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Bookaroo in the City and author Ranjit Lal made a visit to the British School on Monday. Our audience was a class full of aspiring writers between the ages of 10 to 12 years.

Case of nuts

Case of nuts

Mr Lal introduced the students to nutcase Nana, welcoming a lot of stories from the children about their grandparents and what they like the best about them. After exchanging stories and reading an extract of the book (Our Nana was a Nutcase), the session progressed into a press conference. The audience had a lot of questions for the author like how he caught the writing bug, how is it being a writer in India, which are his favourite books, authors, genre, and a lot more, and Mr Lal indulged his audience with a lot of amusing anecdotes about writing, reading, bird-watching and more. The session ended, although the questions had not, with the promise that they will start writing more and the audience very reluctantly bid their goodbyes.

A group of 17 children and 10 adults assembled on the steps of the Old Court House in Kuching on Saturday morning  ready to travel back in time to unearth the hidden tales of Old Chinatown in Kuching guided by Joshua Chan Chin Hua.

Along the way everyone learnt a little about the White Rajah, the five foot way in front of shops and why there is a stone lion in front of the temples. The children were particularly fascinated watching the tinsmith at work.

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Joshua not only shared old stories with the children and their parents but he had also prepared a short activity for them. He asked the children to write a thank you letter to their parents. Almost all the children had never sent a real letter before, so when Joshua handed them the envelopes and stamps, they did not know where to write the address or put the stamp. This new experience was made even more special as they each posted their letters at the General Post Office, one of the beautiful old building from the days of the Rajah.

The walk ended at the theatre on the water front, where the children drew a picture of what had impressed them the most – almost all the pictures were of the tinsmith!

Now all the children and parents are eagerly looking forward to Pustaka Bookaroo in April next year.

Bookaroo in the City went on a jungle safari on Saturday with the children and parents at Amiown Preschool.  Master storyteller Simi Srivastava took center stage and started the day on a happy note with If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

Elfie and his jungle of friends

Elfie and his jungle of friends

She went on to introducing the little ones and their parents to Elfie the elephant and we embarked with Elfie on a walk through the forest in search of a friend. Elfie met rabbits and deer’s and little bears, helping them all along the way despite the initial rejection. Much to the audience’s delight, by the end of his walk Elfie had found more than one friend. The session ended as it had begun, with a song, I love you, you love me.  Simi’s storytelling had the audience under a spell, little and ‘big’ ones alike until the very end.

Today’s Bookaroo session was organized at Delhi Public Library, East Patel Nagar. Our author was Kapil Pandey shared two stories with the children that had a message.

His First story was about a fisherman Satya, but he never liked his work; he abhorred the way fish smells and looks. One day he caught a beautiful looking fish with silver gills but he let it go as he thought it was too beautiful to be killed. Satya’s boss fired him. At First Satya was happy that he got rid of that job he never liked but after sometime he realized he had nothing to earn from. So in the middle of the lake Satya stood on the edge of the boat and started whistling. A devil came up from hell and saw Satya whistling. Devil went to Satya as a farmer and gave him a cow and told him that he would come back after three years and ask three questions from him, if he answered them correctly he would give the cow to him forever but if he couldn’t answer the questions he would take him to hell.

The author continued with Satya’s story – how he opened a restaurant with his wife, made and sold sweets and chocolates. The devil came back after three years to ask three question but an old man helped Satya out of the problem. The old man was the silver fish whom Satya had let go.

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Stories with a mesage

Author asked children that what they learned from the story and all of them answered emphatically that we should be considerate to others, and if we do well for others the good deed will help us later.

The kids demanded another story. The author then narrated a story of a boy named Puchu who wanted a Dhol as a gift from his mother. But as they were poor his mother could only give him two sticks. As the story progressed the author narrated that how Puchu’s helpful and selfless nature made him sacrifice his favorite things and how his good deed came back to him as blessing. At last he got his Dhol. At the end Author and Children sang the song ‘Chil Chil chilake Kajri sunaye’ together out loud.

The session ended successfully with kids extracting a promise from the author to come back soon again.

Meeooww. Bookaroo’s Friday started with a meeeoow at Amiown PreSchool, Noida. Storyteller Rituparna Ghosh opened her bag of stories to let out dragons, cats and lots of laughter.

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The dragon and the cat steals the show

She started with the story of Tillu the dragon, one of his kind and friendless. Until one day he saves a little boy from falling off of a tree and the two become friends for life. Next was the story of Pete the cat and his white shoes. The children happily took flight with Tillu, flapping their hands with Rituparna, and sang along with Pete, I Love my white shooooooeeeeeees. Rituparna not only used props to keep her audience captivated but also modulated her voice and danced, and bounced about the place for her audience of 2-3 year olds. At the end of the session when the children were asked to give points to their storyteller and Rituparna scored a ten.

Flavour of Art treated Bookaroo and Delhi Public Library Thursday morning, to some yummy colours. The session at DPL, Vinoba Puri started with the audience of about 50 students between the ages of 11 to 14 with a discussion on music. Chief Rajiv Kakria decided to take a different route than the one that was expected of him, he told the children to draw like they play Anktakshari, without inhibitions, without caring about the end result.

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Counting colours in the rainbow

He then embarked on a story the story of all the colors meeting at a round table to decide who dominates Earth. While they were settling scores, the skies graced them with a Rainbow and they realized just how much more beautiful they are united. The students were told to pick out anything from the story and let imagination take over. The results were surprising. Each interpretation taught us something new. Each work of art had its own flavor, by the end of the session one message from the story had taken many expressions.

Bookaroo made a retour at the RAK Study Center on Wednesday evening to meet their Day Care students with author Meetali Khanna. We were warmly welcomed by about 25 children between the ages of 5 to 10 years. After their excited cheers at the announcement of a story, Meetali took over.

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Baby’s day out

She transported her audience into seven year old Yana’s world, her first day in school, her birthday party craziness, her visit to the zoo, then sweeping us into Josh the bully’s days of rule that come to an end much to the audience’s delight. The audience was ecstatic when Yana made a new friend and even more so when Josh got suspended for bullying. The session ended with the children sharing their own experiences in school and how they dealt with it.

Chugga chugga chugga chugaa chooooooo. The Bookaroo story train made a stop at the RAK Study Centre today to be greeted by about 30 chirpy three year olds. The storyteller of the day Bharati Jagannathan started by asking who likes stories, this caught their attention and we launched into the first story without much ado.

Catch them young

Catch them young

Bharati introduced the kids to Samira who likes adventures and her first adventure starts with a colorful chase. Samira embarks on the chase to catch a butterfly. Next we follow Samira in school during lunch, when she does not want to have the began ka bharta that her mother has given her. The third story was that of the little train who was afraid of going places on his own. But then one day he set out on his first trip and was introduced to exhilaration. He conquered his fear and triumphed. While Samira’s adventures had the audience guessing, little train’s inhibitions had them jumping. They joined Bharati, choooooooing away with her.

At the end of the session Bharati’s little audience thanked her by applauding ceaselessly.

The Bookaroo in the City Session organized in Government Blind Boys Secondary school with the first woman dastango  of modern times Fouzia and her team was a melodious journey. The children, about 30in total, were ecstatic and so was our author. Fouzia started with the story of a cow, her friend crow, and their adventures.  As the team Guitarist Saad started playing in sync with the story, the children laughed, clapped, and sang along with the team. After the story telling all kids applauded loudly and requested another song. Our author and her team granted their wish and taught them a beautiful song about life.

Of cow, crow and some music

Of cow, crow and some music

All children sang together beautifully, the moment was heart melting. They shared their desire to learn music and were reluctant to let us leave. But Author and her team promised to visit them again and we bid our byes.

Chitra ya kahani? The Bookaroo in the City session at MCD Pratibha Vidyalaya in Nizamuddin Basti started on that note. Kshitish Padhy, a comic book scriptwriter, started by asking his audience (of about 30 students) whether they liked books with more text or more pictures. He then began explaining to them how comic books are made and how a picture can tell many stories.

He started with the story from Aesop’s Fables where the Sun and the Wind launch into a debate as to who is stronger of the two. They see a traveler and wager that whoever can make him take off his coat is stronger. The sun comes victorious because no matter how hard the wind blew, it only made the traveler cling onto the coat more.

Power struggle between sun and the wind

Power struggle between sun and the wind

After the story the children were given sheets of paper to draw and write their own comic book story. The results were truly surprising as they came up with amazing story illustrations.