New Delhi | Groups of school children clutching on to their parents, mill around in the mellow winter sun waiting impatiently to meet their favourite authors. Elsewhere another bunch of kids give flight to imagination, transferring their wildest thoughts onto canvas.
While in yet another corner, young minds huddle around a tree listening to magical tales come to life. With such a wide range of events on offer for these youngsters, the first day of the Bookaroo Children’s literature festival kicked off here today, with a special focus on Bangla literature. Kicking off the proceedings, children got a taste of the traditional art form of Pattachitra an ancient form of storytelling in West Bengal, in which painters known as Patuas sing as they narrate their painting made on scrolls to the audience.
Bringing the art form to life was renowned exponent Jaba Chitrakar, who mesmerised an audience of children with her striking art and a stirring rendition of a folk song to go along with it. The much awaited eighth iteration of the two day festival also saw a diverse set of activities ranging from interactions with authors and storytellers to workshops on crafts and illustrations, all aimed at stimulating the imagination of children.
Other events which held children spell bound were sessions on the tales of Satyajit Ray, and journeys into a supernatural world of Chinese literature while New Zealand based children’s author and Illustrator Vasanti Unka showed how much fun one could have with words.
Festivals like these are very important to stimulate imagination and a love for literature in young minds. It is a great initiative, Unka said. There was also an opportunity for children to explore their creative side with craft sessions on rock faces and kitchen gardens, while others painted their myriad creations on a giant scroll. Her 5 year old son in tow, Delhi-based doctor Pratibha Menon seemed to be quite overawed by the sheer number of things to do. This is my first time here and it seems to be a one of a kind festival. My son is enjoying it quite a lot, though I wish there were more physical activities like puppetry and theatre, she said.
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