Book Trailer Premiere: A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram and Mariona Cabassa

Hello, Meera Sriram! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! I spent five days in Chennai, India, two years ago. As I was reading A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India, it felt as though I was transported back to the time I spent in Chennai.

Meera Sriram: Hello, and thank you so much for having me, Mr. Schu!

I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve been to Chennai, and even more delighted that A Gift for Amma brought back memories!!

Yes! Thank you! I'm curious, what planted the seed for A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India?

Meera Sriram: One cannot think of India without thinking colors. As a concept, a book on colors of India was an easy choice. However, it was a dream (and a challenge) to find ways to capture the vibrancy of the colorful street life. Three years ago, a seed was planted when I started exploring a narrative with certain specific elements like picking out colors that are also items at a market, layering with sounds and sensory details, and slowly trying to weave in a storyline.

What do you love the most about visiting an outdoor market?

Meera Sriram: I love that items are out and open, waiting to be touched, smelled, and sometimes even sampled. This adds to the experience and distinct feel in the air at an outdoor market. I also enjoy the personal interactions with sellers, and if you’re a regular, sometimes they even turn into good friendships.

Please finish the following sentence starters: 

Mariona Cabassa’s illustrations bring the market alive! The first thing that blew me away was how dynamic her art was – she has captured the bustle so well! Another fantastic aspect is how every spread explodes with a million shades and yet one dominant color sweeps across.

Jasmine, vermilion, saffron, and every striking shade in the book is also a culturally iconic item, and in some cases native to South Asia.

The Yellow Suitcase is my debut picture book in the U.S. It’s a story of a little girl grieving the loss of her grandmother, told from an immigrant family’s perspective. It was inspired by own family’s experience. And every time I read it to children in a classroom, it opens up conversations around loss and feelings that hold a special place in my heart.

Story is change. Every story will change something in us. It could be something as immediate as the mood or an emotion. Or something as long lasting as a mindset or worldview.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my next book! It’s a picture book biography of Amrita Sher-Gil, an Indian-Hungarian artist. She was a pioneer of modern art in India. I’m very excited about it as we rarely see artists from the East celebrated in children’s literature in the West. BETWEEN TWO WORLDS comes out in Spring 2021 from Penny Candy Books.

Look for A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India on August 21, 2020. 

Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S in 1999. An engineer in the past, she now enjoys writing, leading early literacy programs and advocating for diverse bookshelves. Meera is the author of The Yellow Suitcase and has also co-authored several books in India. She believes in the transformative power of stories and likes to write about people, places an
d experiences less visible in children's literature.

Mariona Cabassa studied illustration at the Massana Art School and completed her postgraduate degree at the School of Fine Arts in Strasbourg, where she also learned how to speak French. She has illustrated more than 80 books in Spain and other countries. She lives in Barcelona, Spain. This is her first project for Barefoot Books.


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