Babies fits into the awareness picture, part of our goal is to tell the stories of Indian heritage in the most authentic way possible. In addition, we plan on providing additional educational materials so these books can be used in the classroom as part of lesson plans and units on India or specific religions.
What are some future goals for Bharat Babies?
A short-term goal, and I suppose a long term goal, for us is to get some significant funding to help launch of subsequent book series. In addition, we plan on not only releasing books, but video and online content that compliments our book lines. And of course, a Harini doll is certainly in the works!
Where can one purchase your products?
The pre-order of our flagship book, Hanuman and the Orange Sun, is currently available at www.bharatbabies.com/store. In placing your order now, you not only help to fund the printing costs for our first round of printing, but you also help to show investors that this world needs diverse books. What is great about this pre-order is that you not only reserve your copy of your book, but you also receive a beautiful limited edition print feature the characters of Hanuman and the Orange Sun.
To enter this giveaway of a Limited Edition Print and a Reserved Copy of Hanuman and the Orange Sun:
2) Share the Bharat Babies Giveaway post on Runways and Rattles Facebook page;
3) Comment on the giveaway post below!
This giveaway expires on January 14, 2015 at 11:59pm so make sure to get your entries to us soon!!