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Getting kids hooked on books

Archana Mishra, Nov 21, 2013, DHNS: 21:19 IST
absorbing: Venita Coelho holds a story-telling session during Bookaroo.
Under the shade of a mango tree, young kids who came along with their parents, keenly listened to the story of Tik-Tik and Nib-Nib. “Both Tik-Tik and Nib-Nib belong to planet Nopter and want to grow up fast,” says the author Musharraf Ali Farooqi with his eyes wide open.

He continues, “They decide to start a project called ‘growing up’. But Tik-Tik leaves Nib-Nib and goes along with his grandfather on the time machine,” Musharraf exclaims. As he goes on narrating his authored story ‘Tik-Tik, The Master of Time’, kids gradually delve into his world.

Musharraf makes his storytelling session interesting and asks questions related to the story. For the kids it was a session to enjoy. But it wasn’t the end as there were other such sessions and other interesting activities to participate in their favourite Bookaroo Fest, Children’s Literature Festival, which was held recently in the City.
It was the sixth edition of the festival and was held at the sprawling lawns of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA). The place was divided was into several sections like Kahani Tree, Amphitheatre , The Palms, Crafty Corner, Studio and Doodle Wall where a series of activities went on simultaneously.

There were more than 100 speakers from across India (including Gangtok, Goa , Guwahati , Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Sikkim) as well as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, US and UK.

Sri Lankan children’s author Janaki Galappatti says, “It is always interesting to be part of Bookaroo. I believe storytelling is a technique to calm down kids and encourage them to read more. Through this festival we show them the beautiful world which is important in their growing years.”

Likewise there were other popular authors like Ashok Banker, Cornelia Funke, Christian Duda, Gen Ian Cardozo, Giti Chandra, Jeeva Raghunath, Julia Friese, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Olivier Tallec, Rajeev Tambe, Sally Gardner, Vandana Bist and Venita Coelho.

Besides authors, the festival saw celebrity presence as well. Bollywood actress Kajol was present on the first day and distributed gifts to underprivileged kids.

Attracting kids the most was the ‘Eureka’ bookstore. Hundreds of kids thronged the stall which had widest possible range of Indian and foreign children’s title. While many were happy to get the books of their choice, a few of them were crying before their parents to get their demands fulfilled.

Juhi Singh, an entrepreneur, who came along with her two-year old daughter says, “I am coming to the festival for the second time. It is a fun festival for kids as they get an opportunity to interact with their favourite authors and to listen stories from them. It is more interesting than reading a book alone in the library.”

Like last year celebration, the festival started two weeks before the main event with an outreach programme, Bookaroo in the City (BiC) where authors visited mainly underprivileged schools.

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