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Bookaroo: Catching ’em young

Who says kids these days don’t read? The Bookaroo Children’s literature festival is on today and tomorrow at Sanskriti Anandgram (on Mehrauli- Gurgaon road). Nivriti Butalia tells more...

india Updated: Nov 27, 2009 22:54 IST
Nivriti Butalia

Who says kids these days don’t read? The Bookaroo Children’s literature festival is on today and tomorrow at Sanskriti Anandgram (on Mehrauli- Gurgaon road). Participation is free, and while last year 3,000 children and their parents attended each day of the two-day festival, this time around, more are expected.

In what is only the second year of the event, there are on board 45 authors/performers, and 64 events. There is variety to the line-up — story telling sessions, workshops on cartoons, recycling paper, building alien worlds, and even, soberingly — math.

Deepa Agarwal, the author of more than 40 books for children, is looking forward to the treasure hunt for 10-14-year-olds that is based on her translation of Chandrakanta (Saturday, 1:30 pm, at the Pavilion). About last year, Agarwal says she was happy that so many parents brought their children to Bookaroo, and is hoping only more turn up today. “We should have more such children’s festivals,” says the author of Lippo Goes To A Party.

For Atanu Roy, illustrator of more than a hundred books (including Agarwal’s), the festival is a first. Roy is eager to interact with kids. The ‘doodle wall’ sounds especially inviting for him, as the bachcha party will see the artist in action. “I draw very rapidly,” he says. There will be “lots of wacky, impromptu stuff” — shapes that could become huge aircraft, ET, aliens, snakes heads, essentially, “a collage of creativity”.

The festival promises to be more than a story-telling session. There is a long line-up of activites for young adults apart from the treasure hunt.

Siddhartha Sarma, former investigative journalist, collector of swords, and author of The Grasshopper’s Run, will talk to 12-16 year-olds about the process of writing a book — the research, characters, plot, and importantly, hold forth on how and why not to compartmentalise reading habits — “read everything, don’t categorise”.

And if even well-read folk have not heard of Horrid Henry or Elmer the Elephant, it’s never too late too learn. The kids can tag along.