04 Aug 2022  |   04:40am IST

Exploring the Solar System with Ronav’s space cadet Jummy

Ronav Chodankar recently released his debut book, ‘Jummy The Space Explorer’ and was awarded a place in the India Book of Records for the ‘youngest to write a fiction book on the Solar System’. Ronav from Dona Paula is just eight years old and has dedicated his book to his sister, Ariana
Exploring the Solar System with Ronav’s space cadet Jummy

Dolcy D’Cruz

Children have wild imaginations which helps them create different worlds. This imagination of theirs can only be set free when they are encouraged to read more. An early reading habit can lead to more curiosity and the interest to even start writing. One such outstanding example is Ronav Chodankar from Dona Paula. Son of Dr Rohit and Dr Deepa Chodankar, this eight-year-old recently released his debut book, ‘Jummy the Space Explorer,’ which beautifully encapsulates the journey that his spacesuit wearing animated buddy takes across the planets. The story is told from Ronav’s perspective but he has done enough research so that

you don’t miss out on important facts while learning about the distant planets.

Ronav started writing with the innocent intention to teach his four-year-old sister Ariana about space. A partner in Ronav’s adventure, he didn’t want his sister to miss out on the learning experience and created a well illustrated book for a wider audience, hoping to inspire more children to take up reading. The journey with Jummy, the space explorer, and his spaceship,
JET-O, is quite fascinating and children can’t put down the book once they start reading.

“Ariana is my partner in everything I do. She is hilarious and we have a lot of fun playing. She is like my little Santa, who knows when I have been good and bad. I started writing this book during the pandemic, when my sister and I were mostly at home. We would lie on the terrace and gaze at the star studded sky. We didn’t have a telescope but we did have binoculars through which we could make out the craters on the picture perfect Moon and spot the brightest star, Venus. I read out the books on space which we had at home but these were overwhelming for Ariana, so I started writing this book to make her understand. We would enact this science fiction and imagine that we would zip up our spacesuit and jet off in our spaceship, JET-O. As I wrote, Ariana learnt a little more,” explains Ronav Chodankar, a Class 3 student of Sharada Mandir School, Miramar.

Ronav worked on the book for over a year and referred to a few books on space and the internet. He has always been encouraged by his parents and his teachers.
“It is a difficult topic but Ronav has simplified it to a point where a four year old could understand and love science. The pandemic was time well spent as he had more free time to pursue his other hobbies. Once he completed writing, we wanted an illustrator as visuals are very important for children’s books. Jhanvi Sanghavi did a great job,” says Dr Rohit Chodankar, a noted Orthopaedician.

Speaking about his experience working with Jhanvi, Ronav says, “I had the scenes and characters doodled on my book when I was writing the book. Jhanvi brought these to life by creating the beautiful illustrations. We discussed the scenes and characters and she would create such beautiful illustrations out of my sketches and thoughts. I would like to thank her for having so much patience with me and allowing me to change the look of the illustrations so many times and teaching me so much along the way.”

Ronav was awarded a place in the India Book of Records, for being the youngest to write a book on the Solar System, on June 28. It was recently announced that he will be awarded the Ukiyoto Literary Award 2022 in the Young Adult Author of the year and will be felicitated on August 21 at Hyderabad. “I am very excited about the award. I think my parents loved the medal and the certificate that I received from India Book of Records but I loved the badge they gave me, which looks really cool,” says Ronav.

Dr Rohit gives credit to his wife, Dr Deepa, who heads Genisis Unit, Sanofi, for inculcating the reading habit in the children. Ronav adds, “My parents encouraged both of us to explore. My father is a science enthusiast and he conducts simple experiments at home to show us the wonders of science. My mother read to us to make us understand these experiments. We would read with our mother and also enact some of the stories. This was how I started to read initially. I would like to thank my parents for teaching me to find happiness in little things. Ariana, thanks for filling up my pockets with happiness, adventure and fun.”

When not buried in books, Ronav loves swimming, playing chess and coding on his laptop. He has already started working on his next book but wants to keep it all under wraps until it’s ready for release. His message for his young readers is, “Read a lot. The more you read, the more you will want to explore. And the more you explore, the more you will want to read.”

Published by Notion Press, the book is available online on Amazon and at Broadway, Panjim and at the Central Library, Panjim.


Idhar Udhar