‘Science class was never this fun’

Interview with Deeya Nayar, Senior Editor, Tulika Publishers
by Fiona Fernandez for Mid-Day, Mumbai, February 2013

Fiona: How did you conceive the idea of this series on science for children?

Deeya: Tulika had always wanted to do science concept books for younger children, in an imaginative way. Since it’s for little children, ideas would have to be conveyed visually. The idea fell into place when we decided to partner Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru, for a classroom project. Working with young, creative design students with fresh ideas seemed full of possibilities for a project like this.

F: What were the visual and editorial challenges while breaking down every concept in it?

D: Very challenging indeed! We had to work very closely with the students. First we did an orientation programme for the whole class, showing different kinds of science picture books for them to understand how pictures and text could go together. The class was then divided into groups, and we gave them all a set of science facts on each of the five different topics – Space, Water, Air, Earth and Earth’s Surface. Each group came up with its own approach, from which we selected the one that worked best for us. Then the group started actual work on the books. We constantly gave editorial feedback and suggestions for visuals that the group fine-tuned. We worked on the text, had the science information checked out through various sources, and finally had it all translated by translators who either had science backgrounds or consulted science people. A long and meticulous process! Visuals had to be attractive and we had to spin an appealing enough story for young children, while all the time communicating science through simple language and in a completely accurate way.

F: Were these fantasy adventures test driven? And if yes, what were the initial findings?

D: The format of the classroom project involved an initial study, which helped the students come up with specific ideas. They were very aware of the fact that science could be immediately branded as boring and difficult by a lot of children, and that’s what they had to counter first. The idea of fantasy adventures brought in that edge of excitement – where would Super-seed Beeji go, what would happen to little Boondi in the cloud…

Read the article at http://archive.mid-day.com/lifestyle/2013/feb/180213-science-class-was-never-this-fun.htm