The little reader’s festival
Children can be difficult to understand. But it is more challenging to keep them engaged. And what works for a four-year-old will not work with a 10-year-old,” says Swati Roy, co-founder of Bookaroo Trust. The trust is behind the popular children’s literature festival of the same name, which celebrates its 10th year in Delhi on 25–26 November.
But this understanding of engagement is what sets Bookaroo apart from other children’s literature festivals. The sessions at the two-day festival are divided according to age groups, each for an age band of two years. The sessions are divided further according to genre, which range from adventure, graphic novels, and environment, to arts and crafts.
“The world likes to see children’s books as one unified category, but that is not the case. Even the authors, when they write their books, they have a certain audience in mind. The content depends on the audience,” Roy adds.
The festival will have 102 sessions and workshops conducted by nearly 60 speakers. Among them will be Indian writers and illustrators Karthika Nair, Nandana Sen, Sampurna Chattarji and Roshni Vyam, and French writers and illustrators Joëlle Jolivet and Kris Di Giacomo. Scottish writer and illustrator Debi Gliori will talk about her latest book Night Shift, which combines black and white illustrations with text and presents a story of survival and hope.
“We will also have a doodle wall, where a new artist will take over every hour, and encourage children to create something on the wall. They will weave stories around their creation with the idea of children’s creativity to come through,” adds festival co-founder Jo Williams.
Kavita Singh Kale, illustrator and co-founder of Underground Worm Art & Design studio, along with Spanish illustrator and designer Cintia Martin will hold art workshops for children to create things like masks and insectariums. There will be 20 art and craft workshops at the festival.
In the last 10 years, Bookaroo has had 25 editions across nine cities, including one international location in Kuching, Malaysia. As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, 10 walls around the city have been painted with illustrations from children’s books. Siddhant Shah, an architect working with heritage projects and on making museums accessible to the visually impaired, will also hold a treasure trail for children, who will be blindfolded.
“The continued success of the festival proves that the hunger to read, inspite of all the technology, has only increased among children. They are also much more discerning than adults give them credit for and are more honest and instant with their feedback,” adds Roy.
From books and treasure hunts to DIY projects, the festival promises to be a weekend of fun for children of all ages.
The Bookaroo Literature Festival will be held on 25-26 November, 10.30-5.30pm, at Children’s Park, India Gate. Seating on first-come, first served basis. For details, visit www.bookaroo.in