Childrens Books Ireland
‘Your most important asset is your voice’: In conversation with Ashwin Chacko, illustrator of Free To Be Me: The Diversity, Inclusion and Representation Reading Guide.
In September 2021, Children’s Books Ireland launches Free To Be Me: The Diversity, Inclusion and Representation Reading Guide. Containing over 360 book recommendations for young readers of all ages, Free To Be Me was created to ensure that all children see themselves reflected and celebrated in the books they read and in the stories and images they hear and see. To celebrate the launch of the guide, we caught up with Ashwin Chacko; storyteller, illustrator and the artist responsible for Free To Be Me’s vibrant campaign artwork. Welcome, Ashwin. Tell us a bit about yourself! I am a husband and proud father of three. I grew up in India in the foothills of the Himalayas, then attended an international boarding school called Woodstock. Suddenly, I was living in a little melting pot of people from 50 different nationalities, each sharing their own experiences of the world, and their own unique perspectives and cultures, but in our coming together we created a new, collective culture. For most of my life, I lived in this global culture but when I went home for my holidays, I encountered a completely different one: the culture I was born into. I wasn’t fully an Indian, nor was I fully an outsider. As a third culture kid, I can relate to many cultures and adapt to fit in accordingly, but I never fully feel a part of any. This ability to adapt has had a huge influence on how I… Read More