The Cobra's Song by Supriya Kelkar

Hello, Supriya Kelkar! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m so, so grateful we ran into each other in Washington, D.C., in June, and I’m so, so happy you’re here to share Dana SanMar’s cover illustration and Lucy Ruth Cummins’ cover design for The Cobra’s Song. Please tell us about the moment Dana captures on the cover.

Supriya Kelkar: Thank you so much for having me back! It is always so special to be here, and running into you in D.C. in June was so wonderful!

My jaw dropped when I saw this incredible cover created by Dana SanMar and Lucy Ruth Cummins. It perfectly captures my main character, Geetanjali, finding the power of her voice and knowing she can save the day.

Scenario: You’re booktalking The Cobra’s Song to 300 5th graders. What do you share with them?

Supriya Kelkar: The Cobra’s Song is about the power of your voice. Geetanjali is a 5th grader whose voice has become stifled but she’s the only one who can save her family, friends, and town of Deadwood from the spooky things happening there. I hope this story inspires all of you to use your voice, in whatever form it may take, to change the world!

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Geetanjali is a 5th grader with a wild imagination, which often leads to her being afraid of a lot of things. She’s based on how I was at her age. In 4th grade, I wrote a non-fiction report on sharks. I wrote pages on them and drew all these pictures of them for my report. And even though I knew this was impossible, I started getting really scared every day in the shower that a shark was going to come out of the faucet and get me. That story is actually in the book! My favorite thing about Geetanjali is watching her harness her power and overcome her fears.

Michigan, my home state, was the setting for American as Paneer Pie and I love that it is the setting for The Cobra’s Song too, this time in the fictional town of Deadwood, located near my hometown and surrounding cities. I hope kids in Plymouth, Novi, Troy, Canton, Bloomfield Hills, Northville, and Ann Arbor love getting to see their hometowns in this book too.

Cobras play a big part in The Cobra’s Song thanks to the mythological ichchaadhaari naagin, a cobra that can turn into a human at will.

John Schu, you should have asked me about the art inside the book! Geetanjali’s grandmother, her aaji, makes collages out of old Indian wedding invitations and I got to make the collages Geetanjali and Aaji create together. It is my first time having my art in a book I wrote!

Thank you, Supriya! Congratulations! 

Look for The Cobra's Song on May 16, 2023.


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