I loved reading growing up. Arthur and Harry Potter were my jam, but I didn’t have much significant South Asian exposure in terms of literary heroes. Fast-forward about two decades, and I was introduced to Bharat Babies. This company creates children’s books that focus on South Asian — most specifically, Indian — heritage. I was so excited to see a book focused on the Hindu God Ganesha, a well-known and well-loved deity. I totally wish I had age-appropriate books that told cute stories about Lord Ganesha growing up! Their illustrations are so beautiful and endearing, and I strongly urge each of you to take a look. Here’s what Bharat Babies CEO and Founder had to say about this exciting new company.
Name: Sailaja N. Joshi
Occupation: CEO and Founder of Bharat Babies
Favorite Book Growing Up: A Wrinkle in Time series, Brave New World, and the Harry Potter series.
Black Nerd Problems: Please tell us about yourself!
Sailaja N. Joshi: I’m the CEO and Founder of Bharat Babies. In addition to that, I have two little ones who I love hanging out with, and an awesome husband who also enjoy hanging out with!
BNP: Where did the idea of Bharat Babies originally come from?
Sailaja: I was pregnant with my first child and my husband’s aunt was throwing us a library-themed baby shower. I was trying to add diverse books to my gift registry and well, I didn’t like the stories I saw, so I decided to write a new one!
BNP: How was the path to creating your own stories?
Sailaja: Truthfully, story writing, especially for children, is incredibly difficult. I learned this early on and that’s why we’ve hired both authors and illustrators. As the CEO and Founder of Bharat Babies, my mission is that every child have an opportunity to see themselves in the stories they read.
BNP: How do you go about creating the story lines for your books?
Sailaja: I work with our authors and cultural adviser to examine what might work best in the market and what stories NEED to be told. In the two years we’ve been open, I’m happy to say that its actually really our authors who will turn in an amazing script and the team is like, “Well we just gotta print this book!”
BNP: What have the responses been to your books?
Sailaja: We’ve been pretty overwhelmed by the response we’ve received from customers. Both Indian and non-Indian customers alike seem to love our books.
BNP: What do you hope to convey to your readers and your audience about Bharat Babies?
Sailaja: I want our readers to see themselves in our books. Whether you’re Indian, or non-Indian, Hindu or Muslim, children can relate to many of our tales. I want our Muslim readers to rejoice as they celebrate Eid-al-fitur with Amal, while our non-Muslim counterparts recognize themselves as they see other communities celebrate holidays and family.
BNP: What are your goals for the future?
Sailaja: This year we’ll be putting out at least two more books, one which is a new addition to our product line, a simple story. We also hope to get access to more funding so we can continue to produce media and materials to help children, parents, and educators provide children with diverse stories.
*All pictures provided by Sailaja N. Joshi