BANGALORE: The Landmark store on Forum Mall recently reverberated with the sounds of children having a gala time. The occasion was the International Children’s Book Day, and the event was a book reading organised for the children of BGMS Shishukunj Vidyala. The stories were presented by popular children’s authors Adithi Rao and Asha Nehemiah.
The authors quickly established a rapport with the children by involving them in a discussion about their school and their interests. They gradually moved the conversation towards the agenda of the evening - telling stories. Asha first read out a story from her book Granny's Sari. It is about a grandmother whose sari, painted with a jungle motif, is blown away. She, along with her granddaughter Anu, set out to retrieve it.
The next tale by Adithi touched on another theme very popular with children - magic. Her background in theatre was self-evident from her spell-binding narrative in first person adding a personal touch to the story. The protagonist has an old grandfather with magical abilities. How he uses this to help others, forms the story. Finally he passes on this ability to his granddaughter and exhorts her to use it wisely and well.The authors then invited the audience to share some stories. The enthused children were more than ready to reciprocate. They fearlessly came up to the stage and narrated stories in Kannada as well as English. The evening came to an end with the authors distributing complementary books to all the participants.
International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) came up with the idea of an International Children’s Book Day to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books in 1967.
Since then it has been celebrated on April 2nd, the birth anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen, author of the evergreen children's tales The Little Mermaid,The Emperor's New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling. Children's literature in India is thriving with authors like Ruskin Bond garnering world-wide attention. Adithi Rao and Asha Nehemiah are popular authors in the city.
Adithi is the author of Shakuntala and Other Stories. Adithi said, “Children’s Book Day is a great way to inculcate the habit of reading in children. With the advent of TV and internet, most children have stopped reading and parents and schools must do their bit to encourage the love of books from a young age. I am glad that Forum Mall has taken this initiative on Children’s Book Day to promote reading”.