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Meet Author Surishtha Sehgal


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When I realized I loved to read as a kid

I come from India, a culture where education is sacred, so that was an inspiration for me to read. My parents also made books fun for us. They read to us every night, and books were always a big part of birthdays.

My favorite childhood stories

I don’t have a favorite. All books have something good in them. If somebody has put so much time and hard work in writing something down on paper hoping to help a child’s imagination to grow, then it’s our job as readers to look for the good stuff.

What inspired me to write stories for children

My Mom inspired me to write. She said, “You should write a children’s book.” After I graduated from college I taught in schools and in college for a lot of years. Finally, at this age, I thought I really must do something my Mom asked me to do. So, when my son, who’s an author, asked me to collaborate on a children’s book, I said, yes.

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How a story charms a child

Every child is different, so a story has to reach into each reader’s perspective to see where he—or she—is coming from.  A story must connect with children of any age or culture in a variety of ways—same book, same story, countless perspectives. Stories also need to be whimsical, fun, and imaginative, like a mythical, mystical dancing peacock that brings rain.

A theme that lurks beneath my story

It’s a simple thing—the goodness in us.

A Bucket of Blessings is about blessings we all have, and should recognize, even though they are sometimes in disguised form. When I ask children what a blessing is, they often say, “That’s what we do before we eat,” or, “It has something to do with God.” I was always taught to think about others before I think about myself, so what should come from our own blessings is doing something for other people. I would say blessings as a theme resonates with children—and parents.

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How parents, teachers, and communities can help kids learn to love to read

We all have to pitch in. Parents, read to your kids. Brothers and sisters, read to each other. Kids, read on your own. Whenever I visit a school I always end by saying to the students, “Read read, read, because your book is your best friend.” The Get Georgia Reading Campaign is terrific, because it brings together community partners, schools, colleges, businesses, lawmakers, and kids. What a beautiful way to weave the fabric of education and books, which is so essential to Georgia’s future.

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A Bucket of Blessings is a beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Times bestselling picture book.

Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama used to tell him, a story about how peacocks can make it rain by dancing. So he sets out to see if the story is true.