Parents are under pressure now to keep children occupied and engaged at home. That was reason enough for Bookosmia to come up with programming for children to kill time creatively. Bookosmia made two Kannada stories available for free from March 25. The online platform recently launched Sara’s Corner , detailing the exploits of a 10-year-old sports-loving athlete. “In this section Sara curates fun sports stuff,” says Nidhi Mishra, Founder and CEO of Bookosmia, a company that provides content for children across physical and digital formats. “For instance, Sara has provided match predictions, interviews and cricket anecdotes from the recently concluded Women’s T-20 World Cup. Bookosmia’s aim is to make children fall in love with reading and writing.”
Nidhi spoke to MetroPlus about Sara’s latest adventures.
Could you tell us about the Kannada stories?
Bookosmia (smell of books) released two stories in Kannada for Ugadi. We are all trying to adjust to the new situation against the backdrop of coronavirus. We have children, adults and senior citizens — all cooped up at home. This self-imposed isolation is for our benefit, but staying isolated during a festival makes us feel bad, that is why we released stories for Ugadi. We thought it is not every day that one reads a Kannada story to one’s child, which talks about culture and festivals. These stories are perfect for children in the age group of two to six years.
How about content for older readers?
We have focussed on older children as well. The eight years and above segment is under served. Currently, the content for older readers is either too westernised or not age-appropriate. The problem is we classify everyone in the age group of two to 14 as children without distinguishing between the specific intellectual needs of children in each group. We are focussing on the eight years and above age group as it is too old for talking animals and too young for adult content.
How does the content you offer stand out in a market flooded with similar products?
We are disrupting the content industry for children, both in terms of uniqueness of our product, delivery and connection with children.
What can you tell us about Sara?
Sara loves sports and drama. She talks about current affairs including games and festivals. Sports is a powerful medium to give the message of the importance of struggle, persistence, teamwork and humility. Our content has organic roots. We held writing contests across India and received at least 500 stories from every corner of the country from Surat to Kolkata and Chennai to Jammu.
In creating Sara, we wanted to make something different — no mythology, no Hindi cinema, no rockets or superpowers. Sara is someone young people can relate to. She is just like them, figuring out the world, not just talking, but listening, reading and asking questions. You just have to look at her, see and listen to her and you will connect with her instantly.
Could you talk about Sara’s look?
Sara was designed by Parvati Pillai, ex design head of Chumbak. She is now based in Finland. She is famous for her quirky Indian designs and did a fabulous job. Sara is our brainchild. It is all teamwork — her expressions, language and posture. Bookosmia co-founder, Archana, wrote Sara’s dialogue.
Our Chief Visual Designer, Aayushi Yadav adapted these ideas to powerful images. She brought a perfect mix of humour and flair to the illustrations.
What was the brief to the designer and artist?
We defined her personality at length (how she talks, what bothers her, what she wears). We often laugh when we hear the creative team say, “Sara will not wear those clothes” or “Sara would ask this question.” We have emotionally invested in making Sara the girl we would love to hang out with.