Madurai: It was a different set up at Gandhi Museum on September 1 when the 12th Madurai Book Fair was inaugurated at Tamukkam grounds. A bit away from the book fair venue, 70 children of various age groups had assembled, holding a story book each.
M Prasanna, studying Class 6 in a city school gingerly narrated the story of a fox from the book ‘Nariyum Poorikattayum’ in the Madurai slang, attracting a lot of laughter and glee from his peers. Upon finishing his story, he asked others to share the stories from the books in their hands.
Books for Children, a wing of Bharathi Puthakalayam, a publishing house along with ‘Kalakala Vagupparai’ movement arranged this novel method of releasing children books. “I took the entire day to read the story ‘Yarange Paduvadu’ and it was quite interesting,” exclaimed S Sivakami, studying Class 5 at Madurai east panchayat union primary school.
Fifty Tamil fiction and non-fiction books including books on children psychology, as well as Russian books translated in Tamil were released at this children book release function. “We have fixed the price as Rs 50 per book and a 20% discount can be availed if the total amount exceeds Rs 200 at the 12th Madurai Book Fair,” said K Nagarajan of Bharathi Puthakalayam.
Explaining the initiative, R Siva, a teacher and founder of Kalakala Vagupparai said that creative mind is not only important for children, but for teachers also. The movement started using social networking site Facebook and has over 5,000 followers today, where they discuss about engaging students in a different manner using folklore, drawing, drama and art in classes. “We have handed over the books to children two days ago and asked them to read it. They were asked to narrate the story in their terms and authors like me had an eye-opening session by getting feedback from the children”, he said.
Most of the children who participated in the book release were from ‘Madurai Seed’ an organisation for underprivileged children. “This innovative method of releasing books will develop the creativity and critical minds of our children,” said A S Karthik Bharathi, president of the organisation.