The publication of children's literature in India is very less compared to other Nations which are smaller than India, said Kannada University, Hampi former vice chancellor Prof B A Viveka Rai.
"There is a need to focus more on children's literature," said writer.
He was speaking after inaugurating the literary programmes and book exhibition as a part of National Book Week organised by Sahitya Akademi at St Aloysius College auditorium in Mangaluru on Tuesday.
"If we look at the growth of children's literature in countries like South Korea and in Africa, the children's books are brought out in large variety and numbers. Even though there are good children's storytellers in India, the literature is not reaching the target audience," said Rai.
Stating that nothing could be a substitute for a book, Viveka Rai said that a book is like a close friend. "Patience is must to go through a book. The book-reading habit is dwindling as people are losing patience. This is because every action gets a faster reaction in this technology-driven world, especially in the case of social networking sites," said Rai and pointed out that there are adequate facilities in the libraries.
In his keynote address, Sahitya Akademi regional secretary SP Mahalingeshwar said that the Akademi has instituted Bhasha Samman awards that are conferred on the veteran writers in around 24 languages every year. "The Akademi is organising two programmes per day in the country under various themes such as birth anniversary of writers. The Akademi has also been encouraging young writers, by conferring Yuva Awards on best young writers. In its efforts to reach the rural population, the Akademi has implemented a programme 'GramaLoka'. Publishing of stories, plays and children's literature has been given due importance to," he added.
St Aloysius College principal Fr Praveen Martis, Sahitya Akademi Kannada Advisory Board member Na Damodara Shetty and St Aloysius College Kannada Department head Saraswathi Kumari K were present.
An exhibition of books published by Sahitya Akademi featured works in Kannada, English and Hindi languages. Around 100 titles were on display, including the Sahitya Akademi Award-winning works.
As a part of the National Book week, literary programmes will be held at 5 pm every evening, till November 20. A Poet's meet will be held on November 15, Kannada play reading on November 16, Kannada Short story reading on November 17, Children's poetry recitation on November 18 and a discussion on book culture on November 19.
The valedictory session will be held on November 20 at 11 am. Veteran writer Erya Lakshminarayana Alva will deliver the valedictory address. St Aloysius College principal Dr Praveen Martis will preside.