Toka Box Online Children's Book Festival 2021

A Celebration of South Asian Children's Books from All Over the World

19th to 27nd Februrary, 2021

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Why You Should Not Miss It!

Interact With Authors and Illustrators

Award winning children's book creators will conduct interactive Zoom sessions for children!

Hear Industry Experts Speak

Authors will discuss various industry related topics on Instagram Live!

Books From Around The Globe!

It is a global event as we meet creators across time zones!


Meet the Speakers

Ashok Rajagopalan

Ashok Rajagopalan is an Indian writer and artist who has written and illustrated over 500 children's books. He has also worked as a graphic designer, freelance cartoonist, and has contributed to the children's magazines Impulse Hoot and Impulse Toot. He first began illustrating children's stories with a piece in the 1989 magazine Junior Quest. Before working in illustration Rajagopalan received a mechanical engineering diploma and worked as a marketing executive. Rajagopalan has worked on textbooks, picture books, children’s magazines, novels, non-fiction books and cartoons—the publishers he has worked with range from Tulika to Scholastic and Oxford University Press.

Bijal Vachharajani

When Bijal Vachharajani is not reading a children’s book, she is writing or editing one. Her books include A Cloud Called Bhura, which won the AutHer Children’s Book Award 2020, So You Want to Know About the Environment, What’s Neema Eating Today? and The Seed Savers. A senior editor at Pratham Books, she has co-authored 10 Indian Champions Who Are Fighting to Save the Planet and The Great Indian Nature Trail with Uncle Bikky. She has a Masters in Environment Security and Peace from the the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. She is now a certified climate worrier.    

Radha Rangarajan

Radha Rangarajan is usually found lost in either a forest or a book. A photographer, Radha dabbles in filmmaking, art, and writing. She is the Editor at Nature inFocus and also curates and edits stories for JLR Explore. She's a natural history buff and is partial to elephants, fungi, owls, and trees. Radha has written and guest-edited over twelve picture books for children, all of which have been published by Pratham Books, and has co-authored a non-fiction book on Indian environmental heroes, published by Duckbill-Penguin. She tweets as @missgoobe and posts as @radharangarajan on Instagram.

Shruthi Rao

Shruthi Rao ( is an author and editor. She has a Master’s degree in energy engineering, and worked in the IT industry before she started writing. She is the author of Susie Will Not Speak (2018, Duckbill), Manya Learns to Roar (2017, Duckbill), The Secret Garden (2016, NSI), Avani and the Pea Plant (2016, Pratham) among others. She loves books, desserts, trees, benches, science and long walks. Shruthi is obsessed with learning about new things, and believes that there is always more to everything than meets the eye.

Vanitha Veerasamy

Originally from Singapore, Vanitha lives in Sydney with her husband and 2 little children. Having worked as a Marketing Manager for over 8 years, Vanitha holds a Masters degree in Business Administration. Vanitha started Vaaranam Children's Books in 2017, due to the lack of good quality and engaging Tamil books for little children. She has produced 6 children's books to date in Tamil and has sold them worldwide. Vanitha is currently working on her next 2 book projects.  

Niyatee Sharma

Niyatee Sharma is an interior architect and writer who loves to look at the world through the curious eyes of her two children. Keen on alternate and sustainable ways of living, she believes in the power of stories to change the world. Niyatee is the author of The Runaway Peacock, The Tomato Flood, The Tomato Thief and What Can I Be?

Lesley D. Biswas

Lesley D. Biswas is a children’s author with over 25 years of experience as a freelance writer. She grew up in McCluskiegunj and is now based in Kolkata. She writes about the environment, food, culture and parenting, but her heart lies in writing children’s stories and is the author of Unlucky Chumki, her debut book. She is passionate about nature, bird photography and cricket.

Nancy Raj

Nancy Raj is a graphic designer and illustrator who works with companies and publications. She likes to spread energy and laughter through her pictures - which is why she loves doing comic strips and caricatures, and creating pictures for children.

Monique Chedda

Monique Chheda, MD is a dermatologist and children's picture book author. She resides in Maryland with her husband and two children. Becoming a mother inspired her to revive her passion for writing. Finding a scarcity of children's literature that featured South Asian characters and highlighted South Asian heritage, she decided to become a voice for these stories.

Debasmita Dasgupta

Debasmita Dasgupta is a Singapore-based, internationally published Kirkus-Prize-nominated picture book illustrator and graphic novel artist. She enjoys drawing both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. Working closely with publishers across the world, she has illustrated over 10 picture books, comics and poems. Widely known as an art-for-change advocate, Debasmita tells stories of changemakers from around the world partnering with global non-profits. Her art is exhibited in Italy, Singapore, Thailand, Denmark and more than 40 international media outlets have featured it.

Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is a Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Khoa Le

Khoa Le is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and painter based in Vietnam. She describes her work as whimsical, dark, yet vibrant and combines traditional and digital processes to create her final pieces. Based in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Khoa is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books. In addition to her work in publishing, she has a few other side jobs such as graphic designer and painter. As a painter, she has participated in several groups and 2 solo exhibitions, in Vietnam and other Asian countries. Khoa is also a proud mom of 5 cats.

Farida Zaman

Farida Zaman is a Toronto based illustrator author and educator known for her upbeat, bright friendly yet sophisticated and whimsical style. she has been drawing since she was old enough to pick up a pencil and the first thing she can remember drawing was flowers. A children’s author and an artist, she travelled with her family from a very young age and lived all over the world, along with her South Asian roots. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Canadian Society of Authors, Illustrators and Performers. She lives in Toronto, where she collaborates on writing projects with her daughter, and is inspired by her son and her husband. She works in her studio which is filled with leafy plants, light and is kept company by her small Coton de Tulear dog Pippa!

Event Schedule

Friday, Feb 19 6:30 pm PST


The author of beloved Gajapati Kulapati, Ashok Rajagopalan, is here to regale your children with a read-aloud and a drawing activity!

Friday, Feb 19 9:00 pm PST


A conversation with Bijal Vachharajani, Shruthi Rao, and Radha Rangarajan about writing non-fiction books for children

Saturday, Feb 20 5:30 pm PST


Author Vanitha Veerasamy will read from her book "Paati Veedu" and lead children in a fun interactive session in English and Tamil

Saturday, Feb 20 8:00 pm PST


Childrens' book authors Niyatee Sharma, Lesley D Biswas and Nancy Raj discuss children's books from India!

Tuesday, Feb 23 5:30 pm PST


Monique Chedda and Debasmita Dasgupta discuss their book "Bindiya in India" and children's literature in the diaspora.

Thursday, Feb 25 8:00 am PST


Thrity Umrigar and Khoa Le talk about their book "Sugar in Milk" and what's next for children's literature from South Asia

Saturday, Feb 27 9:00 am PST


Farida Zaman will read aloud from her book "I Want To Be.. A Gutsy Girls' ABC" and lead a fun interactive activity!

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