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India’s first children’s literature festival turns 10

IANS | New Delhi |

The literary scene was quite different when Bookaroo — India’s first children’s literature festival — began its humble journey. This year, it turns 10 and over 60 award-winning writers, illustrators, poets and storytellers, from 18 countries will enthrall young audiences here.

The literary event is scheduled to take place on Nov 25 and 26 at at Children’s Park near India Gate.

“It has been an incredible journey from the seed of an idea born in a bookshop to the celebration of our 10th birthday — an event that is celebrated by the entire city,” M. Venkatesh, Co-founder Bookaroo Trust and Festival Director told IANS.

Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival, organised by Delhi-based Bookaroo Trust, is India’s first literature festival of its kind. The nine-city festival began in November 2008 as a solo event in the capital. The New Delhi edition is annually held during the last weekend of November.

“The success of bookaroo lies not only in bringing children and books together but by providing a platform for everyone involved in the world of children’s books,” said Jo Williams, Co-founder Bookaroo Trust and a Festival Director.

The organisers also said that entry to the festival is free and open to all. Though some school groups come to attend the festival, the major emphasis is on families. The festival aims to take reading from being a school chore to being an enjoyable family activity.

Alongside the weekend festival, Bookaroo also has an outreach programme, Bookaroo in the City (BIC), with visits to schools, hospitals, orphanages, homes and schools for children with special needs. The idea is to take a flavour of the festival to those who may not be able to make it to the main festival.

Young readers will have an opportunity to step into the Indian Jungle with Vivek Menon, a renowned wildlife conservationist, who will share his experiences of the jungle and wildlife with children.

One can also discover amazing facts about the animal world with Ranjit Lal, the author of over 30 books — fiction and nonfiction — for children and adults. Among other noted names participating in the lit fest are Avanti Deosthale, Anita Nair, Anushka Ravishankar and Christian Duda.