If you live in Delhi and want your child to love books, then don’t miss out on the fourth edition of Bookaroo, the only literature festival in the country that is meant especially for tots, tweens and teens. To be held at Sanskriti Kendra from 26-27 November, the festival again promises a mix of book readings, art and illustration workshops and quizzes. The festival aims to cater to the 4-16 age group.
Swati Roy, one of the founders of Bookaroo and co-owner of the children’s-only book store Eureka in Greater Kailash-II, New Delhi, says she is expecting large crowds this year because the festival has become well-known around the National Capital Region (NCR). “I am looking forward to children’s responses to the readings by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore. They are both from the UK and participating for the first time. They have a unique style of narrating stories. It’s more like a performance and will be an interactive session, which will touch upon pirates, dragons and mythical creatures. Tough stuff to resist for any child.”
Another event one should watch out for, according to Roy, is Jerry Pinto’s quiz session. Pinto worked earlier this year with the organizers of Bookaroo when they went to Kashmir with the festival in May and Roy says the response was great. Pinto will organise a quiz session, “Talk of the Town”, for 8- to 10-year-olds which is supposed to be a journey through 12 Indian cities, and will also conduct a storytelling session, “Ragged Petticoats” (for 10- to 13-year-olds). For parents of football-mad and cricket-crazy children, there is Shamini Flint’s book reading of Diary of a Soccer Star and Cricket God.
Read it right: Children enjoying a book-reading session at a previous Bookaroo instalment
Workshops that any budding tween/teen writer (12-16 years) must attend are “From Apps, Picture Books to a Musical” by Christopher Cheng, which aims to explore how a writer actually goes about the process of writing, and one on “Historical Fiction”—to find out how much is fact, and how much fiction, in a book. Also, Chatura Rao and Loveleen Mishra will be conducting workshops, among them “What Are Stories Made Of” and “Where Do Stories Take Place”, for six- to eight-year-olds.
“The idea is to make children understand how a story takes shape on paper and then, when it is performed, how it changes somewhat,” explains Rao, a Mumbai-based author, who is participating for the first time at Bookaroo and has previously conducted sessions for children at Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai. Rao will also conduct storytelling sessions with her sister Adithi on their book Growing Up in Pandupur.
“In the Pandupur workshops, we will talk about old-fashioned values and try to make children understand more about them through related activities,” says Rao.
Roy says she is also excited about the Bookart exhibition which will showcase the work of 12 Indian artists. “Last year, this exhibition was low-profile because it was a bit far out, but this time it is in the centre of the venue. We hope children will get to see the work of the artists who make their books look so good. There will also be art workshops conducted by Atanu Roy and Tapas Guha and, of course, the Bookaroo doodle wall will be up too,” says Roy.
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There will be a few limited-entry workshops (entry on first-come, first-served basis) by French writer and illustrator Malika Doray and designer Anand Prakash, who makes handcrafted merchandise from recycled and wood-free paper. Doray’s workshop, “My Never Ending Book”, for four- to six-year-olds, will just involve a sheet of paper, a few folds and cuts, and a story that never ends as a result. Prakash will help 10- to 12-year-olds discover why there are no rules when working with paper.
Aviva Bookaroo: Festival of Children’s Literature will be held from 26-27 November at the Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Delhi. The events will start at 10.30am. For details on workshops and book readings, visit www.bookaroo.in