Where Three Oceans Meet by Rajani LaRocca and Archana Sreenivasan

Hello, Dr. Rajani LaRocca! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m writing this message during the week you launched Red, White, And Whole. Happy, happy book launch week to you and Reha! Congratulations!

Rajani LaRocca: Thank you so much for having me here, John! It’s been a whirlwind week, and I’m overjoyed that Red, White, and Whole is out in the world!

Thank you for celebrating Where Three Oceans Meet with me today. “I want to visit the very tip of India where three oceans meet,” was running through my head the entire time I was reading it aloud to an empty room. Wait! I take that back. Lou Grant, my cat, was sleeping next to me. Did the seed for the story start with hearing or feeling the line, “We decide to travel to the very tip of India, where three oceans meet.”

Rajani LaRocca: Yes! This story idea came from a conversation I had where I described a trip I took as a child to Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India, where people say three oceans meet—the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. Then I found myself writing a story about a girl who makes that trip with her mother and grandmother, and what she discovers along the way. I wanted to convey how although we often think about our destinations, it’s often the small moments during a journey—especially the moments we share with those we love—that mean the most.

Hello, Archana Sreenivasan! I love your illustrations. What materials did you use to make the art?

Archana Sreenivasan: I made all my initial character sketches and thumbnails with pencil on paper. From there on I scanned in my sketches and worked digitally on the colored art.

Rajani, if you were in a school library celebrating stories with 200 2nd graders, what would you say to them about Archana’s illustrations?

Rajani: Archana Sreenivasan’s illustrations for this story are beautiful and fun and perfect! Archana gives each of the characters a clear personality, and we can feel the Indian sunshine and taste the delicious food they eat! There’s a wonderful sense of movement as the three characters travel by car, train, and boat, and the love between these mothers and daughters is palpable.

Archana, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Rajani LaRocca's manuscript for Where Three Oceans Meet was something I was super excited about because I felt a strong sense of connection with the characters even upon first read.

Did you know that the illustrations of Sejal’s Pati (grandmother in Tamil) are based on my own maternal grandmother, who’s name was Padmavati. We called her Padma Pati.

Picture books are things you must hold onto and hoard even when you’re all grown up, because you never know what new joys they can bring you when you’re 73, or 46, or 132.

Rajani, please finish the following sentence starters:

Where Three Oceans Meet is a fun road trip story, but also a story about the strength of the bond between loved ones, especially those who live far away. It’s a book about how love endures despite distance and time, and how it sustains us and makes us stronger.

Sharing stories helps us all realize how much we have in common, no matter who we are or what we look like or where we come from.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me whether I’ve ever eaten a paper dosa as big as a table! I have indeed, and it was delicious!

Thank you, Rajani and Archana! 

Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. She earned a BA and an MD from Harvard, and spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. 

Archana Sreenivasan is a freelance illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her illustrations have been published in magazines, children's books, book covers and comics. She finds the natural world and people watching most inspiring and engaging.

Look for Where Three Oceans Meet on August 24, 2021.

Abrams' Description: 

Sejal, Mommy, and Pati travel together to the southern tip of India. Along the way, they share meals, visit markets, and catch up with old friends.

For Pati, the trip retraces spaces she knows well. For Mommy, it’s a return to the place she grew up. For Sejal, it’s a discovery of new sights and sounds. The family finds their way to Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet, and delight in making it to the end of the earth together.

This own voices picture book celebrates the beauty of India and the enduring love of family.


Popular Posts