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  • Writer's pictureTulika Publishers

#MayilVerse for Better or Worse!

So it’s time to emerge And spread my wings to fly The expressions that I once submerged Take me through the sky – excerpt from the winning poem, I Am, by winner Aditi V (age 15)

The third book in the Mayil series, This is me, Mayil, is named after a poem Mayil writes. Authors Niveditha Subramanian and Sowmya Rajendran explore a teenager’s emerging sense of identity in a world of 'selifiesteem' and soft focus filters. Tulika's growing list of Teens&Tweens books ( made us want to find out what 'Me' means for children today. Little did we know how surprised we were going to be with the answers!

As the poems flowed in, there was one recurring theme – I am unique. No compromise is a promising beginning for the next generation of poets! The entries also covered a wide range of styles. There were lists and likes. Others that were immensely rappable and some that made us smile. I like to play games But not learning scientific names – Harshit Gupta (age 11) The girl who can turn and twist like rubber This is me, The girl who can do all sorts of drama This is me. – Meerashri (age 11) Most gave us hope, whether it was for a better, greener world or one where reading is still valued. Like our other winner all the way from Singapore. I am from books Books with pages Caressing a world Far greater Than the one we live in – Navya Singh (age 14), winner

Authors Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran at the event. There were poems of acceptance and rebellion. Promising and performed with an enthusiasm that had most of us cheering along! Don’t know what I want to tell myself, Am I the boss or Santa’s elf? My mind is filled with a lot of confusion, A lot of options, a lot of illusions, Am I being the person the world wants me to be, No dammit I’m not a project I’m ‘ME’. – Jiya Francis (age 11), special mention ...and now that this girl is free I’ll yell it from the rooftops that this is who I’m supposed to be no matter what I look like no matter what my gender is no matter who I like no matter what because this this mess of frizzy hair this constellation of acne upon my cheeks this short, chubby kid this is me – Janani Balaji (age 13), winner Then there were ones that made us sit up and notice the bold self awareness that was almost painful. At an age when most kids do not understand or even notice bullying, body shaming or gender! Hello, anybody there? It's me, just me over here, I may look like a big bully to you, But no, I am always kind at heart. – Shravanthika Karthik (age 10)

The event at the Tulika bookstore, featuring our local participants, saw 14 performances. The shortlisted poets from outside Chennai sent in video and audio performances that made us wish we had some kind of instantaneous travel portal. We would love to have seen them live! A special shout out to the parents who brought the kids to the store and sent us their lovingly taken video performances. You are doing it right! May 15, 2019


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