A talented young artist, a spunky little tooth fairy, and one sweet tooth tale

Tamil Culture 3

Encouraging and supporting emerging Tamil visual artists.

There is no shortage of stories on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Frosty the Snowman. In children’s books and movies you will find every tidbit you would want to know about these beloved childhood favourites.

The same cannot be said about the tooth fairy. She remains a mystery, a fantasy figure of early childhood. We know a loose tooth means a child will soon get a visit from the tooth fairy, but money under the pillow is not the end of the story. There are adorable books that weave a fun tale about the tooth fairy but none that ever answer the BIG question…what does she do with the baby teeth she collects?

Tanya Ward, my coworker and friend, had this very question in mind when it came time to replace her daughter Meaghan’s baby tooth with a shiny coin. Determined to provide answers for her daughter, she created a new tradition. She replaced the tooth under her daughter’s pillow with a special note from the tooth fairy.

The following morning was filled with magic and excitement. Meaghan found the note and her imagination soared with thoughts of the tooth fairy. What did this note say? Everything a little boy or girl would want to know about this fairy and how she plans to use their tooth.

It was brilliant, magical and when Tanya saw her daughter’s enthusiasm, she was inspired to share her family’s newfound tooth fairy tradition in the form of a children’s book. And so, with encouragement from family and friends, Tanya put pen to paper and wrote Tooth Tales: Lucy’s Loose Tooth. This was when I jumped on board to collaborate on the project.

Tanya’s imagination and vision required an equally creative illustrator. During our search for the illustrator I suddenly recalled hearing about the extraordinary talent of a young local Tamil artist Kannishaa Loganathan, a Ryerson University Interior Design student. Tanya and I scrolled her illustrations on Instagram and fell in love with her boundless creativity and style. Her page is a treasure trove of beautiful and flawless sketches and photographs.


Without hesitation Kannishaa was asked to join the team. Every illustration she drafted brought Tanya’s characters to life right before our eyes. This was Kannishaa’s first time drawing for a children’s book and her artwork was a pivotal ingredient in making the story a reality.

It’s not often we see illustrations by a Canadian Tamil artist in an Anglo-Saxon children’s book. Although the field of visual arts is not typically encouraged in Tamil families, social media platforms such as Instagram have started to shed light on talented individuals like Kannishaa in our community. Young artists pursuing a full time career in arts are too often encouraged by parents to enroll in traditional careers such as: accounting, medicine, engineering, etc. Those who challenge their parents may lose their support and only hope to win them back with their determination and hard work.

In light of the talent we see emerging and growing in our community, we need to support the development of visual arts by Tamil artists. By not doing so, we belittle their work and talent.

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Kannishaa’s work in Tooth Tales: Lucy’s Loose Tooth is one of many showcases of Canadian Tamil artistry and inspires the future visual artists to follow their dreams. In so many ways the tooth fairy has the power to inspire the hopes and imaginations of children all over the world.

The book is now available on Kickstarter. Pre-order the book to support Kannishaa and her team.

With a deadline of April 9, 2015, the project must meet its funding goal. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform! It’s a great tool for crowd funding exciting new ideas that might otherwise be left a pipe dream if it weren’t made possible by a community of people pulling together to make it happen. The funding will help with printing, publishing and marketing the book.

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Thadshiga Jayaseelan

Thadshiga Jayaseelan

Thadshiga is a digital strategist with experience in planning, producing and driving social media campaigns. In her spare time she manages a South Asian fashion and wedding blog, Dreamers Events, and contributes to great projects like Tooth Tales: Lucy's Loose Tooth.

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