You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2011.

~~~ Ravana with a bristling moustache was standing at the door of the Workshop yelling, 
“Aiyay! Aiyay! Yahan Ramleela ho raha hai” like a true nautanki player drumming up an audience. 

~~~ there were dancing rakshasas, a singing Hanuman and a girl playing a boy playing a girl. Go figure!

~~~ Then a gentleman came up to me and introduced himself saying, “I am Hanuman’s father.” Reeeally? I thought that was the wind god Pavan na? 

~~~ Pratham’s hilarious Ram Leela was so funny the audience asked for an encore and they did it again. And got so excited they all forgot their real names.

~~~ As the sun dipped behind the trees Arjun Kaul, rock star strolled up flipping his long hair. One cool guitar riff… one raised fist… and a slow drawl on the mike, “Yeah!!!” and he had the audience in the palm of his long fingered hand.
~~~ Arjun had kids dancing with him on stage and a little boy played a cricket bat as his magical guitar. Then softly, gently, he broke into a plaintive Kashmiri ballad and we all fell silent. True Magic.

~~~ the Author’s Lounge is where you meet the writers, illustrator and editors. Paro Anand who likes pink wigs. The Buddha like Poile Sengupta who wandered around with a purple flower looking for her prince. Manisha Chaudhry who focussed on the gulab jamuns and Anita Roy who sings bad jazz. My beloved lunatic friends… they are my Bookaroo.

Subhadra from Bloggerland.

Kahaani Tree

Vinita Krishna

Under the picturesque settings of the aptly named Kahaani Tree, Vinita Krishna’s charming tale set in a magical world of caterpillars, butterflies and rainbows captured the imaginations of her young and eager audience through a session which involved the children in the storytelling and singing just as much as the author herself.

John Dougherty

At the Kahaani Tree, Northern Irish author John Dougherty read out his book ‘Finn MacCool and the Giant’s Causeway’, a traditional Irish tale about a giant who reckons he’s the greatest giant of all and how his boasting lands him in a spot of bother. The reading coupled with a couple of songs mesmerised both children and parents alike.


Poile Sengupta

Poile Sengupta’s adorable tale of ‘Meeting Mr Tiger’ took the children on a vivid and wondrous journey through the jungles to, as the title suggests, meet Mr Tiger. Chanting ‘off we go to see the tiger’ and accompanied with Sengupta enacting the medley of the sounds of the forest, the interactive session engrossed the children.


Ramendra Kumar

A vegetarian cheetah, a donkey averse to singing, a tipsy elephant and an attractive tigress feature as the protagonists in Ramendra Kumar’s rib-tickling story ‘Roar of the Cheetah’. The tale told through narration and song sees Happy Kumar the cheetah marrying Aishwaria the tigress and had children and parents alike in stitches.


Kunzang Choden and Anita Roy

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Bhutanese author Kunzang Choden’s story ‘Aunty Mouse’ captivated children gathered around the Kahaani Tree. The book tells the story about a mouse and an old lady living in Bhutan. The storytelling accompanied with posters of the country’s magnificent mountains fuelled young imaginations as they let their minds wander on a journey through the tiny kingdom.


Lovleen Mishra and Chatura Rao

Lovleen Mishra and Chatura Rao’s fascinating session under the shade of the Kahaani Tree looked at what the stories we love to read are made up of. Starting from the foundation of stories being words and then leading into the alphabets that make up the words, Mishra’s session proved to be both entertaining and educational.


Sandhya Rao

Under the shade of the Kahaani Tree on a warm Saturday afternoon, Sandhya Rao’s endearing book ‘Kutti Kutti Stories for Kutti Kutties’ was perfect for her young audience as she narrated a tale on little ones for little ones. There was plenty of interaction throughout the session as she encouraged her eager listeners to take part.


Deepa Balsavar

Deepa Balsavar’s session involved the telling of ‘Curious Monkey’, an adorable story about a monkey with plenty of questions on the animals and people he comes across. As Balsavar donned animal facemasks, children and their parents sat under the Kahaani Tree to be whisked away on an imaginary journey through the jungle.

The Pavillion | Shamini Flint

The session was alive with anecdotes and an enthusiastic interaction with the children. Shamini Flint kept them active and guessing. She shared her experiences from Singapore and discussed the reasons she likes to write. It was a very interesting session on the whole.

The Amphitheatre | Adeline Foo

Adeline Foo is an acclaimed writer from Singapore. She talked about writing books for her son and how he loves reading books. Her book, The Diary of Amos Lee was inspired by The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She called up kids upon the stage and had them read from the book, before she started the narration herself. There was an illustrated presentation and a question-answer round at the end.

The Studio | Adithi and Chatura Rao

Adithi and Chatura Rao began the session with explaining the map of Pandupur; the heart of their story. They both engaged the audience with the ‘Dhun song’ that the river of Pandupur gave them. The parents were as enthusiastic as the children. Each participant was rapt with attention as the sisters continued with their unique and interesting story telling.

The Pavilion | Prayag Shukla

The session by Prayag Shukla started with two of the students reciting one of his poems that features in their coursework as well. He kept them merrily singing a myriad of poems that spoke of sweet dishes and elephants. There was undoubting enthusiasm among the kids as more and more flocked towards the prolific poet.

The Amphitheatre| Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore

Steve and Steve left no stone unturned to entertain the audience as well as they did yesterday. The session was alive with role play that made use of a lot of different costume hats. The kids took turns being super heroes, Vikings, space men and gladiators as they made their way through the stories in the books. There was a large audience and everybody participated heartily

The Pavillion| John Dougherty

John Dougherty is an Irish poet, singer and writer who uses humor to make children happy all around the world. His session had the children grasping the benefits of reading. He narrated his experiences with books and talked about the 3 books he has written about the Greek God Zeus. He impressed the audience with animated interaction while informing them about the process of writing a story.

The Amphitheatre| Gregory Hughes

Gregory Hughes guesses that every author wants their book to be made into a movie and hence, this session was about scriptwriting and its main components. A volunteer was called upon stage and made to experiment with the same. He then distributed an extract from his book and commenced the story narration.

The Studio| Samhita Arni

Samhita Arni talked about her portrayal of Sita in her graphic novel. She explores the feminist issues underlying the Ramayana. The Tamil version of the Ramayana was discussed as well and she pointed out the different themes that make up the essence of Ramayana. The kids were very vocal about their views and loved interacting with the author.

The Amphitheatre | Arjun Kaul

Arjun Kaul is the vocalist and guitarist of the band Prithvi. He interwove music and stories and played music that the children enjoyed immensely. He educated them about different characters from history and folktales. The audience also had a glimpse of his original work as he played a song from his album.

The Studio| Jeeva Raghunath

Jeeva never fails to delight with her amazing style of storytelling. The kids were having a lot of fun as she took them on an adventure with the birds and the mango tree. Her animated and expressive stories kept everybody captivated. The audience was full of her fans and the session was absolutely full.

The Pavillion| Campfire

Campfire organized a puppet show called Puppet Pandemonium. It was an interesting interactive session that had the kids involved with the hand puppets that narrated the stories. The kids enjoyed the different voice over’s as the happy parents looked on.

The Amphitheatre | Jeeva Raghunath

Jeeva Raghunath is a master storyteller with a myriad of voices that brings alive her stories, to the absolute delight of the kids. She started her session with a Tamil song and soon had the audience singing along. The children and parents alike, were completely engrossed in the onomatopoeic  narration of the story of the mountain and the bird.

The Amphitheatre | Marina Bollain

Marina is a Spanish actress and singer who recounts stories through songs. The session was alive with her beautiful voice and the accompanying strings. She narrated the story in song form and used umbrellas as props. The audience was enchanted by her exquisite and delicate manner as more and more people were drawn to her session.

The Studio| Shamini Flint

Shamini is a prolific writer and an equally good speaker. Her session with the children was about how she started to write. Her experiences included stories about her daughter and sons and the car she gave up for her baby. The children were engrossed in her tales and contributed heartily to the discussion.

The Pavilion | Adeline Foo

Adeline Foo hails from Singapore and in this session, she talked about her experiences that led her to writing the Diary of Amos Lee. She had an interactive session with the children where she answered their eager questions about the characters in the book. The audience was very impressed with the session.

— Supreet


~~~ It’s the loveliest sound in the world, the high raised voices of excited children floating in the still mellow air. They are like birds welcoming a new day and that is the sound track of Bookaroo.

~~~ The dew on the grass was still glittering in the sun as I sat feeling at peace with the world and then Sandhya Rao went hurrying past with a quick yell, “Crisis!” and Oye pappey! we were off!

~~~ As the 2 Steves changed into weird Viking helmets the boy in front of me laughed so much he slid off his seat.

~~~ And nearby Margaret Read Macdonald was bringing back the magic of a grandma telling you a fantastic, fabulous, totally impossible but oh-such-fun  tale.

~~~ Then the story teller with the craziest voice in the whole wide universe – Jeeva Raghunath became a talkative turtle and went “gum gum tanna nanna” and why was I yelling with all the kids  “naka naka hoiiiii!!!” when it did not mean anything bhai?

~~~ and Premola Ghose’s gentle smile, Christopher Cheng’s amazing hair and who was that making kids travel to Bhutan ? Kunzang Choden of course…

and this is just the beginning folks 🙂

Subhadra from bloggerland.

“And the frog learnt to sing “crok…crok…crok…”

It was an amazing experience as Jeeva Raghunath, the master story teller, mesmerised the students with her song and dance and we all were left asking for more. Even the teachers became children swaying to her stories as she wove them into song and dance sequences from different parts of the world. Yet each one had a subtle message that the children understood immediately.

— Suprabha

The Story Behind a Book

Once Adeline Foo had finished writing The Diary of Amos Lee, she almost let it go into print under the title ‘The World Outside My Toilet’. Then she took a child’s opinion. ‘What does the world-outside-my-toilet mean?’ the boy asked.  When the author told him that the book is actually a boy’s diary which he has written while doing his b-g business in the toilet, the child said, ‘Why don’t you just call it that – The diary of Amos Lee?’ And the title works wonders.


What goes on behind a book is a fascinating story in itself. Today Adeline Foo delighted the kids by sharing her experiences of writing the famous Amos Lee series, including conceptualization, research, reader psychology, illustration style, editing, and finally publishing. The eager-beavers of Class IV were very familiar with Adeline’s books and many had brought them along for book signing.


What was wonderful, I think, was the effort the author put into keeping the children hooked on to her books. First she helped the kids do a little diary-writing exercise which would help them relate more to the book’s hero. She talked about Amos Lee as a real person and also gave out Amos Lee branded book-marks and badges, and was all-smiles when almost a hundred children lined up to get her autograph. Did you know that she maintains an excellent Amos Lee website and that she never lets a fan mail go unanswered?

— Divya

This was my first story telling session for Bookaroo in the City! It was with the author and story teller Kamlesh M. The school kids were waiting eagerly for us and their excitement and enthusiasm was overwhelming…..

Kamlesh M recited and enacted three animal stories in Hindi…. and the kids were listening with rapt attention!! Totally spell bound. And for me it was a one of a kind experience too!

930 AM Sessions

Margaret Read Macdonald is a popular American storyteller of traditional tales and folk tales from around the world. Her session at Bookaroo started with a brief introduction and she sat amidst children from different schools and narrated animatedly, from her book ‘The Fat Cat’. She made the session even more interesting with the wonderful onomatopoeia and the brief dancing. The teachers also joined in as the children heard her out with rapt attention.

The Kahani Tree saw Deepa Balsawar and Sandhya Gandhi Vakil bringing alive the historic tales of Akbar and Birbal. The story was accompanied by beautifully crafted paintings of the characters. The children were hooked on to the story and laughed merrily as the riveting story tellers came across the witty parts in the story.

Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore

The Amphitheatre was alive with the thunderous voices of the ‘2steves’ as they interacted with the children and filled them with anticipation and enthusiasm at the very beginning of the session. The talented authors turned actors then dressed up as Vikings who embarked on an adventure filled with choices and the children acted along with them.

Christopher Cheng comes from Australia and writes about magical legends and wildlife. He stood surrounded by a group of children who were engrossed in the funny stories that he told. His stories were alive with the adventures of different animals and his experiences as a school teacher at the zoo. The animal of the day was the python as depicted in his latest book. He moved around and built up enough suspense for the kids to listen to him with rapt attention and curiosity.

Martin Widmark a writer from Sweden kept the young audience engaged with the detective stories that he writes. He used the medium of illustration to draw clues for the children and encouraged them to solve the mystery. Martin had the kids working their young brains and enjoying themselves as they did so.

Shamini Flint kick started the session with a fun question and answer round that perked up the children. She then talked about her books and the genre she writes in. It was a very interactive hour that had the kids guessing and enjoying her ideas as she spoke passionately about saving endangered animals and her experiences from Singapore.

930 AM Sessions

Helen Rundgren and Sandhya Rao

Almost every child in the world has gone through a ‘dinosaur phase’. Swedish writer Helen Rundgren stirred up this sense of wonderment with ‘Stone Eggs’, a book about Indian dinosaurs told through the scary but equally adorable Rajasaurus. A chance to win posters raised the excitement level amongst the young dino-buffs with hands shooting up to answer every question.

Premola Ghose and Anita Roy

Premola Ghose and Anita Roy took their young audience on an enthralling journey across Delhi with excerpts from Ghose’s book ‘Tales of Historic Delhi’. Rich descriptions of the dizzying sights and sounds from across the city offered a vivid glimpse into a time gone by and fuelled the enchanted young imaginations.

Adeline Foo

If you liked ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, you’ll love ‘Diary of Amos Lee’ by Singaporean author Adelini Foo, who captivated dozens of schoolchildren with a reflective session on the trials and tribulations of growing up. Excerpts from her book followed by an agony aunt-like question and answer session seemed to have left Foo’s audience with a tougher skin.

Malika Doray

Under the hazy sun at the Crafty Corner, French author and illustrator Malika Doray’s workshop ‘My Never-Ending Book’ involved just a simple sheet of paper. An hour in and a few cuts, rips and folds later, the schoolchildren had their own never-ending story to take home with them.

11AM Sessions

John Dougherty

John Dougherty’s session is probably one the kids will talk about nonstop for the rest of the day. Excerpts read from his book, a couple of songs thrown in and tips for budding authors captivated the children. Dougherty’s medley of a session was both encouraging and entertaining for his young audience.

Kunzang Choden and Anita Roy

Some may feel storytelling is a dying art but for one hour on a Friday afternoon, Kunzang Choden is living proof that it isn’t going to go quietly. Choden mesmerised the children with her stories of the tiny majestic kingdom of Bhutan, bearing testament to the fact that the joy of listening to a story is for everyone.

— Manveena Suri


Bookaroo In The City today covered Pratham Urban Learning Center in Jahangirpuri, a school for the under privileged. The school was essentially a two bedroom set on the second floor. They called one room “the science room” and the other was called “the computer lab”. The miniscule kitchen was converted to a library which had nylon strings stretched out on the walls where they hung books to manage the lack of space.  On the third floor the two bedrooms served as classrooms. The session took place on the terrace. It was nice being in the open air with the sky closer to us.

Then Rabani Garg put them all on a magic carpet ride as she began her story of stories. It was such a captivating experience I almost forgot to take photographs for this blog.  I noticed a little boy standing alone on the terrace of the next building listening intently to her story.
I was a little surprised by the atttitude of the under privileged children. They appeared quite pleased and content with what they had. They didn’t look sorry about their lives, instead they looked hopeful and grateful for the life they had.

Then a thought made me smile.  It reminds me of this one particular song I listened to as a little girl called “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell and one verse kept playing in my head:

“Well, I really don’t mind the rain

And a smile can hide all the pain
But you’re down when you’re riding the train that’s taking the long way
And I dream of the things I’ll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There’ll be a load of compromising
On the road to my horizon
But I’m going be where the lights are shining on me”

Rabani Garg eventually went on to say that there is a little truth to every story. I recall the children, from first standard to the eleventh, gripping the mat they were sitting on because she said it may slip away. It was so heart warming.



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