Celebration of books and stories

Bookaroo, a Children’s Literature Festival is making its debut in Jaipur. Kids can have an amazing time at the fest because it will be like a celebration of books, stories and story tellers too. With story telling sessions, film screenings, interactions with authors, Bookaroo will make kids feel special. Anuradha Singh, additional director general, (Technical) of Jawahar Kala Kendra, where the festival will be held from April 30 till May 1, tells Rajasthan Post’s Iram Tasleem that buzz about Bookaroo is likely to grow as it will become an annual feature on the city’s literary calendar

Tell us about Bookaroo.

This whole month we are celebrating literature. Bookaroo is the literary festival for children to be held from 30th April till 1st May at Jawahar Kala Kendra. This will include over 50 sessions with 17 authors from three countries – India, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom. Each session is specially designed keeping in mind the needs, abilities, tastes and interests of children of different age groups.Children are expected to have lots of fun and learning because here kids will be accompanied by parents, which help them to learn better and will bring the knowledge outside the premises school.
Besides sessions, there will be architectural walk of JKK for children, painting exhibition by Japanese artist,doodles, storytelling, filmscreenings and many more literary activities.This will be first Children’s Literary Festival of the desert state.

With so many literary festival already on Jaipur’s calendar, the foremost being the Jaipur Literature Festival, what’s so special about Bookaroo?

JLF is basically a literary festival for adults. Though JLF does have some sessions for children, but at JLF, all the kids from two to sixteen years come under a single category of children, so there is no special attention to children of different age groups. This festival is curated so well and so carefully that each of its sessions will focus on two year age gap as there will be separate sessions for specific age groups which ranges from two years to four years, four years to six years, six years to eight years and so on because that is the age gap that a child will look at.
The session of two years kid will be completely different from four year’s kid. All the sessions are framed keeping in mind the specific needs of children of different ages.

Tell us about the storytellers and authors attending the festival.

Seventeen authors are coming for this Bookaroo from three countries. It will include authors from English, Hindi and local languages. The sessions will witness many distinguished authors and storytellers like Wendy Cooling who has been involved in a range of projects to promote reading not only in the UK but worldwide, Bina Kak ,former Forest and Environment Minister, Arefa Tehsin, author, columnist and ex-honorary wildlife warden,Udaipur, Ajay Dasgupta, founder of The Kahani Project who believes listening to stories is the fundamental right of every child, Kalyan Joshi, the renowned Phad artist etc

What will be the highlights of Bookaroo ?

The purpose is to make the reading fun for the children, to make them interested in various forms of literature be it fiction, non fiction or science through different ways.There will be books, stories, literary activities, exhibition of the work of Chiharo Iwasaki, a Japanese artist and illustrator of children’s book which is organised with collaboration of Japanese Foundation. We thought this would be great to bring it during Bookaroo where children can see illustrations by an International artist. .For children we are trying to create a sense of space through the architectural walks around JKK, where children will get the opportunity to learn the things like what is the space, how JKK was built on the concepts of Vastu in very simple language.

What place Rajasthani literature holds in your catalogue ?

I think there is a lot of work for children in Rajasthani language also but hasn’t been popularised yet or have got a space in curriculum of schools. We also tried to get in touch with many storytellers and authors.

Will Bookaroo be an annual feature ?

Absolutely. We will hold it annually. Literature has become a part and parcel of the city thanks to the Jaipur Literature Festival. When JLF was started I was the part of the team, I worked with Virasat Foundation. At that time only five people were present in Darbar Hall and we were making phone calls to invite people and look today where JLF has reached. So we are hoping Bookaroo will become big and be beneficial for the kids.

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