Interview with Author and Educator, Jyoti Rajan Gopal
The creative and flexible, Jyoti Rajan Gopal, talks about the power of changing one word in a manuscript, exploring various storytelling modalities, and the magic of making a manuscript sound like music.
The picture books that live in our hearts embody a feeling. It's fascinating to listen to Jyoti explain how she captured the sentiment of being caught between two cultures in her debut, American Desi, simply by changing the word "this" to "which." Sometimes revision means a complete overhaul. Other times, it means digging deep, figuring out why your heart is in your creation, and making sure each word mirrors that emotion.
Jyoti taught kindergarten for years, and she's passionate about storytelling. She informs listeners that writing is so much more than pencils, crayons, and papers. What we're all trying to do is tell a story, and students do that in various ways whether it be while building with blocks or playing with one another during unstructured moments inside and outside of the classroom.
Music has the power to transform not only our feelings, but our writing as well. Although Jyoti doesn't normally listen to music while writing, one day she put some music on while revising and magic happened. All of the sudden, she knew the manuscript had to sound like music and the right words flowed from her fingertips.
Jyoti thinks all elementary classrooms should have the following authors' books:
Carole Boston Weatherford-Listen to Carole's Chalk + Ink interview.
Kelly Starling Lyons
Matt de la Peña
Rob Sanders-Listen to Rob's Chalk + Ink interview.
Finally, this episode is dedicated to my beloved hound, Buck. When Jyoti and I recorded this episode, he was still alive. But he was struggling and in the room where I record. Since I knew we had very little time together and because it was difficult for him to move, I let him stay. He was quiet until the end of the episode, when he barked. Normally, I would edit that sound out; however, I couldn't do it. I couldn't cut out his voice. So, you may want to turn down your sound around an hour and five minutes.
As always, happy listening!
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