Celebrating children's books
Parents also had a field time with the pleasant venue – Anandgram Ashram in Mehrauli, a warm Sunday morning and children reading, for a change.
Bookaroo is an initiative of the Eureka! book store for children started in 2008. The first year, it saw a footfall of 3000. This year, it rose to a whopping 10000. Tiny tots, ages four to fourteen, enjoyed books and the company of their favourite authors at the fest.
Swati Roy, one of the founders of Bookaroo and a co-owner of Eureka!, informed Metrolife, “In the first year we had about 36 speakers, whereas now we have close to 75
children’s book authors, illustrators, performers and storytellers. In the past five years, we have not diluted the core principle of bringing books and children together. We have not given in to market forces. This is a children’s literature festival and we intend to keep it that way.”
On the first day, there were story-telling sessions by Penny Dolan, Geeta Ramanujam, Vijaylakshmi Nagaraj, Manas Mahapatra etc. There were workshops by TERI and Amar Chitra Katha, film screening by the CFSI and Muppet show by Nadia Budde.
On the second day, there were sessions by authors Niveditha Subramaniam, Anupa Lal, Anita Roy, Savi Sarin, Neeraj Jain, Manisha Chaudhry, Grant Clark, Shamim Padamsee etc.; spelling quiz, a football quiz, story and poetry writing workshops, among other fun-filled activities.
Author Sampurna Chattarji commented, “It is great to see that Bookaroo is becoming more and more popular with children. In our age, our favourite book writers used to be either foreigners or dead. No doubt, kids, now, are clinching the opportunity to meet their favs, some of whom have been especially flown in from outside India.”
Author Paro Anand adds, “The children are also becoming very intelligent. Earlier, we used to get the same boring questions like ‘Where do you get your inspiration?’ but today, one girl at the fest asked me, ‘Which is more important in poetry: feelings or rhythm?’ I think that’s a very clever question.”
Parents too were full of praise for the event. Priyanka Bisht, who brought her son as well as 15 other children from her neighbourhood commented, “It is great to see the children browsing through hundreds of books and interacting with such prominent writers. I am sure it will go on to inspire them to appreciate books and write themselves.”