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Nature is abundance in Sarawak with its vast rainforest, big and long rivers, and mighty mountains. City kids seldom notice this as they are more exposed to gadgets and other modern toys. The storytelling and bookmark making session at The Spring Baruk with Nia Latif gave some perspective to an old tradition relating to nature.

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When Nia Latif shared a story about bunga terung or eggplant flower, a traditional tattoo design motive for Dayak community, being used as a mark for a boy’s passage into manhood the children were amazed. After the storytelling session they continued with bookmark making workshop using bunga terung design. The children aged 4 to 12 years really enjoyed making their personal bookmark to take back home. They learned about Dayak culture and the significance of Gawai Dayak or harvest festival which will be celebrated on 1 June.

It was raining for the past couple of days and the weather was balmy. The traffic was chaotic. But when Shalini Arora, the speaker for the day reach RAK Study Centre, and was greeted with a huge Good Morning by a group of tiny angels, all the annoyance of existence vanished. We were at RAK Study Centre at Lady Irwin College for the second session of storytelling. There were 40 children between ages 2-4 for the session.

Frog out of water

Frog out of water

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Shalini began her session with a story named “The Greedy Frog”. She narrated the story with the help of props such as hand puppets, colourful scarfs, stick puppets and mask which proved to be the most efficient way to get the kids involved. She made animal voices with the children and they loved it. The story was about a frog who drinks all the water of the jungle and how animals make him laugh to get the water back out of his tummy. She modulated her voice to engage the children and ended with the rhyme “sticky bubblegum”.

Delhi monsoons can be very depressing. Humid days, traffic jams due to rains. But spending an afternoon with children always lifts up your mood. And if  there’s a writer telling you stories from childhood, it is an icing on the cake.
That is exactly what happened at the RAK Study Centre, Lady Irwin College. Vasundhara Bahuguna from Delhi Storytelling Network, the speaker for today’s session had two stories to tell a group of chirpy and enthusiastic kids between 7-13 years of age. The kids were eager to listen to the stories and throughout the session all of them and listened intently. Vasundhara narrated two stories which the kids themselves gave titles to. She made the session more interesting as she made funny voices, rhymed and involved kids in the story as well.
A magical afternoon

A magical afternoon

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The first story was about an old folk tale about Cat and Mouse which she had appropriated with rhymes and Indian names and expressions and the other was also an old tale about a Fisherman and the Gold Fish.The stories were funny and magical (the second story had a fish that was magical).

At SJK Chung Hua No 1 Tom McLaughlin was greeted by approximately 50 children. He started the session by asking the children to use their imagination and draw a purple man with one horn and one eye who could fly. He encouraged them to make a 3 page comic book on the character.

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Colourful comics

At the end of the session, Tom gave his comic ‘The Borneo Boy’ to all students.

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.

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.

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.