Filling the gap – Vani Kaul (12 YRS), Svara Kaul (7 YRS)
Vani and Svara are two sisters who despite being 5 years apart get along better than most siblings. They have varied interests; one loves Bollywood dancing, and the other is a Kathak dancer (Indian Classical dance). One likes to bake, and the other can write an essay on Lep’s world (a popular video game). Despite the differences in their personalities, both sisters decided to work together to write (and illustrate) an E-Book during the Hong Kong school closures. The book as Vani hopes will “give people new perspectives by viewing this crisis through children’s eyes.”
The inspiration of the book came from both girls observing how the pandemic, school closures and social distancing affected their lives and the lives of their friends in Hong Kong. Vani at 12 understood a lot more than Svara (7 yrs.) and saw the struggle younger kids (and many around her age) faced with the massive change in their lives. After many discussions with their parents about how to help children better understand what was happening, they decided to create the book.
The parents helped the girls with the initial draft but left them to do most of the work together. “I did a lot of research to understand the pandemic better. This involved reading magazines like the Time Magazine, newspaper articles and other online resources”, says Vani. While Svara contributed by creating engaging and colourful drawings.
“Mankind’s Reckoning” takes the reader through the origin of the virus, talks about doctors and health care workers, personal experiences of their family while dealing with stressful situations that arose during this time, and more.
One of the main messages of the book is the effect on the environment and the impact on animal habitats. As the young author tells us, “this book urges the reader to think more about the impact of our actions and how we need to change them to have a more sustainable environment.”
Both sisters are planning on writing a second book about post-COVID life. Their first “Mankind’s Reckoning” is available here –