Editor's note: "A Bucket of Blessings" ranked No. 8 Sunday on the New York Times best-seller list for children's picture books.
"A Bucket of Blessings," a children’s book written by Sandy Springs resident Surishtha Sehgal and her adult son Kabir, has lessons for both kids and adults, the co-authors said.
The book, which will be published Tuesday by Simon and Schuster and is illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong, chronicles the story of Monkey, a character who tries to bring water to his village at a time of drought, but fails when water leaks out of the bottom of his bucket on his journey, and a peacock.
“It is really for children but adults can learn from it,” said Ms. Sehgal, founder and president of the Campus Community Partnership Foundation, a nonprofit raising awareness of the importance of education. “There are a lot of messages in it. It’s brought down to a child’s [reading level]. You learn to give back early in your life and you should. It’s who I am today. … I would like to have a book like this in every child’s hand.”
The story is based on a myth in India, where Ms. Sehgal was born and raised. She has lived in America for 42 years and in Sandy Springs for 34.
“When it rains in India, you see peacocks dancing,” Ms. Sehgal said. “They spread their beautiful feathers and dance when the rain is imminent. You see them all around, especially in monsoons. Connection between rain and peacocks can be found in Indian literature, in the arts like in the form of a peacock dance and in mythology as a depiction of Indra, the god of rain and thunder. We describe this under author’s note in the book.”
“This response would be mutigenerational. My mother [Chambeli] wanted me to write children’s books so when I decided to write my son who is an author said that it would be cool to write together as a mother-son team which was perfectly natural for me. So you can see the evolution of this book is multigenerational. … It has been a blessing to have [Kabir] work with me on this book.”
Sehgal, a Lovett graduate, grew up in Sandy Springs but now lives in New York, where he works as an investment banker. He has written two other books and his mother wrote one other children’s book. Sehgal said he and his mother were inspired to write the book after visiting India three years ago.
“I think this a great story [with] Earth Day coming up,” Sehgal said last week. “It’s a great way to share the importance of water. I grew up around the Chattahoochee River. We need to learn from a young age the importance of being stewards of the environment.
“Secondly, the message of this book is recognizing the blessings in your midst. Life does not always go according to plan, but a rainy day may be a blessing in disguise.”
With Earth Day this past Tuesday, the book’s publishing is coincidentally timed as the nation celebrates the environment. A percentage of proceeds from the book will go to Charity: Water, a New York-based nonprofit that brings clean water to people in need in countries where access is limited. Ms. Sehgal said in India 97 million people do not have clean water and 814 million have no sanitation services.
In the book’s afterword, author Maya Angelou wrote in part, “The authors deftly show the reader that when one’s intent is to help another, people whose names they will never know and faces they will never see, will benefit. This is a wonderful children’s story which adults will find delightful to read.”
“A Bucket of Blessings” can be pre-ordered both online at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and at the Barnes and Noble store in Buckhead and Little Shop of Stories in Decatur.
Ms. Sehgal will appear at the Barnes and Noble in Buckhead April 30 from 11 a.m. to noon. to read the book to children and sign copies of it.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1eOXEi8.