Debut Review Challenge with Meera Sriram

For a BONUS ENTRY, please leave a comment on this blog post! (This will apply if you also complete at least one official ENTRY FORM.)

To kick off a brand new year and a brand new challenge round, I am thrilled to welcome Meera Sriram. Thanks for being here!

Debut By-the-Numbers: THE YELLOW SUITCASE

Number of years writing:

5 years (towards picture books in the U.S), 12 years overall

Number of years from contract to published book:

1.5 years

Date your book was released:

March 12, 2019

Number of pages:

32

Number of launch events:

1

Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity:

1-2

Number of critique partners:

6

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years:

No idea!

Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out: 

Countless

Current number of reviews:

On Amazon: 48; On Goodreads: 61

A Few Questions

  • Why do you write for children? 

Books are a powerful medium and stories are very transformative, and I write in the hope that I can influence the mindset of children on what I believe is relevant and important. I particularly write on people, experiences, and places less visible in mainstream children’s literature so kids can both see themselves and peek into lives outside of their own through stories.

  • Without giving anything away, tell us about your work-in-progress. What do you love about it so far? Where are you stuck?

It’s an inter-generational story in which a little girl learns from her family’s past.  I love that the structure is unique and that it’ll open up important conversations on migration. However, I’m still finding a way to make the “unique” structure work for the mainstream picture book format.

  • When you need to take a creative break, do you have another activity or hobby that recharges you?

When I’m not happy with what I’ve created but unable to tell what must change. Then I try to distance myself from it – I pick up something else to work on or shut down for a few hours or even a day before going back to look at it with “fresh” eyes. 

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

Think about all the stories you’ve written that have hit a dead end or are hidden away in a drawer somewhere. For each of the items below, lift an element from a different story to create a weird, unexpected mash-up. Who knows? It may even inspire a new manuscript! 

Character(s): 

Little girl

Setting: 

Forest/In the woods

Theme: 

Hope and perseverance

Problem: 

Grandma doesn’t have a friend

Pitch:

When Little Girl goes on a search to find a friend for lonely Grandma, she gets lost in the woods. But Little Girl perseveres, without losing hope, until she meets a special someone, possibly the perfect friend for Grandma.

Lovely! I can see this as a spin on Little Red Riding Hood. Maybe Grandma’s unexpected friend is the wolf!


Okay, Challenge Participants! It’s Time to Write Some Reviews!

Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. For every five reviews you write for debut Kidlit creators between January 1-February 29, 2020, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Meera has generously donated a signed book and a picture book manuscript critique. Thank you, Meera!

TIPS:

  • Support debut authors by suggesting their book titles to your local library.
  • Purchase them as gifts for children in your life, a teacher, or a local school.
  • Share book titles or reviews on social media and tag the author/illustrator.

About Meera and her Book

BIO: Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S at the turn of the millennium. An electrical engineer in her past life, she now enjoys writing for children, teaching early literacy, and advocating inclusive children’s literature. Meera has co-authored several children’s books published in India. “The Yellow Suitcase” is her debut picture book in the U.S. She believes in the transformative power of stories and writes on cross-cultural experiences that often take her back to her roots. Her next picture book “A Gift for Amma” comes out in Fall 2020 from Barefoot Books. Meera currently lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she often fantasizes about a world with no borders. For more information visit www.meerasriram.com

Book Title: The Yellow Suitcase

Author/Illustrator: Written by Meera Sriram and Illustrated by Meera Sethi

Publisher: Penny Candy Books

Year: 2019

Synopsis: Asha travels with her parents from America to India to mourn her grandmother’s passing. Asha’s grief and anger are compounded by the empty yellow suitcase usually reserved for gifts to and from Grandma, but when she discovers a gift left behind just for her, Asha realizes that the memory of her grandmother will live on inside her, no matter where she lives.


#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat
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