Guba Publishing, an independent publishing house from Oakland, California, has a stall at the Ekushey Boi Mela for the first time ever. The opening ceremony of the stall took place on 3 February, 2020, at the Bangla Academy premises and was inaugurated by renowned designer Bibi Russell.
The publication house is the brainchild of two childhood friends, Raya Rahman and Inshra Sakhawat Russell, who aimed to produce illustrations and narrations focusing on themes of culture, languages, and justice. Guba Publishing was launched in November, 2017, with a small line of Bengali inspired illustrated books, flashcards, and posters.
Guba Publishing strives to create a catalogue of stories, with artwork that engages, enlightens and entertains young readers and listeners. In Inshra S Russell's words, "We endeavour to create meaningful children's contents for the age group between 0 to 10 years old. We produce board books, illustrated books, learning tools and teaching aids. We aspire to draw on fun learning rather than academics possessing serious tones. Our titles are in English, Bengali, or easy bilingual."
Guba Publishing is a platform for advocating social causes through children's story telling. It creates children's picture books in collaboration with cause driven non-profit organisations to raise both awareness of, and funds for, specific causes. For instance, one of their publications includes a book titled "The Unexpected Friend: A Rohingya Children's Story," which is the first ever picture book about the children of Rohingya. Moreover, profits from the book sales will be donated to Save the Children's Rohingya Relief Fund.
Mustafa Monwar, creative advisor and an Ekushey Padak recipient, quoting Rabindranath Tagore, said, "World's oldest religion is the religion of a child." In addition, admiring the illustrations, the eminent puppeteer added, "It will work as a great boon in shaping a child's mind creatively."
Do pay a visit to The Guba Publishing (Stall No. 13) at Ekushey Boi Mela, Bangla Academy.