Delhi: Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival returns to a new location
Until the pandemic and the Central Vista redevelopment project reshape the city and our relationship with it, for many children in Delhi, listening to some of their favorite storytellers brings stories of wonder and joy to life at Bookaroo Children’s. Literature Festival, at the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) in Janpath, had been a winter staple. The return of the festival after nearly two years, this time at the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri, since the former IGNCA complex was demolished, marks a return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life. The two-day festival, which kicked off on November 27, will see 46 speakers – children’s writers, illustrators, storytellers and publishers – hold sessions for children ages 4 to 14.
On Saturday afternoon, the weekend buzz at the museum seemed to have picked up, as long lines of parents and children made their way to the venue. In six different locations, storytelling and arts and crafts sessions were underway with seasoned writers such as Ranjit Lal, Paro Anand, Deepa Agarwal and artists such as Savio Mascarenhas and Mistunee Chowdhury.
Even though this year’s festival is on a smaller scale – 48 sessions as opposed to the 90-100 weekend sessions and an additional 25-30 the previous Friday – festival director and co-organizer Swati Roy said their efforts had been successful. made to ensure there is something for everyone at the festival. “As always, we have a lot of new speakers. We have an ongoing activity called The Healing Wall, based on the book Somnath Hore: Wounds (by Likhla, Shambhavi Thakur and Kripa Bhatia, published by Art1st). Here, children and adults can come and express their pain and anguish, guided by the artists who created the book, ”she said.
As the kids flocked in, pored over the program’s brochures to decide where to go, or headed to the bookstore to buy a book from an author they had just discovered, the writers said they were delighted to be back. “It was great to see the animated faces of the kids and to chat with some who are going to make it good despite our education system which aims to garrass them,” said Ranjit Lal, who attended one of the opening sessions. .
“Bookaroo has shown children how to make reading fun for the sake of it. His contribution to Indian kid-lit cannot be measured, so closely tied to the rise of this glorious phase, in terms of more children’s interest in reading and provision of a platform to celebrate books, creators and stories, ”said author Richa Jha, publisher of Pickle Yolk Books.