Children’s Literature Festivals in India and Pakistan

Last week was a super busy week for us. It was exhausting as well as exhilarating! Why were we so busy? Because we were participating in two children’s literature festivals last week – Bookaroo in India and the Children’s Literature Festival in Pakistan.
Compiling a few reports from different newspapers about the events …
Essar Foundation Bookaroo in the City is co-produced by Bookaroo Trust Teamwork Productions and Pratham Books and is supported by Essar Foundation. ‘We are delighted to partner Bookaroo in the City in their quest to promote literature among school children in India.
Knowledge is best when shared and therefore our focus on ‘Bookaroo in the City’ phase of the event, which makes an effort to reach out to maximum number of schools’, said Mr. Deepak Arora, VP Essar Foundation.
This two-week long extravaganza of book-related events culminated in three days of dramatic readings and interactive at the festival held at Sanskriti Kendra.
Pioneers in children literature such as Anupa Lal, Tapas Guha, Deepa Agarwal, Mala Kumar and Tanya Luther Aggarwal along with international authors such as John Dougherty, Satoshi Kitamura and Adeline Foo were part of the event.
Read the entire article here.
For the fourth edition, the festival of children’s literature has gone back to its original venue at the Sanskriti Anandagram. The “Doodle Wall”, the “Kahani Tree” and other spots are now as familiar as old friends because most of the kids tearing about the lawns, curling up with books or getting new ones autographed are two-three Bookaroos-old.
“We’ve been coming since it started,” says Tinni Sawhney who’s brought her 12-year-old daughter Aranya. “For us it’s a planned event,” she says over lunch she has brought from home. Former visitors are alerted by mail. “We grew up with a lot of books,” she continues, “Our worry is our kids are losing out on the joy of reading.” Not her kid, though. Aranya, student of The Shri Ram School, is an avid reader, loves Harry Potter and fantasy fiction in general. “I’m going to start on The Wizard of Oz and Call of the Wild,” she says. She particularly enjoyed Samhita Arni’s session on “Sita in the 21st Century” based on her graphic novel, Sita’s Ramayana with artwork by patua artist, Moyna Chitrakar. Classical literature, this time Greek, also appears in John Dougherty’s session on “Zeus – On the Loose Again!” in which Zeus deals with a school bully. Bhutanese writer, Kunzang Choden, read stories from her land – folk-tales re-told for kids.
Read the entire article here.
Pakistan’s first ever children’s festival focusing on books, and promotion of learning, reading and writing activities, the event was organised by Oxford University Press (OUP) and Idara-e-Taaleem-o-Agahi (ITA). The event was filled with activities for children, and while these kept them anchored to their seats, their teachers and parents also enjoyed the day’s events.
Nadia Jamil started the day off in the main hall with story-time, while Marilyn read from Tom Sawyer in the auditorium, and a live cartoon and Muppet show was presented by Nigar Nazar. Some of the sections were meant for adults, where young entrepreneurs and educators of Pakistan gave presentations in the Audio Visual Room, and Shahina Alvi and Mona Qaiser read on ‘Why Some Children Cannot Read: Challenges of Inclusion’. A creative writing class for teenagers was also held, where they were given tips and guidelines on how to write in a creative manner. ‘Meet the Author’ was also held, where Zara Mumtaz spoke to children about their favourite stories, poems, characters, etc and a question and answer session was held afterwards. Children took active participation in these sessions.
Fahmida Riaz taught children how to write stories, while Tania Hasan from OUP edited them and Shireen Syed, also from OUP, illustrated and designed the stories. The whole session left the children awestruck and immensely interested in writing and illustrating.
Read the entire article here.
Via Dawn
Talking to Dawn, former federal education minister Zubeida Jalal said unfortunately there was no concept of book reading in government schools because of a lack of libraries and availability of supplementary readings. However, she said, the festival by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Oxford University Press proved that children were inquisitive and excited to read books.
National Urdu programme head Parveen Saleem Syed and PRATHAM books assistant editor Rajesh Khar said it was a great sight to see hundreds of students visiting bookstalls, buying books and learning from different sessions.
Read the entire article here.
You can also read the article by the Tribune newspaper here.

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