The ‘The Making of Heroes: The Adventures of Zoe and Scruffy’, incorporates topics such as divorce, adoption and gender neutrality
Television show host, radio jockey, and ‘accidental’ actor Mamathi Chari asked her “ex-husband’s daughter from his previous marriage” — a few questions about the girl’s favourite things. These included her ideal character or hero, what would their name be, an animal that would be their best friend and favourite kind of story. The answers then became a book that Mamathi wrote as a birthday gift for the child’s eighth birthday. Two years later, she followed it up with a ‘Part II’ as a gift for her 10th birthday. Both these books have now become part of The Making of Heroes: The Adventures of Zoe and Scruffy, Mamathi’s first book for children. But she has written under the pseudonym Maya Spark – “the eternal child in her, living in a world of illusion”.
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The book is about Zoe Gowda, an eight-year-old girl from Bengaluru, who moves to Switzerland with her mother following her parents’ divorce, and Scruffy, her adopted dog. Zoe aspires to be a ‘detective’ like Nancy Drew, and Scruffy, a canine with superpowers, secretly assists on her adventures.
Scruffy and his friend, Outstanding Oliver, a mouse, have their own adventures guided by a wise weasel, Yokai Hitso, who has lived for more than 100 years. The duo helps the animal world — saving endangered animals, helping those in distress, and preventing the smuggling of the exotic among them.
“These are real, for instance, one of Scruffy and Oliver’s adventures are about saving lapwings in Europe, which are endangered.” Mamathi says the research was old-fashioned — “Reference books, rather than Google because I wanted to verify facts and not get them wrong.” She has done some pencil sketches for the 288-page book; the cover is also by her with help from artist Sourish Mitra in colouring and graphics.
What makes the book even more special is that it will be released on July 14 at her alma mater, Sacred Heart Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Church Park, in the presence of students. She wanted the principal of the school, Sister Prabha, who was also the principal when Mamathi was in school, to release it. “She is one of the kindest people I know. She told me how proud she was, and wanted me to release the book at school. This is what an alma mater should be — a nourishing, soul mother!”
The proceeds from the sale of the book, published by Readomania’s imprint for kids, Kurious Kids, will go, in perpetuity, to Blue Cross of India and the Spastics Society of Tamil Nadu.
The book is available on Amazon, Kindle and Readomania.com