animals, author spotlight

Author Spotlight: Divya Srinivasan

Divya Srinivasan was born in Pondicherry, India, and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was five. Divya’s education led her to receive a Bachelor of Science in Computation and Neural Systems and a Master of Engineering in Signal Processing. Not necessarily the educational background you would expect for a children’s lit author, but as this Author Spotlight series has shown, these writers come from highly diverse backgrounds. Divya came to picture books through her artwork, getting to collaborate with the band They Might Be Giants on several of their kid-oriented albums. Her debut came with 2011’s Little Owl’s Night, propelling her to write and publish eight more books and collaborate with other writers like Neil Gaiman. 

Little Owl’s Night (Viking Books for Young Readers)

For ages: 1-5
This was the debut of Divya’s most prolific protagonist, Little Owl. He loves everything about the nighttime, and so do his friends. Little Owl observes Hedgehog digging for truffles and Turtle hiding in her shell while fireflies blink in the night sky. But it’s Bear who is snoring away in his cave that concerns Little Owl, who worries that the big fuzzy fellow has never seen the stars. Eventually, Momma Owl tells her little one about how the night ends and describes in lovely detail what the daytime is like. This is one of those extremely cozy stories perfect for a chilly night as you tuck your kids into bed.

Little Owl’s Day (Viking Books for Young Readers)

For ages: 1-5
For the first time, Little Owl wakes up during the daytime and gets to see the wonders he’s only ever dreamt of. We follow along as he gets to see butterflies, flowers, bees, and more as his nighttime world is completely transformed. Bear is awake this time and acts as Little Owl’s guide, showing him the beauty of rainbows over a waterfall. In the end, Bear stays awake so he can see the beauty of Little Owl’s nighttime moon. Divya’s illustrations pop here with a mix of watercolors and layered patterns. This is naturally the perfect companion piece to Little Owl’s Night, and many more books are in the series.

Octopus Alone (Viking Books for Young Readers)

For ages: 2-6
Octopus is painfully shy, but she must make a long journey through the ocean. Along the way, she encounters a host of sea creatures who want to get to know her better. Most impressive is her encounter with a blue whale, where pages must be unfolded to capture the accurate scale of the beast. What’s remarkable is how Divya stays true to the body of scientific knowledge surrounding octopi, with Octopus showing all the same behaviors that can be observed in the actual animal. She changes her colors to hide, squirts ink to escape potential threats, and squeezes herself into tight spots. This is a fantastic beginning text for children interested in animals, particularly marine life.

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