Central Park Library’s April 23 children’s author event held in honor of long-time Santa Clara resident Emma Kaliterna featured Nidhi Chanani, author and illustrator of the graphic novel “Pashmina.” The first 40 families coming to the event received a copy of the book.
“An anonymous donor has given money to the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends every year in honor of Emma Kaliterna,” said Librarian Kelly Quinn Chiu. “This donation allows us to bring in authors we wouldn’t be able to bring in otherwise.”
“This year’s author, Nidhi Chanani, was a delight,” said Danielle Kaliterna, Emma Kaliterna’s daughter. “Her story is inspiring and her personality was such fun. I’m eager to read her book.”
“It’s a graphic novel about a teenage girl named Priyanka Das,” said Chanani of “Pashmina.” “She finds a magical pashmina shawl. When she puts on the shawl, it transports her to a magical version of India where she finds out more about who she is and where she came from.”
The India-born Chanani, who drew from Indian culture for her book, feels that it’s important for people to see their culture represented on a bookshelf and to recognize that their narrative is as important as anyone else’s narrative.
Next year, Chanani will enter her tenth year working as an independent artist. When asked what advice she gives to aspiring artists, she emphasized the value of drawing everyday.
“Every drawing that you do gets you closer to being the artist you want to be even if the drawing is utter crap,” Chanani said. “Practicing your skills is one of the best ways to become better at art. It’s important to draw outside your comfort zone. Draw a variety of things. Draw backgrounds. Draw characters in a scene. Draw interaction.”