Broad genres of author

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From fiction to comic books, from Bible stories to school textbooks – all that Tanya Luther writes is a complete range duly designed for young children, older children and young adults. This versatile children’s author is captured here for an update on her latest work and others in this column of The Progressive Teacher which features some of the finest authors.

003Tanya Luther Agarwal made her authorship debut with her first book Jellybean Story in the year 2002 and has since penned more than 80 books on varied genres, the latest being a school workbook series titled Up and Aware for Class 6, 7 and 8 – published by Madhubun Educational Books – on guiding students on value education and social responsibility.

‘Overall topics being covered in this series were a bit complicated while shaping into student lessons. But I enjoyed the creative freedom available during the process, plus the support from the excellent team Madhubun,’ mentions Tanya adding that the main intention of the series is to educate students on the value of co-operation.

Between educational books and fiction stories, authors naturally find more creative freedom in the latter. Fiction writing is not delimited within a boundary or parameter; everything is limitless in fiction—Tanya feels the same. But she enjoyed something of the kind while writing Up and Aware series since the contents of these workbooks granted her the opportunity. ‘Most of all, creativity plays a vital role in the end, whether I’m writing an educational book or a fiction story. A lot of chapters in Up and Aware series have just come out of the blue,’ she remarks.

Among the bestselling titles from Tanya include her series on Bible stories, namely, Moses and the Miracle of the Sea, Cain and Abel, Samson and Delilah, Noah’s Ark, The Last Supper, David and Goliath, among others, which are now translated into many Indian and foreign languages. She has also written 16 books for TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) on environmental awareness.

Every single book of Tanya is critically acclaimed for substantive content. Regarding her style of content construction, she narrates, ‘It comes altogether; one thing leads to another and twenty other thoughts follow up. Then I plan how to take it to the next level. So, without skipping a level in between, I take it to the subsequent level till I see it come to a successful completion.’ She continues, ‘Use of real life situations as relative examples in lessons, like in Up and Aware, is very important’. ‘Some of them could be of my own experiences or of my children or students or something that we observe or have seen in movies or our surroundings,’ mentions Tanya.
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More than 80 percent of students in Delhi choose CCE over traditional board pattern. But the debate is still going on and Tanya has an opinion on this, ‘I would say yes on testing students more frequently than just one or two board exams a year because young learners are more absorbent in their schooling age.’ She further opines that CCE is not just a burden of tests or examination; the idea behind any educational system is to allow the learners to have the opportunity to succeed and do better. ‘The Indian education system is known for rote memorisation all over the world. Which is why when it comes to subjects that require this method, we Indians do very well. But we don’t want just that. It’s an important part but that’s not the way to cultivate great thinkers.’

Tanya is no stranger to the teaching community. She has taught Psychology in schools for six years and so has a soft corner for teachers. She says, ‘I salute the teaching community. I admire their patience and dedication. Teachers don’t just impart knowledge but the art of developing self confidence.’ Then turning to the students, Tanya has a piece of advice for them too, particularly for those who wish to be authors in future. ‘My advice is no magic at all.

I simply like to advise them to read, read, read… read as much as they can. It shapes their thinking; it shapes their language and it helps them develop imagination (characters),’ she counsels.