ACLiSa's Concept and Logo:
When we were conceptualising and planning ACLiSA, we spent a lot of time brainstorming about the kind of logo we wanted. A logo is often, especially with social media being a prime way of reaching out to the target audience, the first layer of visibility for any organisation. The perfect logo should encapsulate and embody their ethos and philosophy in a unique metaphor, but how could we distill a concept as abstract as childhood into tangible, visible language? We wanted something that would speak to the child we have all been, but also honour the maturity we have gained since. It would clearly clarify that our organisation exists to promote children’s literature in South Asia and build a thriving community around it, but it would also emphatically express the idea that children’s literature works on nostalgic, psychological levels for the consumer – child and adult. Where would we find something that says so much?
We knew we wanted a child to draw something for it, but what would we ask them to draw? We wanted to work with children and respect them as creators as we wanted to work for them and offer them a platform, but who would we ask? By some stroke of luck, Ritwika received a drawing in May 2021 which was the answer to all our hopes. We had our logo even before we had a name. Her baby sister Aarshiya Mukherjee’s mother – Ritwika’s aunt – sent her a drawing Aarshiya had done that day.
It was a little girl looking into a mirror, framed by her perception of her own home.
To us the image of the child looking into the mirror was like the path which would take us on the journey to look back on our own childhoods and lives, and one we wanted others to take along with us. If we were to psychoanalyse, perhaps it could be read as an illustration of Lacan’s concept of the Mirror Stage in development. It indeed seemed to say that we must reconnect with ourselves and follow the little girl who laid the path for us, as children’s authors have followed their protagonists for decades.
So we had the base. We unanimously agreed that we would have the ACLiSA acronym and the outline map of South Asia framing the drawing. We gave Aarshiya a ‘hard drawing’ and Ritwika and Titas were soundly scolded by her for it but the three individual pieces of the logo were done. The drawing would naturally require digitisation for use on the website and our social media platforms, the work of which was undertaken by Ahona, who blended her artistic style with Aarshiya’s bringing it all together in soft shades.
Click to know what Aarshiya thinks of her experience of making the logo.
An ardent lover of all things fictional, Ahona loves to disappear in the world of ink and paint. Hailing from Kolkata she pursued her undergraduate and postgraduate studies from Presidency and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) respectively. Post-graduating in the pandemic, her favourite memories from her gap-year include sharing children’s literature with children as a middle-grade teacher at St. Mary’s School, Safdarjung. Spurred on by her childhood habit of talking too much, she built Project Chatterbox with CCYSC, an initiative to map the underrepresented voices of children. She loves how kids delight in little things and the hope nascent in children’s literature. She is fond, in no particular order, of cats, winter, piano playlists, dance workouts and apple pies. Her biggest regret is failing to learn the hula hoop from her niece.
ACLiSA mamma bear, Dr. Anurima Chanda, survives entirely on copious amounts of coffee (which she’s trying to cut down) and the anticipation of spring (which seems to be left nowhere anymore). Assistant Professor at the Department of English, Birsa Munda College, North Bengal University, she completed her PhD on Taboos in 21st Century Indian English Children’s Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Also a Children’s Author, published with Scholastic and DK, she challenges some of the very taboos in her writings that her doctoral thesis hoped to expose. When not engaging in her favourite pastimes of dancing, painting or enjoying the theatre she can be found lovingly investing in all the mamma-bear responsibilities of the hub. What she loves most about children is that they can be so brazenly honest, while her academic interest in children’s literature is motivated by the fact that there is still so much to deconstruct!
A believer of all things imaginative, Arpita can be seen spewing stories and sharing it with her friends and colleagues. A crazy mixture of cynicism and humor, Arpita is an activist who fights for equal rights and is vocal about her beliefs. Arpita has worked on Folktales of Bengal during her MPhil from University of Delhi tracing the agency of Bengali children in earlier works. Currently, she is a PhD scholar at The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Education working on Disability, Education, and Ethnography which aims at bringing the voices of marginalized children to the forefront. As an ardent lover of storytelling, she reads and spends time with children in different settings to gather more stories and experiences. She believes that children should have more power and authority over their stories and it is time children’s voices are given the due representation they always deserved. In her free time, Arpita loves cooking her favorite Bengali dishes that feed her cravings and homesickness while watching her favorite detective or horror movies.
A genuine fangirl and trenchant thinker, Ritwika spends her time reading, singing or watching Disney/Barbie movies with her eight year old baby sister. Graduating in English from Loreto College, Kolkata she went on to pursue her MA and MPhil from the Department of English, Jadavpur University (JUDE) from where she’s currently working on her doctoral research project on Mental Health in Contemporary Indian Children’s Literature and is preoccupied with issues of power, silence and infantilization in Children’s Literature. A major ornithophobe, an ex-potterhead (you know who avada kedavra-ed that!), a Whovian, Lucifian and Japanophile, Ritwika is also a kindred spirit to all Anne Shirleys out there. Besides reading and writing, she’s a ballerina in her dreams, loves to cook and read fanfiction to de-stress and is extremely fond of rainy days that come with dried laundry. Mostly, she is awed by the ability of children’s literature to act as a mirror and door to a time grown-ups are easy to forget and children are eager to grow out of and is determined to bring kidlit produced in South Asia to the international academic table.
A lover of languages and lemon tarts, Titas can be found speaking elfin tongues or spinning globes with the little ones around her. Cat person and resident paleonto-phile, she is the go-to confidante and saviour for juniors from Presidency University, Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) from where she pursued her BA, MA and Mphil respectively. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Chicago, her research looks into the concerns of twentieth century Indian children’s literature. Her love for children has carried her through the corridors of Cambridge School, Sriniwaspuri where she taught English to middle graders and to Birbhum where she helped organise workshops for children supported by the Sayambharataa NGO. When not mapping mischief or thinking about dinosaurs, she can be found drinking copious amounts of black coffee and fiddling with her nose-pin, deep in thought.
All artwork in this page has been done by Tanurima Chanda.