Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One year of Saffron Tree..

Saffron Tree turns one today! As you all know by now, the Saffron Tree community shares a tremendous amount of passion and love for children's books. It's been a joy to connect with one other at a personal level. Thanks to all the wonderful children's books and the wonderful people who create them - the authors, illustrators, publishers mainly!

At Saffron Tree, it is our desire to share our experiences with children's books we've enjoyed reading to our kids, and help spread the joy of and love for reading to children - primarily in the early years of childhood by showcasing the best in Indian, American, Indian American, and a variety of multi-cultural children's literature.

Thanks for being so supportive. Thank you for being part of our beloved ‘Saffron Tree’.

On this happy occasion, I am honored to introduce to you and children all over the world, the very colorful"Tsunamika", who is a multi-cultural symbol going around the world spreading love and peace amongst all.

She is a little doll who was born of the Tsunami in rural, coastal parts of Tamil Nadu. She is a creation of the fisherwomen affected by the Tsunami as part of a women's sustainable livelihood project undertaken by Auroville. She represents love, sharing and caring and has been a symbol of simplicity, multi-culturalism and peace. She belongs to everyone who wants to give her a home. And has been going around globally carring messages of peace, love and harmony. She does not come with a pricetag.

I am one of the ambassadors for the project here in North America. The project co-ordinators have distributed one million Tsunamikas worldwide. If you live in the US and would like to receive her as a gift for your children and your friends/family, please email me with details about quantity and your address. For folks in India, there is a list of ambassadors on her website that you can get in touch with. In Chennai, she is available at Auroville's showroom in Khader Nawaz Khan Road.

There is no better way to celebrate Saffron Tree's birthday than by sharing a little children's story about Tsunamika. A children's book was published last year titled Tsunamika Meets Friends. The book is not available for sale, but like the doll itself is being shared free on her website. Today, I am sharing the story with you here to read to your children along with the beautiful illustrations. Story written and illustrated by Manoj. Adapted from Tsunamika's Website.

Tsunamika meets friends
There was a little girl who lived on an ocean floor.
She had never seen the sun, the moon or the stars because no light ever reached the ocean floor. She lived all by herself and felt very lonely.
“I wish I had friends,” cried the little girl.

One day a starfish appeared and asked her, “Have you seen the sun?”
“No,” said the little girl.
“How sad,” said the starfish, and went away.
The little girl started looking for the sun everywhere; she walked a long long way. One day she saw a giant conch with lovely spiral and colourful patterns. She knocked on the door of the conch. A sage came out and asked, “My child, what can I do for you?”

The little girl asked: “How do I find the sun?”
The sage said: “You must think only about the sun for 21 days, and then you will see the sun.”
So the little girl sat on a rock at the bottom of the ocean and thought only about the sun.
She sat there for 21 days, without playing, thinking only about the sun.
On the 21st day, suddenly the ocean floor shook powerfully and threw her upwards.
She went up…up…up in the water till she reached the surface of the ocean.
And she saw the sun, shining in the sky!

She was delighted to find the sun smiling at her.
The sun said: “I am the sun, welcome to the world of light. I am pleased with your determination to find me. I shall give you a special gift, please ask whatever you wish.”

“I want to have lots of friends,” said the girl.
“So be it, you shall have lots of friends, and I shall always be there for you whenever you need help,” said the sun.
Then huge and swift waves rose up and carried her away.
“Where are you taking me?” asked the girl to the giant waves.

“We shall take you to distant lands,” said the waves.
The waves traveled far and wide and reached a distant land and left her on the shore.
There she saw many little huts that were destroyed by the giant waves.
People were crying and the children were terrified. The little girl had never imagined this could happen. She felt very sad. But she then remembered the words of the sun.

“Sun, Sun, how can I help these people? How can I make them happy?” asked the girl.
Almost immediately the sun appeared from behind the clouds, and said: “Give them your love.”
So the little girl went to a woman who was crying, and said: “Please accept my love.”
The woman looked at the little girl and said, “I lost my children, will you be my daughter?”
The little girl said “Yes!”

The woman was happy. She asked, “What is your name?”
“Tsunamika,” said the little girl.
Then a little boy came along and asked, “Tsunamika, will you be my friend?”
She said “Yes,” and became his friend.
Then more and more children came to her and asked, “Dear Tsunamika, will you stay with us?”
Tsunamika multiplied into hundreds and said, “Yes, yes, yes” to all of them.
She went to each and every home and became a member of the family.
And people started coming from distant lands, all looking for her.

And Tsunamika, the little girl, looked up at the sun and smiled. She realized that she could give her love to all the people in the world. So she multiplied into thousands, and then tens of thousands, as she crossed the oceans, reaching far and distant lands.

That is how she started traveling all over the world.
Now she has reached you.
She is your friend, little Tsunamika!



Tharini said...

Praba...never realised that one year has passed. Congratulations to ST! And 3 cheers for you....the visionary who gave the rest of us a medium to express our love for children's books.

A tsunamika tribute seemed like the perfect way to commemorate it. I'd love to get some dolls for our home as a reminder of all that it stands for. I'll email u with the details.

Happy 1 year!

Sheela said...

Yay! Happy Birthday ST!

I echo Tharini's sentiments - Thanks for giving the rest of us an opportunity to share our love of reading to our children.

We are at 82 posts, so, perhaps 100th post will be another nice milestone to celebrate :)

But then again, what's in a number, right? We have 82 awesome posts!

Will email you about Tsunamika, Praba.

Nupur said...

Congratulations! Each of the reviews on this blog is so beautifully written. I enjoy reading the reviews and they come in very handy when buying books for little nieces and nephews. Here's to a whole new generation of thoughtful, well-read, book-loving kids!

Tharini said...

What cool wishes Nupur. Always nice to read a pat on the back.

Anusha said...

happy birthday Saffron Tree! and Praba, I will always be in awe of your energy, enthusiasm, resourcefulness and leadership - for starting a literary project from the ground up.
Thank you for starting ST and for inviting me to participate - and this milestone is a motivation for wake up from review-slumber!

more later abt Tsunamika...

Praba Ram said...

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement - particularly KM's mention of ST as a literacy project made me think - "need to work really hard in transforming the blog into a real literacy project - book drive, fund-raising etc.." similar to what the food bloggers community have been able to achieve thanks to Indira's Mahanandi in supporting the "Feed the hungry" project and such... Hopefully, S and R's payir can be a great platform to launch all of that.Well, hopefully by next anniversary, something really concrete along those lines!

Nupur - thanks for dropping by to leave a comment! Appreciate it greatly!

Thanks all, and will email you guys this weekend about the banner and other stuff! Sorry for sleeping on that..

Praba Ram said...

And please dont forget to email me about the Tsunamika dolls. She is totally handmade from rag materials, and you could try and make her on your own if interested. The instructions are on her website. And of course, if you wish, you could try all the craft ideas on her website, with your children. http://www.tsunamika.org/products/PaperMiracle

Thanks all, and hope you guys are having a nice weekend.

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