Bharat Babies on My Little Pudding

By Sailaja Joshi

The post was originally published on My Little Pudding in December, 2015

Looking for age appropriate books about our rich Indian heritage? With vocabulary and illustrations that children will understand? Well look no further folks, because Bharat Babies does just that!

Finally there is a children’s book company that tells the stories of India’s diverse culture. (And boy did we need one!) When Founder, Sailaja Joshi was pregnant she first realized the dearth of Indian literature suitable for young readers. Growing up, her mother shared so many stories that she wanted to do the same with her children. And this is how Bharat Babies was born.

These heartwarming stories capture the hearts of young readers from both Indian and Non- Indian households. The have produced books that are perfect for children from birth to elementary school. I love how diverse their titles are too, from “Let’s Celebrate Diwali” to “Amal’s Eid” this is such a wonderful way to introduce religion and culture to our little ones and more importantly to start a dialogue.

I spoke to Sailaja and loved hearing her perspective about how important it is to retain a sense of identity. Her enthusiasm is definitely contagious and I can’t wait to see what Bharat Babies has in store for us!

We love your mission! There is a definite gap in children’s literature that ignores Indian heritage and cultural identity. What do you hope children and parents take away after reading one of the Bharat Babies books?

​I’m hoping children get to see themselves in the books they get to read every night before going to bed or at school. I’m hoping caregivers and educators also feel empowered to explore and teach about different cultures and communities through our books.

How do you develop stories and characters? Do you use real life experiences as inspiration?

​So many of our stories are from our own childhood! Hanuman and the Orange Sun is a story my mom use to tell me growing up. Harini is a little Telugu girl, just like me and my sister. So many of ​our stories are rooted in our own experiences of being the children of Indian immigrants.

Let’s Celebrate Diwali, Written by Anjali Joshi, Illustrated by Tim Palin

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

One of the biggest challenges we face as a company is financing our production runs. We have been really lucky in 2015 to receive some angel support but going forward we’re hopping to investigate options like investors.

What are some of the exciting things readers can look forward to from Bharat Babies in the future?

Just this past month we launched our first piece of merchandise, a memory game! It’s such a wonderful way to engage children in activities that help to build cognitive skills. We will also be producing a couple more books that feature some of our recurring characters likes Amal and Ganesh and Little Mouse.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurial mothers who might be toying with an idea or concept?

JUST DO IT! I remember last year at this time Bharat Babies really was just getting started and every step has felt overwhelming but it’s such a wonderful process. You’ll never know that you can do it if you don’t try!

Do you have any special home grown traditions?

Man! One of my favorite traditions is celebrating Vralakshmi Vratham and Ganesh Chaturti with my family. I’m really looking forward to engaging my older daughter Ojo in Vralakshmi Vratham this year and she truly enjoys doing puja with all her devas!

Can you tell us what a typical day is like for you?

How do you balance family time and work? Ha! Life is a constant balance! I actually also work full time so my day starts around 5:30 am feeding my second child, while checking e-mails. I’m out the door by 7:45 am and will catch up on social media for BB during my first pumping session at 9 am. During lunch, I try to also take meetings/respond to emails and then my BB day doesn’t start until 8pm or so. I have an incredibly supportive husband who encourages me to take meetings after work/post bedtime so he’s often left alone wrangling two kids under two.

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