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More than 80 speakers from India and abroad will take part in the fest.
More than 80 speakers from India and abroad will take part in the fest.

Bookaroo begins on Saturday

The children's literature festival will have sessions on topics like sexuality and environmental degradation for teens and activities for the little ones

The seventh edition of the Bookaroo children’s literature festival this weekend will feature 83 speakers from India and abroad across 99 sessions at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi.

Co-founded by Jo Williams, Swati Roy and M. Venkatesh in 2008, Bookaroo has been successful in attracting children to storytelling and poetry sessions, quizzes and creative writing workshops. Last year, the organizers had introduced young adult (YA) writing in the programme. This year, reflecting the worldwide trend, they have extended the programme to include more books for young adults. And with Indian publishers focusing on issues-based books that children can relate to, the scope has only widened.

Himanjali Sankar and Payal Dhar will set the stage for this in a session titled “Keeping Secrets", for children aged 14-16. The session, planned around Talking Of Muskaan by Sankar and Slightly Burnt by Dhar, is on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues.

Dancer and author Anuradha Majumdar will discuss her latest novel Infinity Papers, which raises the issue of environmental pollution. “The young generation is engaged with issues, they want to participate and make things happen," she says.

Another session on YA writing will be conducted by Kate Darnton, whose novel The Misfits is about the right to education Act and the inclusion of children from economically weaker sections in mainstream schools.

“Picking favourites from 99 diverse sessions is difficult," says Williams. “There is something for everyone between the ages of 4 and 16—from storytelling to sleuthing to art to creative writing to mythology to craft to doodling to space to history and fantasy."

DOODLE, LISTEN, ENACT

Activities to look forward to:

u “Dragon Doodling" with author and illustrator Gabrielle Wang, who is known to blend Chinese folk tales with Western culture and fantasy.

u “Squiggle Takes A Walk" with children’s-books author Natasha Sharma, who will make punctuation simpler.

u Bhakti Mathur, who started the ‘Amma, Tell Me’ story series of Indian festivals and mythology, will have participants act out scenes from her new book ‘Hanuman’ in a session titled “How The World’s First Superman Tried To Eat the Sun".

Bookaroo will be held from 29-30 November, 10.30am-5.30pm, at IGNCA, CV Mess, Janpath. For the schedule, visitwww.bookaroo.in. The next edition of Bookaroo will be held in Pune in January.

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