Current Events
  • May 22Pop Concerts
  • May 24InDesign Fashion Show
  • May 25Senior Prom
  • May 27Memorial Day
  • Jun 6Last Day of School
The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

Support student journalism and subscribe to the Epic's print publication here.

Juniors foster fantastic tales through Circus of Dreams

Emily Pedroza
Juniors Rashana Dandamudi and Inaaya Yousef blend engaging illustration and narrative to craft a story they hope children will love. Graphic illustration used with permission from Rachana Randamudi.

With passion flowing in each brush stroke, junior Rachana Dandamudi paints a picture of a dramatic battle between witches and goblins, surrounding herself with the excitement of a fantasy world as junior Inaaya Yousuf intertwines pictures and words through creative writing.  With their self-illustrated children’s book, “Circus of Dreams”, Dandamudi and Yousuf hope to help readers of all ages explore the fantasy genre and escape from daily stressors. 

When Dandamudi and Yousuf were  children, they often read books with similar styles to “Circus of Dreams” such as “Dork Diaries” and “Magic Tree House.” Though their plots were simple and lighthearted, they influenced Dandamudi and Yousuf to create a story of her own.

“Whenever I read, I immerse myself in the book, its plot and its illustrations,” Dandamudi said. “I hope readers can do the same with ‘Circus of Dreams.’”

Inspired by the “A To Z Mysteries” series written by Ron Roy and illustrated by John Steven Gurney, Dandamudi designed “Circus of Dreams” to have large, captivating pictures alongside a fantasy storyline. Dandamudi began bringing the idea to life through Procreate, an app used for digital illustrations and animating. This was Dandamudi’s first time experimenting with a digital medium. 

“I was very excited to use Procreate, and finally try digital art,” Dandamudi said. “Though it is more complex than paper because of the large amount of tools available, it is easier to fix mistakes and is less time consuming than traditional art.”

“Circus of Dreams” follows four friends who stumble upon a magic circus, and are transported to a maze where they have many fantastic encounters. They face challenges and formidable foes, and learn life lessons as a result.

Dandamudi and Yousuf were both in their junior year, considered by many to be the most demanding year of high school, when they worked to write,  illustrate and publish the book. Because of this, balancing school life and outside activities was initially a challenge for them.

“It was hard to meet up sometimes due to our schedules, and it took us longer than predicted to publish our book,” Dandamudi said.
To overcome time management issues,  they decided to jointly schedule specific days or times dedicated to making progress on the story — an important life lesson. Dandamudi also learned skills specific to illustrating, such as making sure the story has a set plot before diving into drawing the pictures. 

“All of the stories I loved when I was younger were able to smoothly integrate art and writing, which is something we aimed to do with our book,” Dandamudi said.

Dandamudi and Yousuf believe that stories are an essential part of childhood development. Stories can stimulate children’s imaginations and creativity, and these attributes are important to a child’s future. They hope that their work will be inspiring for children, and they plan to host readings of the book in local libraries such as Cupertino Library or Calabazas Branch Library and possibly elementary schools to promote “Circus of Dreams” to a larger audience. 

I hope that our book will inspire children to write or illustrate their own books, just like we were inspired from our childhood books.”

— Rachana Dandamudi, Junior

“I hope that our book will inspire children to write or illustrate their own books, just like we were inspired from our childhood books,” Dandamudi said.

“Circus of Dreams” was published on March 18, and Dandamudi and Yousuf are very proud of their achievements.

“We worked hard on our book, so it’s nice to see all of our work come together,” Dandamudi said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Charlotte Bolay
Charlotte Bolay, Staffer
(she/her) Charlotte is a sophomore and first year staffer for the Epic. In addition to writing and photography, she also enjoys baking, art, reading, listening to music, and being in nature.
Emily Pedroza
Emily Pedroza, Features Editor
(she/her) Emily Pedroza is a soup and writing enthusiast. When she’s not writing or studying, you’ll find her wrapped in blankets: reading, stalking her favorite poets on Twitter and nursing cups of herbal tea.

Comments (0)

All the Epic Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *