Publisher Spotlight: Tara Books

Once more, dear guinea pigs readers, we are trying out something new at The Book Wars. If things work out, Sundays will be the days we fangirl about publishers and/or imprints that are awesome- starting with …

Tara Books

Tara Books are an independent publishing house based in Chennai, India. They publish a variety of genres, aimed at a variety of audiences, but almost always containing strong, beautiful visual content. They were founded in 1994, and over the years have won over a loyal base of artists, designers, and writers– each of whom have a unique voice and typically adapt traditional South Asian artwork/folklore to tell their story. At Tara Books, it is just as much about art as it is about the storytelling:

Oh and their HQ, the Book Building, functions as a bookstore, a gallery, as well as a place for workshops:

And by “workshops” they mean Tara Books and Educational Outreach:

To fund activities which feed into and lead out of our publishing agenda, we started a trust in 1998, called the Tara Educational Research Society (TERS). We are interested in concretely exploring ways of seeing, representing and thinking… especially in individuals and traditions which are overlooked or neglected. We conduct workshops, research and documentation, among others in the areas of critical pedagogy, indigenous and popular art, reading, art education, peace and gender studies. We also develop – and subsidize – vibrant and meaningful children’s literature in Tamil.

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Gobble You Up by Gita Wolf and Sunita

Meet the wiliest jackal in the forest. Too lazy to hunt for food, he decides to trick his friend the crane, and then proceeds to gobble up every animal he comes across …

This story, with cumulative rhyme, is an adaptation of an oral trickster tale from Rajasthan in India. It is illustrated with finger painting by the talented Sunita, from Rajasthan’s Meena tribe. She adapts a traditional Meena art form called Mandana, which is usually painted by women onto the walls and floors of their village homes.

This is the first time that this style – rarely seen outside the confines of Meena villages – has been used in a children’s book. Silkscreen printed by hand onto kraft paper using black and white ink, each book is a numbered edition.

I, for one, am looking forward to more beautiful books from this incredible, independent publishing house. In the meanwhile, check out these guidelines for submissions and internships.