Art, dance and music may help children express but books help them absorb, and all the literature loving mommies will swear by that. Books do for kids what no other kid’s activity will do, and more and more Indian parents are beginning to buy into that.
Exclusive children’s literature may be a new fad in India but it is definitely fast catching up. So, while there are active book clubs and children’s libraries existent in the city, Mumbai has never played host to an actual Children’s Literature Festival before. This year, however, the Kala Ghoda Festival brings to the city its first full fledged Children’s Literature Festival.
Realising the growing market for children’s literature, Lubaina Bandukwala, children’s writer and editor has taken pains to curate this children’s literature festival. “There is a larger variety of excellent books set in the Indian context available now, so our children can relate to and be a part of them. Yet not many children or parents are exposed to these books, these books are hardly found in mainstream stores and libraries. I thought an interactive literature fest will be the best way for children to experience the magic of books,” explains Lubaina.
Scroll through the schedule of this Children’s Literature Festival and you will discover; from February 2 to 10 the roster is cramped with activity. “Each session not only allows children to sample the book and meet its author, but also has an interactive element that allows children to participate in the session rather than just being a passive audience,” reveals Lubaina.
The line up of celebrated authors, story-tellers and illustrators participating at the festival however is more interesting than the event schedule itself. The festival opens with a play by Gillo, children’s theatre repertory based on the book, Mr Jejeebhoy and the Birds by Anitha Balachandran.
The festival also features sessions by authors like Anushka Ravishankar, Shabnam Minwala, Natasha Sharma and more. “It’s the opportunity to meet young readers, interact with them and hear their feedback on stories” says author Musharraf Ali Farooqi.