Gurgaon in Delhi-NCR kicked spring into action with a very colorful and musical Children’s Literature Festival. Organized by Vega Schools, Gurgaon in partnership with ILoveRead Delhi, the event was a celebration of everything literary and saw authors, illustrators and storytellers of all sorts – oral, visual, musical, and theatrical – come together to create magic with their stories. The whole place was a riot of colors – from the banners at the entrance to the little markers that guided kids to the vast display of books from well-known publishers of kids’ books such as Puffin, Tulika Books, Duckbill, and Pratham Books.
Sandy Hooda, the Founder of Vega Schools described this event as an effort to make reading entertaining for kids and to encourage parents to develop a reading relationship with their kids. Shefali Malhotra of iloveread.in says, “At ILoveRead, we firmly believe that it’s not our profession or education, but what we do during our leisure time that defines who or what we become. We are trying to raise a generation of readers, who can use the wisdom captured by millions of writers in their books, and use it to become better people.”
Kids were treated to storytelling through music, dance, doodling, puppetry and origami. Stories were read-aloud as well as enacted. There were visual storytellers like Chitra Chandrashekhar, Pawan Waghmare and Seema Wahi, while Kamal Pruthi and Shalini Arora brought stories to life through music. Award-winning author Payal Dhar had the kids mesmerized at her read-aloud session, while ‘discovery’ was the key at a very boisterous and playful story session by Yashodhara Lal. There was theatrical storytelling by Nitika Arora and Yuveka Singh, while the kids crafted their own stories at a story-building session by Benita Sen. Kids gave full vent to the right side of their brains with skilled storytellers Tanushree Singh, Naresh Ram, Haimanti Mitra, Himanjali Sankar and Shreedevi Gopakumar, while the future writers of tomorrow found their voice at a creative writing workshop by our Founder, Arunima Shekhar.
Even though a children’s lit fest, there was tons for parents too in the form of various workshops by seasoned educators like Ritu Bawa, Bhavna Tandon and Deepshikha. The event ended with a panel discussion for parents. Every panelist brought their own skills to the table and it was a worthy end to a fulfilling, well-planned and excellently co-ordinated event.
“As organizers, we were mildly surprised to see the response. It was not just kids who enjoyed, parents were equally dazzled, mesmerized, spooked and happy while attending the sessions. I suppose it’s time Gurgaon shed its image of a city of malls and high-rises. The mass response shows that the people here are ready for more such literary events”, said Shefali.
Parents had loads of positive feedback to share, with most describing such events a dire necessity at a time when the younger generation is moving away from creative pastimes. We, personally, do look forward to the next litfest by this team!
If you were a parent who attended the Gurgaon Children’s Literature Festival do let us know about your experience in the comments section below.