Young Sparks is the first such program in the world that identifies talented children in the space of writing and illustration. These children are mentored by professional writers and illustrators for a period of three months before their work gets published.
The first edition saw 40 schools and 17,000 students participate from across Mumbai. In the first stage of the program, 300+ children were selected based on a writing and illustration contest. After the interview round, we finally had our ten mentees! These final ten were then mentored by our panel of published authors, writers and illustrators for a period of three months. The program culminated with the stories and illustrations created by these finalists being published in Champak.
Meet the Mentors
SANTHINI GOVINDAN : Santhini is a widely published, award-winning author of children’s literature in English. She has written more than 40 books for children, including poetry, picture books, and short stories. She has received two fellowships in Literature from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
SOWMYA RAJENDRAN: Sowmya Rajendran lives in Pune and has written books for children across age-groups, ranging from 3 plus to 12 plus. Her books have been recommended by the CBSE.
BHAIRAVI PAREKH: Bhairavi was born in Nairobi, spent her childhood in London, and now lives and works in Mumbai. She is a Trainer Consultant with the British Council and is an IB examiner, English Language and Literature. 'The Water Catchers' is her first novel.
KATIE BAGLI: Katie is passionate about nature and shares her love through writing. Committed to spreading awareness about nature, she conducts the popular Tree Appreciation Walk with a group of friends and has written numerous books on nature & wild life.
PRIYA KURIYAN: Priya is an illustrator, animator and a director of several educational films. Over the past six years , she has also been illustrating for a number of children’s books and comics, “Rooster Raga’ being the most recent one.
KAVITA SINGH KALE: Kavita comes with a decade of experience in publication and film. A versatile artist, her creativity has charted the terrains of writing, illustration, film-making and broadcast designing.
ABHIJEET KINI: Abhijeet Kini is an illustrator, animator and comics creator. He is a regular illustrator with Tinkle comics, working on famous characters like Butterfingers, Defective Detectives and SuperWeirdos and he also has his own merchandise line.
TANVI BHAT: She is a children’s book illustrator who has worked on various books with publications like Karadi Tales, Pratham Books, ACK, Tulika and Duckbill books. She paints with water colors and guache and loves her job!
The Guest Speakers
Pravin Nair is Deputy Resident Editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He has spent more than 25 years as a journalist with three major newspapers in three cities across India. He has a deep understanding of the processes -- reporting, editing and designing – involved in bringing out a newspaper day after day.
Preeti Vyas is the Chief Fun Officer & Founder of FunOKPlease Publishing India, a start-up children’s publishing house focusing on contemporary Indian content for children. The company was founded in 2011 and has published 13 books so far.
Ramya Pandyan is a Digital Media consultant, blogger and writer. She helps companies use stories and communities for business objectives. She also runs Alphabet Sambar, a creative community for aspiring writers. She tweets as @ideasmithy.
Aarnav Chauhan, Ecole Mondiale World School
Aditi Patel, Podar International (CIE), Nerul
Amrita Saxena, Lokhandwala Foundation School
Kriti Mada, Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School
Vibhavari Desai, Podar International (CIE), Nerul
Alastair Cresto, Don Bosco High School Matunga
Ananya Mohan, Lokhandwala Foundation School
Divya Shetty, Children's Academy, Ashok Nagar
Tia Alex, St. Gregorios High School