Ds Scholarship

A journal for young children who the world has passed by

Apple Press has been created with care using handcrafted paper and personal attention. PrintWeek talks to Tansy Troy and Dikshit Sharma, to understand how the book was produced, but more importantly about the importance of education in these challenging times.

In these very pages we have written how the pandemic has been particularly hard on children from poor backgrounds. We’ve also written about the people and organizations who are struggling to get around this. One example is The Apple Press, a youth magazine, edited by Tansy Troy, and designed by Dikshit Sharma, whose dream was to be in the midst of Manali orchards when material resources were required for young people in remote Himalayan communities while educating. closures.

Printed on khadi paper and hand-rolled, rich with stories, poetry, photographs, and illustrations on five themes—star, creature, bird, tree, and earth, the first issue of Apple Press is now out. And for every copy purchased from Apple Press, another copy is given to a young person with limited access to technology and educational resources.

The magazine has been printed on hand-recycled rag paper by Anand’s iconic booksellers and stationaries at Delhi’s Khan Market, and was hand-bound by needle experts from the Karigarh community.

In October 2021, Troy and Sharma launched this inaugural issue for the young monks of the remote Vogtal Monastery in Zanskar, the children of Manali peddlers and the children of the Da Hanu tribe in Ladakh, where copies of the magazine will be distributed free of charge.

Excerpts from an interview with Tansy Troy and Dikshit Sharma

PrintWeek (PW): Congratulations on the inaugural edition of Apple Press. The case looks solid. What is your way of working?
Dikshit Sharma (DS):
We are taking it slow, embracing it all for a deeper understanding and connection with the audience, readers and viewers. Letting things flow infinitely, using the method of spacing and meeting.
Tansy Troy (TT): We’ve been exceptionally lucky with the inaugural Apple Press release. The generosity of the artistic community was second to none. Our “way”, if we already have one, is to keep communicating, keep communicating, act like fires, and love every moment. It was great to showcase famous artists and writers alongside the newcomers, usually kids. For me, it has kept this content on my toes.

PW: The reaction of the young monks at Vogtal Monastery in Zanskar?
Unfortunately we haven’t gotten to them yet! Before their workshop leader Rinchen Kalsang and his team arrived, heavy snowfall in Zanskar stopped play, closing all roads to Phugtal. Some of the big Phugtal lamas, who have been in Manali, blessed our launch of the Takbir with their prayers and have since been seen at the local bookstore, digging deeply into the Apple Press copies. Now that the weather has somewhat shaped our time frame, we’ve decided to take a larger crew to Phugtal next spring when the trails open.

PW: School street kids’ reaction to your telling of stories who usually sell balloons, etc.?
This has been one of the greatest eye-opening things for the entire project so far. I would have expected that an English language magazine, however rich in illustrations, might have a somewhat limited appeal to this particular group of young people. The interest and focus of the Nepalese refugee and pier school students, from the beginning of the story (bilingual) to the completion of the last bird puppet and prayer flag, was nothing short of outstanding, making me realize how seriously our underprivileged students take creative opportunities.

PW: Also, what is the magazine’s response to Dikshit’s trips in Shantiniketan and Kalimpong?
At Shantiniketan, she showed it to an artist friend from Turkey and she and her friends inspired her and her friends to contribute to the next issue. I also took Apple Press to a popular bookstore in Darjeeling and they might be interested in stocking some copies.

PW: One response in Manali sparked your imagination?
The orchards are transformed from bare branches covered in snow to their fruit.
TT: An illustrator who works at the Natural History Museum in London and is also a resident of Manali at one point wrote us an email. He picked up his copy of the Apple Press in the Bookworm and enjoyed it so much that he sent us a slew of great illustrations for use in our next issue. Seeing such beautiful work inspired thousands of ideas for new stories!

PW: What are you working on next?
In addition to the next edition of the AP, a book documenting the life and times of the last tribal queen Teesta Kha (Zanskar). This visual narrative hopes to be a book to accompany a photographic exhibition in Zanskar.
TT: The next issue of Apple Press! and a poetic book by an artist on each of the nine heads, illustrated with abstract drawings by Dakshit.

PW: Your first memories of a book?
Hmmm… The images that come to me when I think of the past are from these huge encyclopedias that we had. Although I wouldn’t understand much, I would have gone through the pictures and captured the information visually.
TT: To me, the amazing first edition of Mary Cicely Barker’s book Lord of the Rushie River. When I was five years old, the illustrations (color paintings and line illustrations) completely fascinated me. I remember being shown this lovely little book by an impressive and aristocratic friend of my mother, who might have been a relative of Edith Sitwell or Winston Churchill. We met her in London and she was in love with a young Russian woman who was completely addicted to alcohol. I feel to this day escaping into the solace and sanctuary of this beautiful book while the adult world of romance and hopeless adventure ran over my head.

PW: One school/college book that was awfully taught?
History books are stealing facts and memorizing them without any benefit.
TT: Racine Vader, in Cambridge. Since then, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this classic. At the time of reading, it was written in an animal-like verse enough to keep you away from French for life.

PW: One book that changed/shaped your view of literature?
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Bersig.
TT: Very difficult: it must be at least three complete works. Traveling around India with my mother when I was 11, I insisted on taking the full works of Shaw, Wilde and Shakespeare on every epic train journey we took. No doubt these huge volumes rightly annoyed many station-bearers who had to carry my mobile library on their heads: but they forever taught and shaped my understanding of English literature.

PW: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received on your trip?
More than just advice I think the collaborative effort, discussion and ever-changing brainstorming of ideas together has been as helpful as any good advice.
TT: Advice from Dixit, indeed. Start small.

PW: One surviving author you’d like to write for your next book?
Most of them are dead but I want Banksy to send an anonymous contribution!
TT: So many, it’s hard to pick just one. Do I have three? Arundhati Roy, Mark Tolly and Jerry Pinto.

PW: One book quote that you like to quote?
By Henry David Thoreau: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
TT: Let’s get one for Apple Press from William Butler Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Aengus”: and pluck until time and times run out / Silver Moon Apples / Golden Sun Apples.

PW: Advice for others who would like to repeat AP storytelling sessions?
Keep it live, make your own props and puppets, engage your audience with genuine interest, and offer skills to support their storytelling.

PW: Message for the printing and paper industry (if any)?
Be as eco-friendly as possible: Think recycled paper, vegetable inks, and be safe with the printed word: it lives on.

Educating children during the epidemic

PW: While the actual schools are closed, online lessons appear to be continuing, via smartphones, through audio-visual media. How do you think the introduction of these online teaching methods has affected the overall development of a child?
TT: Having just returned to teaching on campus after a year and a half of online classes, we can certainly say that this electronic style of teaching has affected both teachers and students so deeply that we all have to re-learn how to be together in a room, how We are a group, a community. The children began displaying behavior that translated as a kind of starvation of tangible resources! Things run in class like never before. Most books seem less knowledgeable than before, and there is another way to relearn. Fine motor skills are less accurate. Seems like a long learning distance ahead.

PW: In a country like India, the majority of the population is still not able to access the internet to access these online classes. What happens to these children? Did they miss their education for an entire year and can something be done about it? As someone who is involved in children’s literature, what is the solution to this problem? Community libraries could be an answer.
TT: I was reading great things about community libraries. It seems prime time for new resource banks, alternative centers of education, and arts centers, to start quenching or deepening roots in India. It is unlikely that the groups were closed together and new projects (such as Apple Press) were born as a direct result, along with many other creative projects.

PW: How has the pandemic affected the work in your organization and how are you dealing with the repercussions?
TT: Creative and divergent thinkers tend to experiment and experiment with new ideas in times of apparent disaster and during the breakdown of ‘normal’ social structures. So, the fallout can actually be translated as a moment to shape things anew.

PW: How do you see the future of children’s literature?
TT: In response to the second part of the question, I feel that there is a renaissance happening in children’s literature in India now. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable time to work with young people and in youth literature. Science teaches us a lot about the best way to learn; And here in India, there is such a huge, deep, and rich tradition of art, music and literature: finding ways to present this immense wealth to the younger generation is a great honor and a beautiful journey to be together.


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