Pediatrician and Author Sayantani DasGupta on Stories as Good Medicine
From the NewberyTart Podcast
NewberyTart is a podcast about kids’ books, for adults, and is recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, by two friends who approach the Newbery thing from very different, but surprisingly complementary, directions.
On this episode, Jennie and Marcy talk with children’s book author—and doctor!—Sayantani DasGupta about the importance of mythology and story. DasGupta’s most recent book is The Chaos Curse, the final installment of her Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond trilogy.
From the episode:
Sayantani DasGupta: All of my careers have always been about stories, and they’ve always been about honoring stories, centering stories, recognizing that stories are healing practices. I’ll often say stories are good medicine, and they really are. As a pediatrician, I know that.
Narrative medicine, it’s a scholarly but also clinical endeavor to honor the role of stories in both the individual—health care worker, doctor-patient encounter—but also in the world. The structural stories we tell about people impact the way that those communities experience health or illness. So, it’s in my work. And of course, being a children’s storyteller, telling stories of joy and adventure and power and strength and family and love and friendship and understanding and all those good things, to me, that’s also a different act of healing.
Sayantani DasGupta is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed, Bengali folktale and string theory-inspired Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books, the first of which—The Serpent’s Secret—was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Best Middle Grade Novel of the 21st Century, and an E. B. White Read Aloud Honor Book. Sayantani is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she’s not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse Books, and can be found online at sayantanidasgupta.com and on Twitter at @sayantani16.