Hi Chitra and Poonam! We have loved your earlier collaborations – ‘You’re Safe With Me’ and ‘You’re Snug With Me’ – so we were really excited to discover your new title ‘You’re Strong With Me’. They are such heart-warming stories and the illustrations are unlike anything I’ve seen in a children’s book before.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, in case we have any readers who are unfamiliar with your stories?
CHITRA SOUNDAR: I was born in India, and moved to the UK about a decade and half ago. I’ve written over 30 books for children, published across Asia, Europe and North America. I’ve been a teacher, programmer and a manager before I became a full-time writer.
Everyone needs a go-to funny book on their shelf and this bright yellow beauty is brilliant!
When Bear wakes up one chilly morning he knows he has something important to do but he can’t quite remember what it is. Distracted by his rumbling tummy, he pops on his winter coat and follows a delicious smell through the forest.
He soon stumbles upon his friend Rabbit who is busy digging up lots of yummy carrots. He helps himself to a tiny nibble but accidentally eats every carrot in Rabbit’s pile! The same happens with Squirrel’s big basket of acorns and then again with Beaver’s fish.
We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Chitra Soundar at an event at Moon Lane Ink last year so I was very happy when Lantana Publishing invited us to be part of the book tour for her newest title – You’re Strong With Me.
This is the third book in a trilogy, all of which feature beautiful illustrations from Poonam Mistry. The previous books in the series are You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug With Me and each one focuses on the wonderful bond between parent and child.
In this story we follow a mother giraffe and her calf through a day in the wild. The little giraffe encounters many things which make her scared or uncomfortable, like a hissing fire and a bird which pecks at her fur, but her mother is always there to reassure and comfort her.
Have you heard of the immortal jellyfish? Known as the ‘turritopsis dohrnii’, it technically never really dies. When it starts to decay its cells reaggregate in to polyps, from which new baby jellyfish emerge. Fascinating! You can read more here. This book takes this philosophy of reincarnation and uses it to help children process grief after loss.
As this story begins we see a small boy and his Grandpa drawing jellyfish together. As they sketch, the Grandpa talks about the special immortal jellyfish and its ability to live on forever. They discuss immortality, leaving the boy a little confused. He wants to live forever too. If the jellyfish can do it, then why can’t he?
Not long after, the Grandpa passes away. The boy is devastated and finds refuge in sleep after a day of crying hot tears. What follows is a magical dream sequence which helps him to cope with his grief.