The second edition of the Children’s Literature Festival – ‘Bookaroo’ – began with great fanfare at Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) on November 18 2017. The Kendra was divided into different venues like The Crafty Corner, Doodle Wall, Kahani Tree, Studio etc. where diverse activities were held throughout the day. Various interactive sessions, workshops, story telling and hands on art and craft activities, among others attracted a large number of children.
The festival was attended today by around 300 children between the age group of 4 to 16 years. Students from various schools like Neerja Modi School, VSPK International School, SV Public School, Apex International school and Mayoor School from Ajmer participated today in the fest.
Another crowd puller at the event was the book counter where children’s books of the were being sold. It is to be recalled that over the 2 days there will be 58 sessions by 23 speakers from 5 countries.
A brief description of the activities today is as follows:
How To Write a Story?
Children’s books writer from Mumbai, Natasha Sharma shared with the children her inspiration behind the book – ‘The Bonkers Dog Diaries’. She narrated her childhood story about how she grew up in Amritsar along with 40 animals. Out of these were 4 dogs which were the naughtiest and became the inspiration behind her book. The main objective behind her session was to make the children identify the subject be it a person, place or animal to write a story.
Tactile Trails and Tales
This year at Bookaroo, a unique sensitization activity was also held. It was conducted by Siddhant Shah who is a heritage architect and access management consultant. The children participating in the activity were blindfolded and then made to explore the backwaters of Kerala, sail on a houseboat and discover the magic of the Kathakali dancer using tactile models. Using sounds of Kathakali music and smell of the sandalwood made to build houseboats, a multi-sensory experience was given to the children. The exercise was aimed at making people aware and sensitive towards those who are visually impaired.
The Art of Comic Making
Lavanya Karthik, who writes and draws books for children, taught children the art of comic making. Through various activities, she explained about the basics of how people tell stories in little boxes with speech bubbles floating around them. A unique thing about Lavanya’s session today was that the comics she made had no text and only drawings. The objective behind this was to kindle the imagination of the children. Using a story board, she also taught children how a story is built around a character.
A storytelling session in Hindi, Sanskrit and Urdu was conducted by Saatvic and Udit. What is unique about their storytelling sessions is that it is conducted in two languages – the language of original composition such as Sanskrit and Urdu as well as languages like Hindi and English through which the masses can connect with the story. The objective behind Udit and Saatvic’s style of storytelling is to preserve the languages like Urdu and Sanskrit – the use of which has greatly diminished. It is interesting to note that Saatvic is an Oxford educated economist who is also an actor, table player, playwright, singer as well as a film maker. Udit is an actor and storyteller based in Mumbai.
To let the children explore their creativity, an out-of-the-box activity was held for them at the Doodle Wall. The children were asked to find the monster hidden in their shadow. The children were divided into 4 teams – while two were making good demons, the others were making bad demons using colourful waste cloth. The activity was inspired from the story of Mr Jekyll, Dr Hyde. The objective behind this was to make children realize that we all have good and bad sides to us.