She Reads South Asia


Monday, December 26, 2005

Kahani, a US magazine for South Asian children

The following information was given to me from SAJA news.

Newspapers in metros with large South Asian populations could take several angles with the Kahani profile.

They could talk about why two women in Boston were motivated to start a magazine for South Asian children.

We started Kahani because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of South Asian children. There is plenty of good children's literature that reflects the mainstream American experience. And there is plenty of literature available in India about Indian culture and folklore, but there is not enough literature for our children that reflects their multicultural experience growing up here.

Our children go through a fascinating bi-cultural experience. They go for soccer and ballet classes, but they also go for Indian music and dance classes; they eat pizza and burgers, but they also enjoy Indian food; they listen to music by Britney Spears but they also listen to Hindi songs from Bollywood movies; they get embarrassed if grandma comes to school in a sari; and they go for long vacations to their native country to meet extended family. In most public libraries and book stores, there are very few stories about brown-skinned children, with names like Anju and Ahmed, who go through experiences like these. The few books available are typically about our festivals - Diwali, Holi and Eid. We started Kahani to fill this vacuum.

They could talk about the amazing quality of the magazine…

Kahani is the first magazine of its kind in the children’s market. We work hard to produce a quality product. There are no ads in the magazine. All the stories and all the art in Kahani are original and have been especially produced for us. A number of well-known South Asian children’s writers and illustrators have contributed to Kahani, including Uma Krishnaswami, Mitali Perkins, Ruth Jayaveeran, Pooja Makhijani, Rukhsana Khan and Anjali Bannerjee. The stories are complemented by non-fiction articles: a regular column by renowned linguist Anu Garg; a science and math column by T.V. Padma; A “Spotlight” on a successful South Asian role model; Rreviews of South Asian books; and a fun cartoon strip! Librarians across the country have loved the depth and quality of the magazine.

South Asian children deserve a quality product, tailored just for them!

They could talk about Kahani’s upcoming story-writing contest….

We are launching Kahani’s First Annual Young Writer’s Contest in November. We want kids to use their creativity and write a short story which includes the words, “mango,” “elephant” and “rikshaw.” In January we will launch an Art Contest, in which kids will be called on to illustrate the winning story. The winning combination will be published in the magazine. There will be cash prizes and several winning stories will be published on our website. The kids will have fun.

We want South Asian children to have a platform to express their unique talents. We want as many kids as possible to find out about the contest and participate. It would be great if mainstream newspapers could find out about the Contest and write about it to inform their readership.

For more information, our website is: Kahani.

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