Likla writes for children of all ages. She has published with Art1st Books- look out for ‘Art is a Verb’, a fun take on grammar through art, and ‘Somnath Hore: Wounds’. She’s currently making her way back to a dance and movement practice.
She’s one of the speakers at the Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival 2022, talking about Somnath Hore: Wounds, as well as moderating an exciting two sessions at the doodle wall, both of which will make your children learn to recognize and be closer to difficult emotions.
How excited are you for Bookaroo? What are you most looking forward to?
Likla Lall: My favourite part of Bookaroo is spending time with all the young readers of my books. I don’t get to do this enough! It’s also a great place to catch up with the rest of the kidlit community- a wonderful, warm, and zany group of people. I started my book journey at Bookaroo with my first book ‘Art is a Verb’, so it’s lovely to be back!
You have worked on each of your three books with a different designer/illustrator? Can you share some details on how writer-designer equations matter for writers (especially of perhaps children’s books?)
Likla Lall: All my books are created with care, where writer, illustrator, designer and publisher come together to create something wonderful. It is a truly collaborative process. We talk a lot and listen even more. At the end of the process, each of us feels responsible and proud of what we’ve made together. The book could not have existed in this form without this specific combination of creators. I am ever-grateful for my co-creators, Kripa, Eva, Rohina, Shambhavi and Ritu!
What are some of the childhood stories you remember reading and being inspired by?
Likla Lall: Some of the earliest stories were the ones that my Nani told me. These were often Gujarati folktales and mythology. My parents, being artists, had amassed an eclectic collection of books from ‘The Greatest Illustrations in the World’ to a monthly subscription to the Ranger Rick Magazine. Even as a child I was privileged to read many kinds of books, a habit I still carry with me.
What are the issues you think children’s literature needs to explore more?
Likla Lall: Publishers and writers today are very focused on a wide range of issues. Art1st looks at bringing art and art education to the forefront. Kalpavriksh creates amazing books about wildlife and the environment. Pratham puts a great deal of effort into the translation of books into various languages making them more accessible.
How do you see the role of a storyteller changing with the digital age?
Likla Lall: I have a soft spot for technology. It’s constantly changing and offering tools and toys to play with. The youngest generations are already attuned in to phones and tablets, much as some from my generation were to books. There are surprising ways to connect with an audience, creative ways to tell your stories and so much to say; a curious storyteller can surely get up to a lot of tech mischief.
What are you currently working on, and can you share that with us?
Likla Lall: I continue to work on stories about other Indian artists. I work with Little Light (sister to Art1st) where we’re working on a multi-medium curriculum about self-discovery. I’ve also been creating comics and zines with my sister, Keya Lall, who is a wonderful illustrator (look out for ‘Ek Biladi’). I’m also part of a TTRPG (Table-Top-Role-Playing-Game) centered writing collective; I am perpetually and sluggishly attempting to write RPG adventures of my own.