Two weeks ago, Mansi Karandutkar, 10, was engrossed in reading the Adventures of Pinocchio.
To help her understand the book better, a ‘reader’ dropped in at her Borivli home. “The reader explained the book in an animated way and helped me relate to the fun and mischief that Pinocchio did. I was in a dream world,” said Karandutkar.
The ‘reader’ was provided by ‘Book Buddies’, a start-up company with online presence, launched last month that allows children to borrow up to 10 books every month. It also provides a reader, an experienced child psychologist, read to children in the age group of three to 15 years.
“With a reader and books as a company, a whole new world has opened up,” said Karandutkar’s mother, Anuja, who signed up for Book Buddies.
During its initial research, the Book Buddies team found that children are more inclined towards the Internet, play stations, video games as compared to reading books. “The idea to revive reading culture among children came from our surroundings where children barely read,” said Shyaam Kumar, who left his banking job to start the venture. Apart from providing a reader, the organisation conducts farm visits for children, helps them with school projects and also offers them career guidance. For instance, children keen to become a pilot are taken to a flying school.
Within a month of its launch, the company has 71 members who subscribe to books on their website bookbuddies.com The membership fee costs Rs13,483 annually. “We also have a parent’s recommendation section where we provide books which parents want their children to read,” added Kumar.