“I read Agatha Christie’s Secret Adversary in class today,” said Siddhai Gurav, a Class 10 student from Alexandra Girls English Institution, Fort. Siddhai was among the students of around 430 South Mumbai schools, who celebrated No Books Day on Friday. The schools marked the day by initiating a number of activities aimed at inculcating reading habits among students.
While students spent the entire day reading story books, newspapers and talking to authors and publishers, they were asked not to carry textbooks to school. Instead, they carried novels, magazines, newspapers — anything that made for an interesting read. “We had a great time. Schools should hold such days on a regular basis,” said Mitva Bhagat, studying in Class 9 of Alexandra Girls English Institution.
Schools did not shy away from involving students from Classes 9 and 10 in the celebrations. “Reading something other than textbooks is a stress-buster,” added Siddhai. Her classmate Aisha Gani said, “I read RK Narayan’s Swami and Friends. I am not a voracious reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed this experience.”
Students of South Indian Education Society (SIES) School, Wadala, staged plays based on books they read through the week. They spoke about their favourite characters and major themes in the books. Even teachers shared poems and stories that they had written.
“We did not want to limit the celebrations only to one day, we had asked students to read books from Monday to Thursday and held activities based on that,” said Kalyani Arumugam, principal of the school.
While some schools organised read-out loud sessions and book discussions, others invited writers, publishers to talk to their students. Fifteen year old author, Yashashree Uchil, read out her first novel, Batatawadai Puram Adventures and More...” at Alexandra School.
Seva Sadan Girls High School, Grant Road, invited Vijayraj Bodhankar, illustrator, writer and painter to read Shyamchi Aai, a novel written 76 years ago by social reformer Sane Guruji.