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Kids make a beeline for their books

Baishali Adak , Sept 6 , 2012
Curious A young girl picks her own choice from the Fair.

More than ever before, the Delhi Book Fair this time is a treat for children. Over 30 per cent of the fair is occupied by Children’s books only ranging from activity books for nursery kids to novellas for Std. V to VII.

Besides, there are ‘e-books’ for kids, brain-teaser activities, games, mascots dressed as cartoon characters and much more to humour the young ones. No wonder, parents and kids are having a field day here and children’s books publishers are rolling in moolah.
Shakti Malik, director Delhi Book Fair, explains, “Parents these days want their children to go beyond just course books, read more, know more and become all-rounded individuals.

Children’s books have always been a special part of the Fair, but as the demand is growing, the segment is burgeoning. Some publishers are keeping only children’s books while others are devoting a section to it. It’s a good thing that kids are developing reading habits again.”

The largest children’s books available here are activity books for Nursery to Std III. Shiny and colourful alphabet, number, birds and animal sticker books besides cursive writing and nursery rhyme books are ruling the fair.

Ved Chawla, owner of Dreamland Publications which specialises in these, informs, “With the development of designing and printing technology, the market for sparkling beautiful activity books has widened.

“Publishers are offering the best quality pages and pictures so that kids approach them like toys. In fact, we bagged the Best Book Award for our My Fancy Story Book: Snow White from the Delhi Book Fair this year.”

Then come general knowledge, quiz, puzzle, basic computer science, English grammar and project books.

Nishant Chaturvedi of Pustak Mahal, which has probably the largest stock of this kind, says, “Our best-selling book in this category, over decades now, has been the Children’s Knowledge Bank. It has a digest of basic facts from all subjects ranging from science to social science. Only yesterday, a parent came looking for it and told us ‘I read it with a lot of interest in my time. Now I want my kid to read it.’”

Comics, needless to say, have been a favourite among kids for generations now. As usual, Diamond Books is doing roaring business in this segment. Its sales manager Deepak Kaushik informs, “Evergreen classics like Panchtantra, Hitopdesh, Birbal, Tenali Rama, Vikram aur Betaal and Tales of Krishna and Ganesh are selling like hot cakes. This year, we also introduced something called Bharat ke tyohaar (Festivals of India). That is also doing well.”

The slightly older children of course come to the trusted National Book Trust. From English writers like Ruskin Bond to translations of regional writers like Manoj Das (Oriya), Gijubhai Badheka (Marathi), Hari Krishna Devsare (Hindi) and Abid Surti (Urdu) – they have it all.

ML Bhatia, one of the editors, tells us, “These books published under ‘Nehru Bal Pustakalaya’ have always been loved by kids. Our inspirational biographies of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, S. Radhakrishnan, Ramanujan etc. are also widely bought.”
Parents agree. Rasil Ahua, mother of three-year-old son Yuv Saran, says, “Books are available at a lot of shops these days but some children’s books in Hindi can be found here only.

I am very glad I brought my son here. If we have to keep our languages, literature and culture alive, I feel fairs like these are necessary.”


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