Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 12, 2021

Book Giveaway: SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS by Rajani LaRocco

Rajani LaRocco has written a new picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS, illustrated by Rajani LaRocco and published by Lee & Low. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Rajani and Archana.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In this clever, convivial picture book, an Indian boy untangles a mathematical conundrum to win a place at the Rajah’s court.

In ancient India, a boy named Bhagat travels to the Rajah’s city, hoping to ensure his family’s prosperity by winning a place at court as a singer. Bhagat carries his family’s entire fortune–a single coin and a chain of seven golden rings–to pay for his lodging. But when the innkeeper demands one ring per night, and every link snipped costs one coin, how can Bhagat both break the chain and avoid overpaying? His inventive solution points the way to an unexpected triumph, and offers readers a friendly lesson in binary numbers–the root of all computing.

Booklist’s starred review noted that it “succeeds both as an entertaining read-aloud and as a teasing introduction to the binary system.” Publisher’s Weekly, in their starred review, called SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS “a deft and engaging introduction to a sometimes flummoxing subject.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Kathy, thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m thrilled to be here today talking about my book journey for my debut picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS: A TALE OF MUSIC AND MATH, published by Lee & Low Books!

I loved books from a very young age and wrote creatively through childhood and into college. But I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and I didn’t write much at all when I was in medical school and residency. Then I had my children, and I was busy balancing my career and family life.

Around 2011, I decided to come back to writing. I enrolled in writing classes and met fellow writers and joined critique groups, and around 2013, I decided to pursue publishing in earnest. SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS was one of the first picture book drafts I ever wrote.

I first drafted SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS in October 2013. The story was born from my memory of a logic puzzle I’d heard when I was a kid visiting my family in India. I took that puzzle, made it more complicated, and created a character who loved music and math (like my son) and who needed to solve this puzzle in order to save his family. I dreamed up a poor but clever boy named Bhagat (the name means “devoted” in Sanskrit) who wants to change his family’s fortunes by winning a place with the rajah as a singer. But Bhagat who finds himself faced with a math puzzle that stands in the way of his success.

I revised this story almost seventy times over four years, sometimes taking up to six months between drafts because I was working on other projects or working at my day job and raising my kids. I couldn’t find the right ending for this story. But I kept trying.

It wasn’t until three years after I first drafted SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS that I recognized the connection between the solution to Bhagat’s puzzle and binary numbers. So I wrote an author’s note that explained this connection, and why we care about binary numbers at all.

And the right ending to this story finally came to me almost four years after I first drafted it.

I’m so grateful that this story ultimately found the perfect home with Lee & Low and the perfect editor, Cheryl Klein, who helped me make it even better. And the brilliant illustrator, Archana Sreenivasan, brought Bhagat’s story to life more beautifully than I could have ever imagined.

It took about five years between the first draft and selling SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS, and another two years until it published in October 2020, but it was well worth the wait.

RAJANI’s BIO:

I was born in Bangalore, India and immigrated to the U.S. as a baby. I spent most of my childhood in Louisville, Kentucky.

I attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. I’ve been working as a primary care physician since 2001. I live in eastern Massachusetts with my wonderful husband, our two brilliant kids, and an impossibly cute dog.

I’ve always been an omnivorous reader – cereal boxes, comic books, fortune cookie fortunes, magazine articles, and, of course, novels. The books I read as a child helped shape who I am today in ways that I’m still discovering. Books inspired me to pursue medicine as a career; books made me yearn to live in different worlds; books helped me consider what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I still love realistic fiction with puzzles or riddles (like The Westing Game), realistic fiction with a touch of magic (like A Wrinkle in Time), and full-blown sci-fi and fantasy (like The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series). I also love anything to do with Shakespeare. I believe that promoting diversity in children’s literature leads to empathy, and empathy makes the world a better place.

One of the best things about writing for kids is meeting other people who write for kids. I’m a member of SCBWIGrub Street in Boston, The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA, and the 12 x 12 picture book community. I’m a proud Pitch Wars 2017 alum and 2018 and 2019 mentor! I’m a member of as incredible group of debut middle grade and young adult authors, the Novel Nineteens, a powerhouse group of debut picture book writers and illustrators, the Soaring 20s, as well as a group of awesome authors who write about STEAM topics, STEAMTeam2020!

I’m represented by the marvelous Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency.

I write middle grade novels and picture books. Some of my books reflect my experiences as an immigrant, book nerd, and foodie; some explain medical topics to kids. And some are just ideas that pop into my head and won’t go away.

And that’s only the beginning of the story…

ARCHANA’S BIO:

Archana Sreenivasan is a freelance illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her illustrations have been published in magazines, children’s books, book covers and comics. She finds the natural world and people watching most inspiring and engaging.

Archana Sreenivasan : Illustrator | DesiCreative

She is an alumna of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. In 2015 she attended the Summer Residency in Illustration at School of Visual Arts, NY.

Archana is represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary. For children’s book enquiries, contact stephanie@redfoxliterary.com. For all other queries, contact hello@archanasreenivasan.com.

Rajani, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I don’t know if this story is an old India folktale, but if it isn’t I can see it becoming one. Love that you included Math and music. It is sure to keep children interested and learning while reading this tale.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Such a beautiful book — text and art. Thank you so very much for sharing. It was a pleasure to get to know you better Rajani!

    Like

  2. Congratulations on your latest, Rajani! Looking forward to seeing ‘Seven Golden Rings’ on the shelves. The illustrations and concept sound fascinating!

    Like

  3. There’s nothing better than real world math content threaded through a tale!

    Like

  4. Congrats, Rajani! Can’t wait to read this book.

    (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)

    Like

  5. Congratulations, Rajani!

    Like

  6. I have been wanting to read this one, it looks wonderful!

    Like

  7. I’m fascinated and charmed by this story (and the author 🙂 ). Thanks for sharing the background!

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  8. Looks like a wonderful, diverse book that can also be used for math!

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  9. I own this fabulous creation! And I love Rajani’s story behind the making of Rings. So much attention to the fine details, including the STEM links. Love love love it!

    Like

  10. I’ve wanted to read this book since I first found out about it. Math and science are my favorite subjects. Thank you for sharing today! I signed up my email for your blog and shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/1349086309558710273

    Like

  11. What an awesome book. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks also for the resources. I’m going to look into a mentor program.

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  12. What a creative combination for a story! Can’t wait to read it. shared on Twitter!

    Like

  13. Reminds me of the old Aladdin/Sinbad stories I read as a kid. So much fun. Can’t wait to read.

    Like

  14. This story really intrigues me. I’m looking forward to reading it. The illustrations are beautiful, too!

    Kathy, I shared on twitter and I get your blog daily.

    Like

  15. I can’t wait to read 7 GOLDEN RINGS! I love stories with puzzles too.

    Kathy-I posted on twitter & read your blog daily.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    Like

  16. What a fantastic idea for a story. I can’t wait to read this!

    Like

  17. I can’t wait to read this book, Rajani! Congratulations!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂

    Like

  18. Great idea! I look forward to reading your book.

    Like


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