One of the main challenges facing publishing houses that target young readers here is Indian parents. They are the ones who buy the books– and they usually want their sons and daughters to learn, rather than just enjoy a fairy tale.
The bizarre result is that when it comes to children’s books in India, there’s much more nonfiction than playful fantasy.
“All that sells is nonfiction,” said Sayoni Basu, editor of children’s publishing house Scholastic.
“Parents don’t want their children to read about teddies,” said Jerry Pinto, who writes about both Bollywood screen sirens and stuffed animals. His last book for children was “A Bear for Felicia” (2008).
Instead, parents are often drawn to simplified versions of seminal texts, which are some of the biggest sells. Those are great stories too—but they come laden with life lessons that some children’s publishers say can be a little heavy.