During our time at the recent Bologna Children’s Book Fair Marjorie and I had a lovely visit with Gita Wolf and Maegan Chadwick-Dobson from Tara Books. Tara Books is an award winning, independent publisher of picture books for adults and children based in Chennai, South India. Founded by Gita in 1994, Tara Books consists of a dedicated group of writers, designers and artists who remain “fiercely independent” and who strive to publish books with the unique union of fine form and rich content. Tara Books sets itself apart from other publishers by truly offering readers a literary and visual feast and they are especially known for their children’s books created by tribal artists in the Gond, Patua and Mithila styles which are made entirely from hand – from the paper to the printing and binding! Their book Waterlife by Rambharos Jha won the 2012 New Horizons Mention, BolognaRagazzi Awards and is PaperTigers’ Book of the Month.
Besides hearing about the latest Tara Book releases, Marjorie and I also learned more about their exciting new Book Building which just opened off Kuppam Beach Road in Thiruvanmiyur, South Chennai, India. After years of operating out of small rental places and not being able to adequately showcase their books, Tara Books embarked on an ambitious plan to construct a three storey, environmentally friendly building (80% solar powered) that would house all aspects of their business and would become an unique cultural space dedicated to exploring the form of the book. In February 2012 Book Building opened its doors to much acclaim and fanfare! Book lovers and visual lovers of all ages are invited to come enjoy ongoing exhibitions, watch visual artists at work, participate in workshops, browse though books and art prints in the bookstore, enjoy specially commissioned wall murals created by a range of Tara Book artists, and more! Permanent exhibition highlights include Bhajju’s Mural, an original mural by Gond artist Bhajju Shyam (see PaperTigers’ gallery of his work here) on display in the outdoor gallery (images of the mural being painted can be seen here) and The Patua Pillar by Patua artists Manu and Swarna (images of the mural being painted can be seen here).
Book Building is open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 7:30pm and admission is free. To hear about upcoming activities including the launch of an exciting new annual Carnival of Books Festival and the inauguration of the children’s reading corner, visit Tara Books’ website or email your full contact details to mail(at)tarabooks(dot)com.