Writer in Residence: Rashmi Sirdeshpande
Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer or Illustrator in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books.
Our current Writer in Residence is Rashmi Sirdeshpande.
Sirdeshpande will use her residency to champion the benefits of an underrated form of storytelling: children’s non-fiction books and factual books. The theme of her time as BookTrust’s Writer in Residence will be: “Using factual books to fascinate young readers” and will encourage children and grown-ups to discover mind-enriching facts together.
During her residency, Sirdeshpande will talk about the magic of curiosity and wonder, and how this can be cultivated in children through sharing non-fiction books. She will explore how factual books can open children’s eyes, make them laugh, make them think, spark interesting conversations with others, and help turn empathy into action. Her message for families is choosing to read non-fiction together is a powerful way to bond, to find common interests and to have fun.
Rashmi Sirdeshpande is the author of award-winning children’s books including Never Show a T-Rex a Book (illustrated by Diane Ewen), Dadaji’s Paintbrush (illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane), and Good News: Why The World is Not as Bad as You Think (illustrated by Adam Hayes). A former World Book Day author, Rashmi has won a number of awards, including the Diverse Book Awards and the Society of Authors Queen’s Knickers Award, which celebrates “outstanding” picture books. Her factual book Good News was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards, Best Book with Facts. Having been diagnosed with autism and ADHD as an adult, Sirdeshpande is an advocate for representing neurodivergent perspectives in children’s literature.
As a creator of both children’s picture books for pre-schoolers, and factual books for primary school age children, Sirdeshpande has experience in capturing the imagination and interest of a broad range of young readers. Her picture books promote creativity and lateral thinking, while her non-fiction titles encourage children to self-reflect, explore their personal interests, and stay curious about the world around them.
Rashmi Sirdeshpande says:
“As BookTrust’s new Writer in Residence, I’d love to get children and grown-ups reading more factual books together. I want to see those shared moments of reading spark conversations and awaken inner storytellers.
I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD aged 39. Looking back, I see why factual books were always so perfect for me as a child. I could follow my areas of intense interests down the deepest rabbit holes. But I believe factual books are truly for everyone – neurotypical readers, too – because we’re all curious about the world. I want people to see that these books can make reading accessible and irresistible.
I love seeing children's eyes light up when they discover a fascinating fact, and you can see they're bursting to share it with someone. Today, in this golden age of children’s factual books, there is so much richness and variety.
If you find the right book, it brings children (and grown-ups) together in a shared ‘wow’ moment that can really stay with them. I've seen it. It sets children on an amazing path of loving books and loving learning.”
A beautifully tender story about love, art and death, set in India.
Mae bachgen yn byw mewn pentref bach yn yr India gyda'i dadaji (taid). Maen nhw'n gwneud popeth gyda'i gilydd – o werthu ffrwythau yn y farchnad i hwylio cychod papur. Ond yn fwy na dim, maen nhw wrth eu boddau'n paentio gyda'i gilydd.
This inspirational non-fiction picture book introduces children to extraordinary people from across the world and throughout history. Selected from a range of disciplines, the 15 featured individuals are united by common themes of hard work and perseverance.
Split into six chapters, We’ve Got This! explores what empathy is, how it works, using empathy, learning to recognise emotions, being a good communicator and, finally, puts it all together to help you become an empathy superhero.
Previous Writers in Residence
Previous writers to take up the post include Matt Haig, Laura Dockrill, Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell and Patrick Ness – see what fun things they all got up to during their time in residence.
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