Children's books have always been an intrinsic part of literature around the globe. From fairy tales and fables to adventure stories, children's literature form an integral part of our cultural identity. In the contemporary age when everyone's eyes are fixated on digital screens for studies, work or for entertainment, books have taken a backseat. Though production has been quite consistent in terms of fiction, biographies and other genres, children's literature fails to see the same publication rate. This is particularly true in times like the pandemic, and in a state like Mizoram, we can agree that inspite of the fast- growing publication of Mizo books, children's books by Mizo authors are close to absent. Our folktales and fables do have stories for children and there have been writers like Nuchhungi Renthlei who have made significant contribution to the genre. The present day Mizo Literature, however, is devoid of children's books inspite of the rapid growth in other forms of literature in Mizo language and by Mizo authors. This changes with the recent publication of a graphic children's story book titled Evangeline and the Magical Tent by Rosie Puipuii, a mother of two children. Named after her daughter, Evangeline, the book tells the story of a little girl with powerful imagination.
Written at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the author says that her inspiration to write the book comes from her daughter. "I've always wanted to write a book and my inspiration comes from my daughter. During the early stage of the pandemic, I was worried about my daughter who was glued to tablets and TV screens. This motivated me to come up with a picture story book for children," says Rosie who had worked as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Economics at Kiori Mal College, Delhi University for seven years. She then quit her teaching job in 2017 to be a full time mother and support her husband's career in Mizoram. "Family first, " she says, which speaks volumes about her dedication as a mother.
Evangeline and the Magical Tent is published by Blue Rose Publishers, a Delhi- based publishing house. Rosie shares the struggle of many authors who had to face bumps and difficulties in the publishing process on account of the pandemic. "I came across Blue Rose Publishers when I was searching for publishers who could help me out. The pandemic made things quite difficult but somehow we were able to work our way through online communication," says Rosie.
The story comes with attractive graphic illustrations by Alyssa, a local artist who is also a long- time friend of the author. This adds flavour to the story, making it a combination of a well- written story which makes for a great leisure read through engaging text and attractive visuals for young readers. The book is available on Amazon India and bluerosepublishers.com and will soon be out in the local bookstores for sale.