Children’s literature festival

Alpenliebe-Bookaroo Delhi 2018

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Alpenliebe-Bookaroo Delhi 2018 was recently held at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts from December 1-2, 2018 Seventy speakers from thirteen countries delighted children and parents alike with scintillating storytelling, workshops, drama, art & craft and books.

Here, Swati Roy, co-founder and festival director, Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival, shares more about this 11th edition of Bookaroo children’s literature festival.

AABP: What were the highlights of the recently concluded Bookaroo?

Swati: There was Kamla Bhasin with her Laal Pari, and Maneka Gandhi regaled children on how to overcome their fears at the cover launch of her book “There’s a Monster Under my Bed! and Other Terrible Terrors.” Children were introduced to Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs’ most famous character-Old Tom, the one-eyed cat. There was also Qissebaazi, the unique art of bringing regional stories using a bridge language. This time we focused on Sanskrit and Malayalam.… Dinosaur stories were a rage as Andy Chua from Singapore enthralled the children with real fossils. The Indian connection to dinosaurs came from Vaishali Shroff’s stories. The Gallery was the exhibit area for the original artworks from three award-winning children’s books illustrators (Proiti Roy, Atanu Roy and Nina Sabnani – they are winners of the BLBA Awards instituted by Parag, a Tata Trusts Initiative). Sudarshan Khanna and Surabhi Khanna captivated the children at Crafty Corner with their toy making sessions. The Kahani Tree was a hive of activity as storytellers from South Africa to Chennai held court. This time Bookaroo had speakers from three countries that had not participated earlier – Czech Republic, South Africa and South Korea.

AABP: Share the statistics of the event, in terms of number of visitors, speakers, etc.

Swati: Seventy speakers from thirteen countries delighted children and parents alike in Delhi with some scintillating storytelling, workshops, drama, art & craft and books at the 11th edition of Bookaroo, which set a record 105 sessions for children between 4 and 14.

AABP: What changes have you seen in the industry ever since Bookaroo started?

Swati: Today, children’s literature in India is set to have its moment under the sky! There have been moments earlier too but now they are more frequent. New voices, new genres… these are now a given in the industry. The bar has been raised. The array of books available now is much more than it was in 2003-04. On the consumer side, the reader is more informed and has definite preferences. This again is a function of the choices available. Publishers are pushing the envelope like never before. The importance that was due to children’s books has come through more emphatically in recent years.

Publishers are experimenting and coming out with absolutely fabulous subjects and stories for children. Diversity in children’s books is more evident now. We do not have market statistics but children books is growing in numbers sold… more and more bookstores that cater exclusively to children’s books are coming up in various parts of the country.

AABP: What more would you like to incorporate in the event?

Swati: Ideas are aplenty and they form as we create programming each successive year. More importantly, we would love to take Bookaroo to as many towns as is possible.

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