Children’s Book North blog tour: Anjan Sarker

Welcome to Children’s Books North’s Autumn Highlights – a weekly blog tour celebrating new books from CBN members with a tour of Northern and Scottish book blogs. (YAY FOR THE NORTHERN PEOPLE!!)

Children’s Books North aims to connect children’s book professionals living in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Scotland. The network seeks to promote our members’ work, new books and events. Additionally, CBN is keen to bring focus on the importance of regional diversity in children’s books and the industry.

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Tell us about your new book

Rum Pum Pum is a picture book about a lonely tiger who prowls around his patch of Indian countryside trying to make friends. He finds that other animals are always scared of him, until one day, when he discovers an abandoned drum under a tree. He delights in the sound the drum makes and manages to use it to tempt a variety of animals to take a pleasant (but noisy!) stroll with him through the Indian landscape. The story was written By David L. Harrison and Jane Yolen, two American writers who worked on the text together after David wrote a preliminary paragraph/poem on his blog and asked for other writers to contribute. It was published by Holiday House Books in September 2020.

Share your favourite spread/passage from the book

I like this spread, which shows the lonely tiger and his friends meeting the parrot for the first time. I was pleased with how the page developed, it was originally much simpler (as you can see in the sketch) but after a bit of feedback from Grace Macarone (the editor at Holiday House) I moved the monkey to a more dynamic position, and introduced more light and shade to frame the text. 

What/who/where inspired this book?

The text was very inspiring in itself! The animals have great personalities which lent themselves to lots of interesting expressions and body language in the illustrations. For the landscapes, I drew on my experience of visiting India: I have been a few times to visit relatives on my dad’s side of my family, so I tried to get the feeling of the landscapes of West Bengal (where my dad grew up) into the illustrations.

Nominate one children’s book by a northern or Scottish creative to read this winter.

Since I started illustrating chapter books I’ve been inspired by the illustrations of Chris Jevons and Lee Cosgrove. I’d also like to mention Lucy Farfort, whose brilliant debut picture book Afraid of the Dark (written by Sarah Shaffi  & Isabel Otter) was published this year. Lucy and I were on the same degree course in Manchester, a long time ago! That’s three people, sorry.

Do you have a favourite northern/Scottish folk tale or story that you can share? 

Not exactly a folk tale, but since moving to Sheffield many years ago I often drive through Chesterfield in Derbyshire. The town’s prominent church has a very visually arresting spire: it’s bent almost 3 metres off-centre and is twisted into a peculiar shape. It looks like something from a fairy tale. Although there’s a ‘boring’ explanation there are also several myths about how the deformity was caused. One popular story is that a magician persuaded a local blacksmith to shoe the devil’s hooves, but he got so nervous that he accidentally drove a nail into the devil’s foot. The devil flew away pained and angered by the accident, and lashed out at the church as he passed by, bending the spire with his tail. There’s also a story that a bride of such unparalleled beauty was wed in the church and the spire turned to catch a glimpse of her face. Perhaps as a response to that, there’s also the idea that the spire was bent in shock after a virgin bride got married in the church – a bit insulting to the female population of Chesterfield, I reckon that one probably originated in Sheffield! 

CREDITS:

Publisher: Holiday House
Authors: David L. Harrison & Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Anjan Sarkar 
Editor: Grace Macarone
Designer: Chelsea Hunter
Published: September 2020 

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A massive thank you to Children’s Book North for asking me to be on the blog tour – it is my PLEASURE to celebrate anything that celebrates northern authors/illustrators. Us northerners have a lot to offer! A massive thank you to Anjan for taking the time to answer the questions too! This book has already wormed it way into another classroom at school and is being well loved!

S x

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